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When it comes to its technology and services, Apple has always been more closely aligned with the tortoise than the hare, following the philosophy that slow and steady wins the race. It’s a company that’s willing to take its time to build things out, knowing that it will get there in the end.
Nowhere is this more apparent these days than with Apple TV+, the company’s still somewhat fledgling video streaming service. As we near the end of its second year, many users still aren’t quite sure what it will ultimately become.
Of course, it’s also easy to take the slow and steady approach when you have deep enough pockets to weather any storms, such as the COVID-19 pandemic that put most of Apple’s original content ambitions on ice. That didn’t stop Apple from continuing to pour money into Apple TV+, however, signing new deals to fill the pipeline with movies and shows for the future.
The pandemic also brought a few good things Apple’s way, such as the Tom Hanks blockbuster Greyhound, which would have almost certainly never debuted on any streaming service had traditional movie theatres still been open. However, Hanks and Sony Pictures did what they had to do, and Apple reaped the benefits in spades.
Ultimately, though, that was a film that was already in the can, so all Apple had to do was actually air it, in much the same way a movie theatre would. It takes much longer to make a whole movie from scratch, which is probably why we haven’t seen many other feature films gracing the Apple TV+ screen.
There’s no shortage of projects that are in the works, however. Apple has signed major deals with legendary Hollywood icons like Martin Scorsese, Will Smith, and Christopher Walken, and now it’s just scored one of its biggest single-film initiatives yet — a $200 million deal for a spy film with a stellar cast.
According to Deadline, Apple is closing worldwide rights on Argylle, a new film directed by Matthew Vaughn, who is best known for other hit films such as Stardust, X-Men: First Class, and the Kingsman series of action spy thrillers.
The cast list is equally impressive as well, including Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, John Cena, and Samuel L. Jackson.
The film will also feature the screen-starring debut of Dua Lipa, who perhaps not coincidentally was also featured in a major GarageBand update last week. Dua Lipa will also provide music for the title track and score.
I’m thrilled to team with Apple and bring the most compelling spy thriller I’ve ever read to the only streaming service that can create a franchise of this scale and quality for global audiences to experience.Matthew Vaughn
The film, which is based on an upcoming spy novel of the same name by Ellie Conway, follows the “world’s greatest spy” as he finds himself caught up in an adventure around the globe. The book is slated to be published next year, so presumably the film will come out around the same time.
As Deadline notes, the high $200 million asking price isn’t atypical for a “ready-to-go star package” like this — especially since it also has the potential to become a “global spy series like 007.” While the actual terms of the deal haven’t yet been disclosed, sources say that it’s basically closing right around that asking price.
It’s not the first “star package” that Apple has picked up, of course, but it may be the most expensive — and expansive. Will Smith’s Emancipation went for around $120 million, and while Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon may not have cost as much to acquire, production costs are expected to run well north of $200 million by the time it’s in the can.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that not all of these will be Apple TV+ exclusives. Both Emancipation and Killers of the Flower Moon are expected to make their debut in theatres at the same time as they land on Apple TV+, if not before. While Deadline doesn’t say whether this is going to be the case with Argylle, it seems likely it will also follow suit.
After all, it’s in Apple’s best interests to release these big blockbusters in theatres as well, since that’s the only way to ensure they’re eligible to win Oscars, and that’s definitely something Apple cares very much about.