Apple plans to premiere original movies in theaters before they release on Apple TV+, according to a new report. This strategy would keep Apple one step ahead of competitors as the Streaming Wars intensify.
Last March, Apple officially announced Apple TV+. The $5 per month streaming service will launch on November 1, and feature high-budget original series such The Morning Show, See, and For All Mankind. Hailee Steinfeld headlines the unique historical series Dickinson, and M. Night Shyamalan directs the psychological thriller series Servant, which will complement the December release of the Octavia Spencer-led series Truth Be Told. Whereas Netflix has numerous Oscar-worthy films on the fall slate, including Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Apple TV+ will announce their arrival with cheaper subscription prices and huge TV production budgets. With Disney+ also set to launch on November 12 for $6.99 per month, Apple will have plenty of competition, and will have to find unique ways to keep streamers’ full attention. For now, Apple doesn’t have any new original feature films to offer, aside from the nature documentary The Elephant Queen.
Per The Wall Street Journal, Apple plans to release new movies in theaters weeks before they release on Apple TV+. Executives have reportedly reached out to various movie chains, with the most likely outcome being that select films will have short theatrical runs in Los Angeles and New York City. Apple’s plan contrasts with Netflix’s approach, in which new films are released simultaneously in theaters and on the service. Based on Apple’s logic, they’ll create more buzz for films that could get lost in the art house shuffle, and will also bring more attention to high-profile productions. Apple will reportedly prioritize “prestige and brand-building,” rather than just pumping out cash grab movies.
Apple’s theatrical release plan will commence after the Cannes Film Festival in May 2020. The company plans to release Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks, a dramedy starring Rashida Jones, Bill Murray, and Marlon Wayans. A24 co-produced the film, along with American Zoetrope - the company founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. So, On the Rocks is the ideal candidate to receive a theatrical push, at least if the film has an economical budget that’s similar to most A24 gems. In January 2020, Apple also plans to release The Banker, a drama starring Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie.
If original Apple TV+ series are well-received in November and December, they could be the ideal promotional tool for original films that don’t have the status of upcoming Netflix releases like Marriage Story, The Two Popes, or even El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. At the least very least, Apple’s theatrical plans show their willingness to break the mold in a time when many modern streamers have a set routine for watching new movies.
Source: The Wall Street Journal