A few days ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that Paramount Pictures was getting a little anxious about the $200 million that Martin Scorsese wanted for his next big crime drama, an adaptation of David Grann’s Killers Of The Flower Moon, with Scorsese’s people reportedly holding talks with other distributors like Apple and Netflix in hopes of finding someone else who is willing to either put up the cash or work with Paramount. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the same basic thing happened with The Irishman, with Paramount getting cold feet as the budget began to skyrocket, leading Netflix to swoop in and pick up the movie in a bid for what would everyone naturally assumed would be a major player during awards season.
The twist in that story is that The Irishman got totally shut out at the Oscars, meaning Netflix paid for all of that expensive CG de-aging technology for nothing (well, the movie got plenty of accolades and Netflix had a hand in creating art, but what good is that without a little golden man on your shelf?). So, Variety has published a piece from Andrew Wallenstein suggesting that this is Apple’s opportunity to step in and grab a (presumably) prestigious project for itself and bolster its own streaming offerings.
The theory is that Netflix might be a little wary of another hugely expensive Scorsese movie, so it won’t necessarily pick this one up automatically. That means there would be a bidding war, and Wallestein thinks Apple will walk away with it “for no other reason than they need it more than anyone else out there.” The movie is going to reunite Scorsese with Leonardo DiCaprio, which means it’s guaranteed to be popular and make some money, it’s just a matter of who ends up thinking that’s worth more than $200 million.
A problem that we see in this, though, is that Apple’s streaming platform is decidedly TV-based (it’s called Apple TV+, after all), and Scorsese made it a point to remind people that The Irishman—despite being a million years long—was a movie and not a miniseries. Assuming he feels similarly about Killers Of The Flower Moon, Apple might not be the right fit.