Apple’s highly anticipated Martin Scorsese film, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” finally has a release date – but only for theaters. The tech giant announced that the movie will have a wide theatrical release starting on October 20, following a “limited” run that begins on October 6. While the company has not specified when the film will be available to stream on Apple TV+, it will be released after the theater exclusivity period ends. This marks the first time that Apple has released a movie on the big screen before its online debut.
The movie, an adaptation of David Grann’s book of the same name, is centered around the FBI’s investigation of the murders of members of the Osage Nation in the early 1920s. The murders occurred after the tribe won rights to oil profits on its land. Scorsese directed the film and co-wrote it with Eric Roth, known for his work on “Dune” and “Mank.” The movie features a star-studded cast, including Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Lily Gladstone.
Scorsese signed a multi-year deal with Apple in the spring of 2020 for both movie and television projects. Although the exact terms of the deal remain unknown, “Killers” reportedly has a budget exceeding $180 million. The agreement came shortly after Netflix’s Scorsese film, “The Irishman,” received critical acclaim but failed to win any Oscars.
The strategy of releasing a movie in theaters before making it available online is not new. In fact, industry awards such as the Oscars often require movies to show in theaters before they qualify for awards consideration. Streaming giants like Apple, Amazon, and Netflix often pursue these awards for the publicity they generate. Apple’s “CODA” was the first streaming film to win a Best Picture Oscar. However, the scale of the “Killers” premiere is a new approach for Apple, and the company is investing heavily in A-list talent to increase its chances of receiving critical acclaim and bolstering its reputation in Hollywood.