Apple is the latest streamer to discover that theaters are actually kind of useful. Following a Bloomberg report last week, the company has officially confirmed its first wide theatrical release: Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. The movie will premiere with a limited theatrical release on October 6th before opening widely on October 20th, and Apple is partnering with Paramount Pictures for the release. It doesn’t yet have a release date for Apple TV Plus. (Apple’s press site currently lists it as “coming soon.”)
Killers of the Flower Moon is another big get for Apple, which already has one Best Picture Oscar and clearly has ambitions for more. In addition to being helmed by Scorsese, the movie — which is based on the novel by David Grann — stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, Jillian Dion, and Tantoo Cardinal. It is “set in 1920s Oklahoma and depicts the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror.”
The release strategy for Killers of the Flower Moon is also part of an ongoing trend. While Disney has had to figure out how to fit streaming into its release strategy full of theatrical blockbusters, Netflix, and now Apple, have been doing the reverse. Last year, for instance, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery had a brief theatrical run around a month before it hit streaming. While small runs have been important for awards consideration, a wide theatrical release can be a good tool for building buzz — something streaming movies still often struggle with.