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Cinema First For Apple Content

Apple is reportedly making its move into Hollywood by bringing feature-length films to the big screen before being made available for streaming, in a bid to take on Netflix and Disney.

The report by the Wall Street Journal suggests Apple has reached out to cinema chains and entertainment executives in the US to produce traditional theatrical-release movies before they are made available for streaming.

It comes after Netflix co-founder, Marc Randolph told cinemas to lift their game when competing against streaming services, as reported by AFR.

IBISWorld recently identified the threat of streaming services, saying cinemas will face “intense competition”.

Despite the threat, cinema revenues were predicted to rise 1.6% annually over the next five years to $1.9 billion.

The push by Netflix, Disney and now Apple into the cinema market is a clear indicator of cinema growth.

Apple appears more concerned with the marketing potential that Hollywood glamour can bring to its new streaming service, rather than as a commercial platform for the tech giant.

Brand-building for Apple TV+ is undoubtedly at the forefront of this move, providing producers with the convenience of its streaming platform without losing the appeal of theatrical release.

Last year Apple signed a deal with the New York-based A24 film studio to produce multiple films for the company, though at the time, there was no word on theatrical releases.

Co-heads of video programming Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlict will be leading the push into Hollywood as the company gears up to launch its Apple TV+ streaming service on 1 November.

Plus with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voting to not to change its rules demanding Oscar-nominated films must play in theatres for a minimum period, the competitive field is open to streaming providers like Netflix and Disney to secure their golden statues.

Disney is obviously no stranger to Hollywood, with Walt Disney producing films since 1937’s Snow White.

However, Netflix has only recently made its push into Hollywood, with last years original films like ‘Roma’, ‘Bird Box’ and ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’.

Netflix typically asks theatres to release its movies in parallel to streaming availability.

This simultaneous release is against the typical cinema approach which sees movies available in theatres three months before their online release, which may have led to recent talks breaking down over the showing of Netlfix original “The Irishman”.

Apple appears to be following in the footsteps of Amazon, who recently released ‘Manchester by the Sea’ in theatres for three months before its online availability.

Netflix has also made its push into the UK announcing the purchase of studio space in a production deal with London’s Shepparton Studios.

Disney also recently announced its ten-year lease deal with Pinewood studios until 2029.

Apple has reached out to former head of entertainment at IMAX Corp., Greg Foster, to consult on the Hollywood plan.

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