Apple has made a very big move here.
Martin Scorsese has long been circling Killers of the Flower Moon, a movie set to reunite the filmmaker with stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Based on author David Grann 2017’s non-fiction mystery book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, the story tells of the newly formed FBI’s investigation into the murders of wealthy people in Osage County, Oklahoma in the early 1920s – following the discovery of big oil deposits beneath their land. The FBI made its mark with the case.
Imperative Entertainment acquired the rights to adapt the book and then Paramount optioned the project off them. And now, as Deadline reports, Apple has come in to make it an Apple Original, the result of Paramount’s concern with the estimated $US180 – $US200 million budget and unhappiness on the rewrite. The screenplay comes from Oscar-winning writer Eric Roth, known for Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and A Star is Born.
The script’s revision, reports THR, saw DiCaprio change from “the good guy working for the then-nascent FBI” to a smaller part as the villain, “Robert De Niro’s nephew, torn between love and the evil machinations of his uncle.” Paramount reportedly believed this change made the film “a moody and less commercial character study” – but still just as expensive to make.
So, Paramount allowed Scorsese and DiCaprio’s manager Rick York to shop it to studios. Understandably, every studio came in running – Netflix among them. Apple came out on top and will now be financing the film, with Paramount still on board to distribute the film theatrically and take on the marketing costs. Of course, it will then be hitting streaming service Apple+, which should further establish it as a major player in the streaming game.
Apple recently also acquired Greyhound, a WWII film starring and written by Tom Hanks. With Hanks’ permission, Sony Pictures sold the film to Apple for approximately $US70 million for 15 years of streaming rights.