In 2021, Apple acquired a crowd-pleasing indie film at Sundance with “Coda,” released it during the summer, and mounted an Oscar campaign that ultimately delivered it the trophy for Best Picture. Could the tech giant be looking to repeat that cycle with its latest buzzy acquisition? Based on the festival response and summer release date for “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” whose first trailer dropped today, this film could have similar appeal on Apple TV+.
The film stars Dakota Johnson, Leslie Mann, Cooper Raiff, Brad Garrett, Evan Assante, Vanessa Burghardt, Raul Castillo, and Colton Osorio. “Cha Cha” tells the story of a young bar mitzvah party starter (Raiff) who falls in love with a single mother (Dakota Johnson) of a disabled child.
“Cha Cha Real Smooth” was written and directed by wunderkind filmmaker Raiff, his second effort behind the camera following his 2020 SXSW breakout “Shithouse.” His first film made enough of an impression on Dakota Johnson that she boarded “Cha Cha Real Smooth” as a producer in addition to starring.
The film was a big hit at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, delighting critics and winning the Audience Award. Soon after, it was acquired by Apple in a massive deal with a rumored price tag of $15 million.
In his Sundance review, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote: “With his winsome sophomore effort ‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’ — another effortlessly funny and endlessly forgiving mash note to anyone who’s struggled to reconcile the life they got with the one they imagined for themselves — Raiff scales up the disarming earnestness of his debut without losing any of its DIY intimacy.”
In an interview with IndieWire, Cooper Raiff described his character’s personal journey as a bar mitzvah party starter as something that many young people should be able to relate to.
“My 20s are very much like Andrew’s own 20s,” he said. “It’s the time when you have to start your own parties, so I wanted to write a character who is not good at that. He’s great at setting other people’s parties. And I relate to that.”
Apple TV+ will release “Cha Cha Real Smooth” on June 17 in select theaters and on the streaming platform. Watch the trailer below.