EXCLUSIVE: Apple’s WWII drama Greyhound, starring and written by Tom Hanks, has become the largest opening-weekend release ever for Apple TV+, including series that have bowed on the service, sources close to Apple tell Deadline. The streamer is loathe in giving up exact numbers, but I’m told the film turned in a viewing audience commensurate with a summer theatrical box office big hit, which of course Greyhound was meant to be until it moved from Sony to Apple because of the uncertainty of movie theaters after COVID-19.
Beyond generating the largest opening weekend ever for Apple TV+, 30% of its viewers were new to the service. The film debuted last Friday.
Apple would not comment on what movie or TV series the Aaron Schneider-directed Greyhound eclipsed. Candidates among the 26 originals launching in 100 countries in the eight months since Apple TV+ launched would include the Jennifer Aniston-Reese Witherspoon limited series The Morning Show, the George Nolfi-directed Anthony Mackie- and Samuel L. Jackson-starrer The Banker, and the limited series Defending Jacob starring Chris Evans, the latter of which is said to have broken records in May.
This will give Hanks something to brag about this evening when he appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Hanks’ Playtone partner Gary Goetzman produced the film.
The record probably won’t last, as Apple Worldwide Video heads Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht have been on a tear, reeling in the Martin Scorsese-directed Leonardo DiCaprio-Robert De Niro-starrer Killers of the Flower Moon, the Antoine Fuqua-Will Smith runaway slave thriller Emancipation, and closing last week’s big deal for Snow Blind, the Gustav Moller-directed graphic novel adaptation to star Jake Gyllenhaal. There is another one from Playtone’s Hanks and Goetzman, who with Steven Spielberg are back with another WWII limited series Masters of the Air. That begins production next March.
In Greyhound, Hanks stars as a longtime Navy veteran and first-time captain who is tasked with protecting a convoy of 37 ships carrying thousands of soldiers and supplies across the treacherous waters of the Atlantic during World War II. For five days with no air cover, the captain and his small force of three escort ships must make their way through an area of the ocean known as “the Black Pit,” battling Nazi U-boats. Greyhound is inspired by events during the Battle of the Atlantic, which took place in the earliest months of America’s alliance with Great Britain and the Allied Forces. Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan and Elisabeth Shue star alongside Hanks.
Pic is a Playtone Production from Sony Pictures Entertainment/Stage 6 Films, in association with Bron Creative, Zhengfu Pictures, Sycamore Pictures and FilmNation Entertainment.