Apple is chasing after Oscar glory by distributing films in cinemas
The Stream Wars continue. Apple’s latest sucker punch comes in the form of announcing it will release the movies it has distribution rights to in theatres before they go live on its streaming platform.
Apple’s very own Apple TV+ is coming on November 1, along with a host of original shows and content. Apple is racing to bolster its catalogue not only in the streaming game, but also the Oscars game.
Apple is dipping into its US $300 billion reservoir and using around US $6 billion to create and distribute exclusively movies that it hopes will become Oscars contenders. Apple is going for “Focus Features-esque award contenders” as it puts it, longingly looking towards Netflix’s positive relationship with the academy when ‘Roma’, a film it distributed, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.
Not only is Apple investing a sizable chunk into feature films, it has chosen to go down the route of theatrical releases. Apple TV+ debuts on November 1, though a handful of its heavy-hitting movies won’t arrive on the platform till they’ve made a splash in cinemas.
In order for any film to be an Academy Award contender, it must have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theatre.
Apple is distrubuting three films to screens initially across “select cities” in the US:
The Elephant Queen
Release: October 18, coming to Apple TV+ on launch
Debuted at Sundance, The Elephant Queen, narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor (star of 12 Years A Slave), is a wildlife documentary which follows an elephant matriarch named ‘Athena’ who strives to protect her family who are forced to abandon their watering hole. The film covers themes of love, loss and the threats faced by endangered species.
Release: November 22, coming to Apple TV+ around December
Fellow Sundance debut, Hala follows a teenage girl finding herself torn between old and new worlds in Chicago. Played by Geraldine Viswanathan, the film is a coming of age drama centred on the life of a Muslim teen.
Release: December 6, coming to Apple TV+ around January
1950s-set “The Banker” follows Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie in a civil rights drama. It tells the story of Bernard Garrett and Joe Morri, two black men who rise the ranks of real estate holdings and bank ownership. Their success allows their communities to flourish and challenge the systematic racism of the time.
Apple TV+ is priced at US $4.99 and releases in over 100 countries at the start of November.