Sundance Jack Black Comedy ‘The Polka King’ Acquired By Netflix


Netflix has taken global rights to Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky’s comedy biopic The Polka King starring Jack Black as local Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan. Deadline hears that Netflix paid high seven figures for the movie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. There were several suitors since the movie premiered at the festival. Netflix was there at the beginning, and pulled ahead of the pack in recent months. WME and ICM co-repped the deal.

A streaming date has not been determined, but Polka King will hit Netflix before the end of this year. No word on whether there will be a theatrical release component like other Netflix titles (the streaming studio has a deal for its original movies to be shown at the luxury chain iPic Theaters).

Black plays Lewan, who developed a Ponzi-like scheme, taking hordes of cash from senior citizens. Jenny Slate plays Lewan’s wife, who yearns to become a local beauty queen again, with Lewan bribing judges to ensure that she wins. Jason Schwartzman, Jacki Weaver, J.B. Smoove and Vanessa Bayer also star.

Polka King, directed and written by Forbes and Wolodarsky, is based on the documentary film The Man Who Would Be Polka King from directors John Mikulak and Joshua Von Brown. The movie was produced by David Permut (Permut Presentations), Stuart Cornfeld (Red Hour Films), Shivani Rawat and Monica Levinson (ShivHans Pictures), Jack Black (Electric Dynamite) and Priyanka Mattoo.

This year at Sundance, Netflix had the biggest acquisition at the festival, paying $12.5 million for Dee Rees’ Southern period drama Mudbound.

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