Original Apple TV+ Might Screen in Theatres Before Streaming: WSJ

Apple might be coming to a movie theatre near you.

A new report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple is looking into plans to screen Apple TV+ movies in theaters prior to their release on its new streaming service. The move would be similar to what Amazon does for its original feature-length films and the exact opposite of what Netflix usually does for its original film content.

The company is reportedly in preliminary talks about this with cinema chains and has also consulted with entertainment executives to follow a traditional theatrical-release plan for its movies.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said that by pursuing traditional releases for major projects, the iPhone maker hopes to make it easier to attract big-name directors and producers to its projects.

Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks”, starring Bill Murray and produced in partnership with “Moonlight” producers A24, will be among Apple’s first major theatrical releases in mid-2020, the report explained.

As the WSJ points out, Apple recently lost a deal with blockbuster filmmaker J.J. Abrams because Apple didn’t have a movie distribution model in place. Instead, Abrams opted to go with WarnerMedia.

Apple’s theatrical-release plans aren’t surprising, as the move is designed to put films in contention for Hollywood laurels. Under the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ most recent rules, for example, in order for films to be eligible for Oscars consideration they must run in qualifying theaters (including in a theater in Los Angeles County) for at least seven consecutive days, with at least three showings daily.

This could be a wise business model for Apple in order to generate greater profits and buzz for their movies prior to streaming them on Apple TV+ in addition to giving the films a better chance of being nominated for Oscars.