Apple is getting into the film business, with A24 producing a number of original films for the streaming service.
Founded by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges in 2012, it has taken just six years for the company to become a powerhouse of independent gems, producing such movie as Lady Bird, The Witch, The Lobster, Ex Machina and 2018’s big hit, Hereditary.
A late entrant in the streaming game, Apple has been quickly building its slate of original content in the last year, with around $1 billion to spend on an initial slate of titles. Those include a morning show drama from Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, Defending Jacob, a drama based on the book with Chris Evans, a reboot of Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, a new sci-fi from Ron Moore and another from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight.
As for its film ambitions, Apple has so far acquired titles, including documentary The Elephant Queen and Ed Sheeran film Songwriter. With a need to ensure that its films will stand out in a competitive marketplace, it is perhaps no surprise that Apple was rumoured to be considering acquiring A24 wholesale earlier this year. Now, though, Apple has confirmed that the duo have inked a multi-year agreement instead.
Little is known about the details, but it will span multiple films, which may or may not be released in cinemas but will certainly be available on Apple’s digital platform, whether that will be a subscription-based service or whether (as has been rumoured previously) Apple will make its original content available for free to iPhone users.
Nonetheless, it’s a major signal of intent from the online tech giant, as it backs up its own reputation with that of one of the industry’s coolest brands, boasting such previous titles as Oscar winner Moonlight.
The deal is not exclusive, and will therefore not affect A24’s existing agreements, including one with DirectTV to acquire films for US distribution, and an output deal with Amazon that sees A24 release its titles on Prime Video earlier than elsewhere. It is also not yet clear whether the deal will extend the theatrical releases in the UK.