Apple is planning to give its movies a brief theatrical window before they begin streaming on the tech giant’s new streaming platform Apple TV Plus, and the company is turning to several indie distributors for help.
According to a report from Variety, Bleecker Street will “consult” on the release of The Banker, which will hit theaters on Dec. 6. Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson star as unlikely real estate and finance moguls in the Jim Crow era. Meanwhile, Greenwich Entertainment will “advise” Apple on the release of its Sundance acquisition Hala, which stars Geraldine Viswanathan as a Muslim girl reconciling her family traditions with modern high school life. Directed by Minhal Baig, that film will open on Nov. 22 before it arrives in Apple TV Plus in December, while The Banker will begin streaming the following month.
Elsewhere, A24 will “consult” on the release of the wildlife documentary The Elephant Queen, which will stomp into theaters on Oct. 18 and be available on Apple TV Plus when the streaming service launches on Nov. 1. A24 already has a five-picture overall deal with Apple, which includes Sofia Coppola‘s next film On the Rocks starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones as his daughter. That movie, which is more commercial than Apple’s other titles, will likely receive a larger theatrical release next summer following a possible premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
Former IMAX topper Greg Foster is crafting Apple’s distribution strategy, while Apple CEO Tim Cook has already reached out to NATO, which represents major theater chains. Rather than start off on the wrong foot, a la Netflix, Apple has prioritized having a productive relationship with theaters — though it remains to be seen whether major chains will program Apple titles that don’t adhere to the traditional 90-day window.
Streaming rival Amazon, for its part, has largely honored the theatrical window, though its upcoming awards titles The Report and The Aeronauts will only play in theaters for two weeks before they bow on Amazon Prime Video — a model that Apple has clearly embraced with the above release date news, which was first reported by Variety.