Apple Could Be Making Its Own Billion-Dollar Push Into Theatrical Movies

Amazon may not be the only streaming giant from the tech space making a big push into theatrical. A new report in Bloomberg suggests that Apple will make its own major investment — to the tune of $1 billion — in original films that it can release into movie theaters.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has approached other studios about partnering on releases for some of the films on its slate this year and into the future, and the company has internally pledged to put movies into thousands of theaters with a window of at least a month. Plans have not been finalized.

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One candidate for such a major theatrical play is Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” already a co-release with its original studio Paramount Pictures. Bloomberg notes that Matthew Vaughn’s action- and spy-thriller “Argylle” with Henry Cavill and Ariana DeBose, and Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” with Joaquin Phoenix, could also see a larger theatrical push. Paramount however, as Bloomberg notes, has not agreed to partner with Apple on any future releases.

A rep for Apple declined IndieWire’s request for comment.

Previously, Amazon was reported to be investing $1 billion toward getting more of its movies into theaters and raising the profile of the films before they hit streaming. Whether or not that number is accurate, we’re already seeing the fruits of the investment. Amazon is giving a wide theatrical release to next month’s “Air” starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon with the assumption that it will have a hefty window. The online retailer had a big box office hit with “Creed III,” which has already grossed $226 million globally. Amazon Studios has tapped industry vet Courtenay Valenti to lead MGM’s film unit. (Amazon bought MGM for $8.5 billion last year.)

Apple has released movies in theaters before, but primarily in limited release or as part of an awards-qualifying push. Its Best Picture winner “CODA,” which Apple acquired out of Sundance for $25 million, made just shy of $2 million at the global box office; no domestic box-office figures were ever released. The Tom Holland film “Cherry” also got a limited theatrical run in 2021, but Apple, like other streamers, doesn’t report box-office ticket sales.

Apple TV+, like Amazon Prime Video, doesn’t disclose subscriber figures; it’s estimated Apple’s core video-streaming service has somewhere between 20 to 40 million subscribers, which lags behind some of its rival competitors. And Bloomberg also reported earlier today that Apple TV+ was exploring a bid for the UK streaming rights to Premier League games. You know, just like Amazon, which currently owns them.

News that Amazon was eyeing a bigger theatrical push at the time gave a boost to the stock prices for major theater chains like AMC and Cinemark. AMC is up roughly 3.5 percent on Thursday’s Apple news, while Cinemark is currently up over 5 percent. There is no doubt that theaters have a demand for more movies as they continually try and lure moviegoers back into the habit of coming to theaters.

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