Apple’s long-expected Martin Scorsese movie has a release date — for theaters, that is. The company has revealed that Killers of the Flower Moon will get a wide theatrical release on October 20th following a “limited” run starting October 6th. The company hasn’t said when the film will be available to Apple TV+ users, but the streaming launch will come after the theater exclusivity period ends. This is Apple’s first movie to get a widescale big-screen debut before going online.
Killers of the Flower Moon is an adaptation of David Grann’s namesake book. It covers the fledgling FBI’s investigation of murders of Osage Nation members in the early 1920s after the tribe won rights to oil profits on its land. Scorsese both directed the movie and co-wrote it alongside Eric Roth (of Dune and Mank fame). The cast includes more than a few big-name stars and Scorsese favorites, including Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone.
Scorsese struck a multi-year deal with Apple in spring 2020 that covered both movie and television projects. While the exact terms aren’t clear, Killers reportedly has a budget topping $180 million. The pact came just months after Netflix’s Scorsese film, The Irishman, received a massive audience but failed to win any Oscars.
The strategy of releasing a movie in theaters first isn’t new. Industry awards like the Oscars frequently require movies to show in theaters before they qualify, and it’s no secret that streaming giants like Apple, Amazon and Netflix chase after these awards for the publicity they bring. Apple’s CODA was the first streamer to win a Best Picture Oscar, for instance. The scope of this premiere is new to Apple, though, and the company is clearly willing to spend on A-list talent to potentially clinch some statuettes and boost its credibility in Hollywood.
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