Apple TV Plus has bought worldwide rights from Sony Pictures to the Tom Hanks World War II drama “Greyhound” following a bidding war for the movie, which was previously set for a Father’s Day theatrical release. The film instead will become the biggest feature film commitment made by Apple to premiere on Apple TV+. It is the latest in a growing indication that Apple is making its move, and becoming as aggressive as any streamer or studio in auctions for the acquisition of films and TV projects.
Six-month-old Apple TV Plus announced the deal Tuesday. The streaming service did not disclose when it will release “Greyhound.”
This News was first broken by Deadline and later confirmed by Apple TV.
Sony had originally scheduled “Greyhound” to be theatrically released in the U.S. on June 12 but the release was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Greyhound” is set in the early days of World War II as an international convoy of 37 Allied ships, led by Hanks’ Capt. Ernest Krause, crosses the treacherous North Atlantic while being hotly pursued by wolf packs of Nazi submarines.
The studio had announced in early March that the film has shifted its release date back five weeks from May 8 to June 12. Sony also released the first trailer for “Greyhound” in early March, opening with Hanks in prayer and about to set sail. He then reveals to his crew that this is his first crossing of the Atlantic. The crew also finds out they are entering territory where plane cover cannot reach them for five full days. The ship, which is operating under the code name “Greyhound,” manages to destroy a Nazi sub, setting off a celebration and instilling the crew the confidence in the captain.
Hanks will test the waters in putting out one of his star-vehicle films direct to a streamer for the first time with a premiere in more than 100 countries, and it is all because of the coronavirus pandemic and how it has wrecked studio theatrical release calendars this year. Hanks had already been indelibly linked to the pandemic when, on the set of the Baz Luhrmann-directed Elvis Presley movie for Warner Bros in Australia, he became the first major movie star to test positive. He and wife Rita Wilson were quarantined and luckily overcame the affliction.
For Apple this is further indication the company is becoming a major player in features, as this marks its biggest picture commitment. The Apple TV+ slate includes Beastie Boys Story, the docus Dads from director Bryce Dallas Howard and the Sundance acquisition Boys State as well as On The Rocks starring Bill Murray, Rashida Jones and directed by Sofia Coppola. Streaming now is 2019 Sundance Film Festival selections Hala and The Elephant Queen. The service also premiered the George Nolfi-directed The Banker, which stars Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson and Nia Long.
“Greyhound” joins a growing list of movies that were originally slated for theatrical release, but then opted for a digital debut after the coronavirus pandemic resulted in most U.S. movie theaters remaining closed until July at the earliest. That list includes “Scoob,” “Trolls World Tour,” “The King of Staten Island,” “The Lovebirds,” “Artemis Fowl,” “My Spy” and “Bad Trip.”
Below is the trailer of the movie:
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