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Apple TV+ -- News and Rumors

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Apple TV+ -- News and Rumors

Old 03-05-24, 08:54 PM
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Re: Apple TV+ -- News and Rumors

Originally Posted by Geofferson
2 free months of Apple+ thanks to Leo - at least that's where I heard about it as it was on his IG page as part of a promotion for Killers of the Flower Moon.
Offer expires March 14. Perfect for me, my current trial ends on March 12.
Old 03-05-24, 09:08 PM
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Re: Apple TV+ -- News and Rumors

Apple TV seems to have a lot of restrictions/disclaimers about getting anything free, once you've already had it. Is that not the case, here?
Old 03-05-24, 09:47 PM
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Re: Apple TV+ -- News and Rumors

Originally Posted by andicus
Apple TV seems to have a lot of restrictions/disclaimers about getting anything free, once you've already had it. Is that not the case, here?
I had three free months from Best Buy end recently and I was able to get three free months from Target yesterday.
Old 03-05-24, 09:49 PM
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Re: Apple TV+ -- News and Rumors

Originally Posted by lwhy?
I had three free months from Best Buy end recently and I was able to get three free months from Target yesterday.

Same, probably a week between
Old 03-05-24, 09:51 PM
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Re: Apple TV+ -- News and Rumors

Originally Posted by lwhy?
I had three free months from Best Buy end recently and I was able to get three free months from Target yesterday.
Originally Posted by whotony
Same, probably a week between
Good to know! Thanks.
Old 05-07-24, 12:19 PM
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Re: Apple TV+ -- News and Rumors

Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, the stewards of Apple’s 5-year-old foray into Hollywood, were summoned to Cupertino last month for a curious sit-down. Tim Cook was there, I’m told, as was services V.P. Eddy Cue, the overseer of the content initiative and the Apple TV+ streaming platform. Budgets were on the agenda, of course, as was the breakdown in content spend between series and films. And notably, Cook and Cue are said to have asked some very tough questions about the company’s recent experiment with movie theaters.

I know what you’re thinking: Oh no. The mere suggestion that the world’s richest company might waver in its commitment to A-level Hollywood programming, and meaningful exclusivity for movies in theaters, is enough to make film industry people double up on their Lexapro. After all, Apple and Amazon Prime Video have been the two relative bright spots amid the worsening content-pocalypse. Both have shown only scant evidence of pulling back in their overall spend, and both have at least declared themselves big believers in movie theaters—though the extent of that devotion is still an open question.

Apple, in particular, has become a savior of sorts for big-name actors and their agents’ kids’ private school fundraiser auctions. Van Amburg and Erlicht, who previously ran Sony Pictures TV, are still regularly paying their series stars $750,000 or more per episode. You don’t even want to know what Reese and Jen are making for Season 4 of The Morning Show after their recent renegotiation. Ben Stiller is said to have gone tens of millions of dollars overbudget on the still-not-dated Season 2 of Severance. And in film, they’re still champions of the massive buyout, although Apple, like the other streamers, is trying to figure out how to share that risk—and pay less upfront—in new deals.

All of that persists despite the monthly evidence that barely anyone is watching Apple TV+, at least not in this country. According to Nielsen, the service still generates less than 0.5 percent of total viewership of connected TVs. That’s far below Peacock and Paramount+, long considered the also-rans of the streaming wars. For Apple, original film and TV has meant very little bang for those very big bucks.

But the Apple ecosystem… and selling phones… and yada yada. Of course. Apple is in Hollywood for reasons known mostly to Apple, and that’s fine. And movie theaters were supposed to help fix the viewership problem. If Apple TV+ has low subscriber numbers (Apple has never revealed) and low engagement (they push back on those Nielsen numbers), a well-marketed theatrical movie with good word-of-mouth can raise awareness and at least get people to sample the product. But if Cook and Cue suddenly decide big-budget movies are not worth the upside, or that the money is better spent on the NBA or UFC or more TV series, which have typically been more popular than movies on the platform, a major spigot for Hollywood would be shut off—with downstream ramifications felt throughout the industry.

I’m pleased to report, however, that Cook and Cue didn’t pull the plug on theaters in that meeting, and Cook was clear in his continued support for Apple TV+ in general—or at least, that’s what Van Amburg and Erlicht have been telling people, both internally and externally. (An Apple rep declined to comment on their behalf.) I’m told the Apple leaders did prod Zack and Jamie to explain how the company can become smarter in its theatrical endeavors—which, at least by traditional metrics, haven’t gone great. Lessons were learned, the duo promised, data was collected, and it’s early—the two career TV guys will figure this theater thing out.

The Argylle Effect

No, the numbers haven’t been great. With the help of veteran consultant Greg Foster, Apple began putting movies in theaters for short and limited runs right before the pandemic. But starting with Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon last October, Apple has been partnering with legacy studio distributors (in that case, Paramount) on traditional wide theatrical releases and exclusive windows of at least 45 days.

Unlike Amazon, which built its own distribution apparatus (and then bought MGM, which added another distribution apparatus), Apple contracts with different studios to distribute its movies. The studio pays for the P&A (marketing and distribution) and then recoups its costs via ticket sales; once it’s recouped, the studio takes a fee—often 10 cents on every dollar—from the revenue generated. More box office, more money for the studio that released the film for Apple. Sometimes—and this was the case on at least one of the three recent releases—the studio will make Apple split the P&A costs, thus reducing the risk for the studio if the film bombs.

Killers, with a production budget of between $200 million and $300 million, depending on whose B.S. numbers you believe, and a full-scale marketing campaign and awards push, grossed just $157 million worldwide. Not great. Killers was followed in November by Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, released by Sony, whose marketing chief, Josh Greenstein, did a nice job with a poorly reviewed movie. It cost far less than Killers and grossed more—$221 million worldwide—with 72 percent coming from overseas.

Still not great, but a better result than Matthew Vaughn’s disastrous Argylle, which Apple bought for $200 million and released via Universal in February to just $96 million worldwide, a true turkey. (It’s funny now to recall how Vaughn was talking prerelease about wanting to make two Argylles; I’m told his deal with Apple now allows him to do that elsewhere, if he so chooses.) Universal did negotiate to handle the premium video-on-demand window before Argylle dropped on Apple TV+, lessening that blow.

This isn’t confirmed, but the Argylle experience may have been the impetus for the come-to-Jesus portion of that meeting in Cupertino. After all, Apple has several films lined up for this year, and two of them—Fly Me to the Moon, a Space Age rom-com starring Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum, in July; and Wolfs, a thriller with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, in September—are confirmed to get the 45-day treatment via Sony.

Beyond that, it’s unclear. The biggie, a $300 million-plus Formula One movie with Joseph Kosinski directing and Brad Pitt starring, still doesn’t have a release date or a distributor attached, even though Apple has begun reaching out to Imax about booking screens. (Sony and Warner Bros. are considered the favorites; reps for both said it wasn’t theirs but that they are still talking and interested.) That F1 package was so big, and everyone involved wanted so much money up front, that no traditional studio could touch it. And now, in an ironic twist, Apple has been calling around asking potential studio distributors when they would release the movie if they were chosen as the distributor. If. At least one declined to offer that free advice, for obvious reasons.

So if Van Amburg and Erlicht are on a tight leash with their movie initiative, it would seem they have at least until the F1 release to figure it out. Not a great sign that Jessie Henderson, a top Apple film exec, chose to bail recently for a production deal with Ryan Gosling at Amazon. Apple’s internal structure has always been kinda odd, considering how much they spend. The film unit is run by Matt Dentler, who previously worked at iTunes Movies, but Zack and Jamie handle the greenlights and are considered by agents to be the “deciders” in film. Marketing and distribution is mostly handled by the partner studios, but obviously Ricky Strauss and his global marketing team at Apple TV+ have a strong voice.

What is the strategy? is a phrase you hear a lot when talking about Apple TV+, particularly its movie initiative. If putting films in theaters is merely to boost engagement on the service, it does seem to be working a bit. Killers of the Flower Moon and Argylle have both popped up on the ratings charts of original movies, thanks to all that marketing and press. Do viewers then stick around for other Apple TV+ movies and shows? Less clear. To that end, I’ve heard the basic barometer for success at Apple is that the box office should at least pay for the P&A cost, thus making the theatrical release a cost-neutral marketing effort for the streamer.

That’s a pretty low bar; any traditional studio executive would dance in the streets of Burbank if that was his or her primary success metric. At Apple, it seems that’s kinda all they have to do, plus score some Oscar nominations. This is a business that Apple doesn’t seem to care much about as a business, but they’ve decided it’s better to do than to not do it. And until Cook and Cue change their mind or, God forbid, pull the plug, Hollywood will be more than happy to cash the checks.
https://puck.news/apple-come-to-jesu...nt-for-movies/

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