Cha Cha Real Smooth The feel-good comedy that looks set to be the crowd-pleasing hit of the year

 (Sundance Institute)
(Sundance Institute)

A feel-good comedy film has become the biggest Sundance hit after being snapped up by Apple.

One year after the streaming service bought CODA with the biggest deal of the festival, it’s struck again after purchasing the release rights for a film being tipped as the crowd-pleasing hit of the year.

The film is titled Cha Cha Real Smooth, which is written and directed by its lead star, the 24-year-old Cooper Raiff.

It’s Raiff’s second film after S**house, which was renamed Freshman Year and released in the UK online in October 2021.

Cha Cha Real Smooth follows a college graduate, based in New Jersey, who falls for a young mother, played by Dakota Johnson, who he meets at the bat mitzvah of his younger brother’s school friend.

Leslie Mann and Brad Garrett also star in the film as does Vanessa Burghardt, who steals scenes as Johnson’s autistic daughter whom Raiff’s character strikes up a sweet friendship with. Impressively, the film is Burghardt’s debut.

Apple bought cha Cha Real Smooth for $15m, which is $1m less than it coughed up for CODA, which looks set to receive a Best Picture nomination when they’re announced on 8 February.

Still, Cha Cha Real Smooth leaves the festival as the biggest hit, with its $15m surpassing that of Searchlight/Hulu’s $7.5m for Sophie Hyde’s Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, which stars Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack.

A release date for Cha Cha Real Smooth, which Johnson also produces, is yet to be announced.