Despite Apple’s best efforts, Apple TV Plus has not yet become as synonymous with blockbuster movies as CODA has. However, Apple’s next move to increase the visibility of its streaming platform is to make a greater push into physical theatres in the coming years, rather than simply acquiring the distribution rights to more promising projects.
Bloomberg reports that Apple plans to spend $1 billion annually on original film production, with the goal of getting audiences used to thinking of Apple Studios and Apple TV Plus as serious players in the movie game by having theatrical releases in thousands of theatres running for at least a month. Apple is rumored to be in talks with other studios about partnerships designed to ease the logistical process of releasing its projects in theatres on a large scale, though no plans have been finalized or announced as of yet.
The first wave of Apple features, which would play for at least a month in theaters, reportedly includes Matthew Vaughn’s thriller Argylle, starring Dua Lipa and Henry Cavill, and Ridley Scott’s historical drama Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Apple has previously released movies in conventional theaters, and Amazon has also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion annually on movies with wide releases. However, Netflix’s signal that it may not be ready to go all in on theatres coincides with a time when streaming services generally are reevaluating content spending in pursuit of long-term profitability.
It’s hard to say if the release of Apple’s movies in theatres will result in a surge of new subscribers for Apple TV Plus. But it’s easy to see how more conventional releases could help establish the studio’s credibility as one whose new works give audiences a reason to visit the theatre.