Apple is hustling to bulk up its streaming service with content both new and old: Tom Hanks’ upcoming “Greyhound” war drama feature film will reportedly premiere on Apple TV+, and a new report indicated that the streaming service is beginning to acquire old films and television shows for distribution.
Deadline reported that “Greyhound,” which Hanks wrote and stars in, will premiere on Apple TV+ instead of being released theatrically. The film was originally part of Sony Pictures’ theatrical calendar and would’ve hit theaters on June 19 for Father’s Day weekend. The film’s Apple TV+ premiere date has not been announced. The deal closed for around $70 million, according to Deadline.
As for older content acquisitions, Bloomberg News reported that Apple has already purchased several legacy films and television series. Company executives are reportedly taking pitches from Hollywood studios for licensing other projects, but there’s no word on what movies and shows will come to the service as part of the deals.
An Apple spokesperson did not return a request for comment on Bloomberg and Deadline’s reports.
Apple’s “Greyhound” pickup and newfound interest in library content represents notable strategic shifts for the platform. While Apple has released and announced a handful of films for its streaming service, including the Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson-led “The Banker,” the streaming service has yet to make a name for itself with must-see cinema. A Hanks-led film like “Greyhound” could help strengthen its catalogue and, if the film performs well on the service, could incentivize Apple to continue aggressively courting distribution rights to other upcoming star-studded films.
While television series tend to constitute the majority of most streaming services’ libraries of originals, it’s becoming more common for streamers to premiere new movies. Netflix made major waves when it released Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” last year and reports surfaced in April that Scorsese was in talks with Apple and Netflix to distribute his next film.
The streaming service’s new eye towards library content is especially significant. Unlike most other streaming services, Apple TV+ does not have a large library of old content and its overall offerings are significantly more limited than the likes of Netflix or Disney+. Though original content is important for all leading streaming services, practically all of the streaming market’s leading services boast a number of older films and shows that can boost subscriber retention in between new film and TV releases. The value of holding the rights to older projects is considerable, which is why companies such as WarnerMedia secured the rights to “The Big Bang Theory” for HBO Max in a deal that was reportedly worth $1 billion.