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Apple has beat out streaming competitor Netflix for the upcoming “Killers Of The Flower Moon,” a star-studded, Martin Scorsese-directed film, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Scorsese in the lead roles. Robert De Niro later agreed to join the project.
According to Deadline, which first reported the news, the deal is being prepared for an Apple original, with movie studio Paramount distributing it theatrically worldwide.
The move comes after Netflix spent almost $200 million on the DeNiro-Scorsese project “The Irishman,” which landed on the platform’s list of most popular shows and movies of 2019 and went on to earn a Best Picture Oscar nomination among 10 total award nominations.
The price tag for “Killers Of The Flower Moon” will be roughly the same.
Paramount, according to the report, had previously acquired the project but allowed Scorsese and DiCaprio manager Rick Yorn to shop for other buyers, including Netflix. The studio was concerned about the $180 million to $200 million cost and reportedly preferred an original draft of the picture, written by Eric Roth, over the rewrite.
Studios from Universal to MGM had been in the bidding, too, Deadline reported.
This is the second big movie deal for Apple, which recently snagged "Greyhound," a WWII-themed film starring Tom Hanks. Apple will finance and be the creative studio for the new project
“Killers Of The Flower Moon” is a Western film, adapted from David Grann’s mystery novel “Killers Of The Flower Moon: The Osage Murders And The Birth Of The FBI,” which follows a series of murders of wealthy Osage Native Americans in Oklahoma in the 1920s.
A date for the film’s debut isn’t yet clear and Paramount declined to comment to Deadline, but the coronavirus pandemic has spiked Americans’ streaming habits. Nielsen reported at the end of March that over the previous four weeks, the number of minutes the average person spent streaming TV and movies had jumped 36 percent weekly, from 115 to 156.
The snag could be a big win for Apple as it battles Netflix for viewers. While the company has not yet rolled out subscriber numbers for Apple TV Plus, it has given subscriptions away to many who use an Apple product. Netflix reported 182.8 million subscribers worldwide in April.
Also in big deals, Good Deed Entertainment has acquired North American rights to “So B. It,” a feature based on a New York Times bestselling YA book by Sarah Weeks and adapted by Garry Williams. The film will be directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal of “Homegrown” and star Alfre Woodard, John Heard and Cloris Leachman.