Apple, which has been ramping up its original content ambitions largely via TV series with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa, Octavia Spencer and Chris Evans, is turning its attention to movies. The company is partnering with A24 on a multiyear agreement that will see the film and TV studio produce a slate of films for the tech giant.
It is the biggest move to date in the film space for Apple’s worldwide video operation, run by former Sony TV toppers Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg. The company first hinted at its intentions beyond TV around the Toronto Film Festival when the company acquired documentary feature The Elephant Queen and animated film Wolfwalkers
A24 is a distribution, financing, development and production company whose prestige credits include 2017’s Best Picture Oscar winner Moonlight. Launched in 2012, its films have included the critical successes A Most Violent Year, Ex Machina, the Amy Winehouse documentary Amy, Room, The Lobster, The Disaster Artist and Lady Bird. Its recent releases include Eighth Grade, Hereditary and Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid90s.
Its unclear whether the studio’s development slate would be targeted for the new deal with Apple. Projects in various stages include adaptations of Richard Wright’s Native Son and the medieval tale Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the latter with with David Lowery; and Janicza Bravo’s stripper tale Zola. Another film on the slate is tied to Apple’s new rival Netflix: the streaming service has international rights to the the Benny and Josh Safdie-directed Uncut Gems starring Adam Sandler.
Apple’s TV series slate includes morning-show drama starring Witherspoon, Aniston and Steve Carell; Are You Sleeping starring Octavia Spencer; an Amazing Stories reboot, a Ronald D. Moore space drama, a Damien Chazelle series, romantic dramedy Little Voice produced by J.J Abrams, world-building drama See starring Momoa, from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence; an M. Night Shyamalan psychological thriller; comedy Dickinson starring Hailee Steinfeld; a Hilde Lysiak mystery drama from Jon Chu; Foundation, from David Goyer and Josh Friedman; Defending Jacob, a limited series headlined and executive produced by Evans, from Mark Bomback and Morten Tyldum; a Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day comedy series; and Little America, a half-hour anthology series from Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon.
Last month, reports surfaced that Apple is planning to launch a TV subscription service in as many as 100 countries, where its original content would live. A rollout like that would make it able to compete immediately with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. Original programs are likely to be offered free to Apple device-owners, according to the report.
In March, insiders shot down a rumor that Apple was considering buying A24 outright as an entry portal into the film business, that talk coming after the exit of A24’s John Hodges, who founded the company in with David Fenkel and Daniel Katz. At the time, Deadline was told that discussions appeared only to be for partnerships on projects.