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Apple's Big Screen Dreams

Apple’s billion dollar bet on theatrical movies starts in a couple of weeks with the debut of Martin Scorsese’s all-star Killers of the Flower Moon.

In what experts predict is likely to be very good news for beleaguered cinemas, Apple’s strategy to spend $1 billion annually on theatrical movies kicks off with Killers of the Flower Moon starring Leonardo DiCaprio, on 20 October, with Ridley Scott’s Napoleon hitting big screens in November and Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle in February. It's a potentially significant reversal of fortune as theaters may find a lifeline in playing titles from those that were once considered their biggest competitors.

Killers of the Flower Moon movie poster
Credit: Apple TV+

The $250 million Scorsese drama, backed by a major marketing campaign, will be released on 10,000 screens worldwide at the end of next week. Crucially, it won’t be available on Apple TV+ for at least 45 days, underlining the new (old?) belief that opening movies in theaters is the best way to capitalise on a movie and, ultimately, drive eyeballs to a streaming service.

Even if Flower Moon doesn’t do fabulously at the box office (it’s tracking to open at $34 million), the strategy will be a big win for Apple if three things happen:

  • More people sign up for Apple TV+

  • Top filmmakers are enticed to make their projects for Apple (many demand a theatrical release these days)

  • It keeps up the company’s image of providing top-quality content and services (Flower Moon is already an Oscar frontrunner).

Apple reckons that theatrical movie releases are simply great marketing. Time will tell if their strategy works and if others, such as Netflix, follow suit. Apple's impending releases follows on from another boost for cinemas with both Taylor Swift and Beyoncé releasing movies of their recent global blockbuster tours.

Here's the Killers of the Flower Moon official trailer...


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