Apple puts Hollywood box office ahead of Apple TV+

From Tripp Mickle’s “Apple Plans to Bring Feature-Length Films to Theaters” ($) in Friday’s Wall Street Journal:

By reaching out to theater-industry representatives now and releasing films early, Apple is hoping to attract big-name directors and producers and avoid some of the tension created by another Hollywood newcomer, Netflix Inc., people familiar with Apple’s strategy said.

Netflix typically asks theater owners to release movies it owns or produces at the same time they are available on the streaming service. That approach limits the company’s ability to play its movies in major cinemas, which generally insist that films don’t appear online for about three months after their theatrical debuts. In recent months, talks between theater companies and Netflix about showing awards contenders such as the coming Martin Scorsese drama “The Irishman” in their cinemas have fallen apart after the two sides failed to reach a consensus on the exclusivity…

Among Apple’s first major theatrical releases is Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks,” which stars Rashida Jones as a young woman reconnecting with her eccentric father, to be played by Bill Murray. Apple is eyeing a mid-2020 release, perhaps following a premiere at a high-profile event such as the Cannes Film Festival, people familiar with the situation said.

My take: It doesn’t cost Apple much to play by Hollywood’s rules. First of all, there’s not that much money anymore in box office receipts (see Horace Dediu‘s chart below). Also, Apple’s brings to the party its own global distribution system.

Apple hollywood box office


  1. Dan Scropos said:
    Most people will ultimately opt for the comforts of home and saving 90%+ of their money. Apple gets that.

    September 27, 2019
  2. S Lawton said:
    Good move on Apple’s part. Streaming is not just about TV anymore. Cannes and the other film festivals suhould be interesting this year. Apple does know these films don’t come cheap. The streaming players bidding war often leave the old studios in the cust.

    September 27, 2019
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    Saw Brad Pitt’s new sci-fi “thriller” last night. Thankfully I have already forgotten its title.

    What a waste of time, money and talent. There was no beginning, no middle and no ending. The fiction here was somebody thought the screen play was movie material.

    But I liked the popcorn.

    September 27, 2019
    • Jerry W Doyle said:
      @Gregg Thurman: You are right that so much of it all is “crap.” I usually can tell within 5 minutes into the first scene whether this is worth my time watching the complete movie. I am not being frivolous or facetious. When I say five minutes into the program’s initial scene that’s all I need.

      September 27, 2019
  4. Jerry W Doyle said:
    I agree with Dan Scropos, but would like to expound further.

    I long have stated that one personal and operational character trait I admire in Tim Cook is his fundamental understanding of what it takes to get things done, and that is to “engage” with the other party in hope of finding common ground to reach consensus. Cook seems to go into these arenas with the fundamental principle of let us agree to disagree until we can find common ground where we can agree. Tim Cook influences his administrative teams to establish appropriate linkages with key players for cultivating working relationships so as to have a network of resources to tap as the needs arise. This is how Apple won the respect of the music industry. Apple now is doing it in the movie industry, too.

    September 27, 2019
  5. Gregg Thurman said:
    OT: Sold my Call Spreads after a spate of spurious “reports” drove AAPL below $220. I made about 4% on the trade.

    It isn’t even Black Swans pushing the market around anymore, it’s a marketplace full of scared shitless “investors” reacting to every unconfirmed rumor.

    September 27, 2019
    • John Konopka said:
      Good for you. I used to sell some puts and calls but stopped about a year and a half ago. It just got too hard for me to have a feel for things. It seems like the stock price is unmoored from how well Apple makes and sells products.

      September 27, 2019

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