What you need to know

  • Apple is looking into plans to screen TV+ movies in theaters prior to release on streaming.
  • The move is designed to attract Hollywood directors and producers.
  • Apple approached J.J. Abrams over bringing his content to TV+, but was turned down.

A Wall Street Journal exclusive published today suggests that Apple is looking into plans to screen Apple TV+ movies in theaters prior to their release on its new streaming service.

According to people familiar with the plans, Apple has approached several cinema chains and is in consulation with former iMax head of entertainment Greg Foster on the subject. It would appear from reports that Apple may be seeking to have its Apple TV+ exclusives streamed for several weeks prior to their launch on Apple TV+. The move would first of all allow its films to qualify for awards, WSJ claims that Apple is in talks to have its first documentary "The Elephant Queen" streamed in theaters for this exact purpose.

Perhaps more importantly for Apple, having its exclusive movies played in theaters would certainly be enticing to Hollywood producers and directors, avoiding some of the confusion and conflict previously seen between Netflix and its filmmakers. The move would attract content creators who would still like their work to be viewed on the big screens, and make Apple a serious player in the film industry. WSJ reports that Apple approached J.J. Abrams with a deal, however were turned down in part because Apple did not have a movie distribution model.

Whilst it might seem a little counter-productive to release an Apple TV+ exclusive in theaters, if the upshot is the attraction of big-name Hollywood directors and producers then the move might certainly pay off. If Apple can use the prospect of big screen exposure, it may mean much bigger movies coming to the service than it might otherwise have been able to secure.