The film distribution business is seeing a shift – from establishment of new streaming services, to movie subscription service offerings in cinemas, it’s been an exciting year with major changes in how we consume theatrical releases.
Apple has spent the last year sorting through talent for a new pool of exclusive content, and now the PC giant is extending its reach even further into Hollywood. Apple recently announced a deal with A24, an indie film production studio based in NYC.
Having been established just six years ago, A24 is a relatively new indie studio albeit with major hits like Lady Bird and Oscar winners such as Ex-Machina. The newcomer has shown consistent performance with mid-budget films such as Room, Eighth Grade, The Witch, The Disaster Artist and continues to release award-winning art house films each year.
Paramount also struck a deal with Netflix this year as a distribution platform for it’s mid-budget films. Known for big screen releases such as The Godfather and Transformers, Paramount will take its creative relationships and IP to make movies that might not justify the expense of a theatrical release – just as straight-to-video releases did more than a decade ago. The new deal will most likely focus on mid-budget movies and dramas that have difficulty gathering audiences in a theater setting. The first film to release under the new partnership will be a sequel to ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’, a teen romance based on a novel of the same name which released on Netflix this August.
Hollywood rarely makes mid-budget movies anymore. We see high-budget blockbusters with guaranteed box office sales, or low-budget movies that are hoping to land a surprise hit. Netflix has, intentionally or not, taken on the role of content distributor for straight-to-video releases in the era of online streaming. Apple, on the other hand, seems to be making a statement with its partnership with an indie film production company.
A24 will be the first partnership in the film industry for the tech giant – and in doing so, it establishes a precedent and hints a possible direction for its content streaming service. Assumingly, Apple’s indie film venture seems like an obvious one as it draws parallels to the image of the company’s humble beginnings as an independent PC maker, and shows commitment to a relatively untapped market of mid-range independent films.
While the approach may be different, there are some definite changes being made throughout the industry. Paramount and A24 agreeing to produce original films for the digital giants hints at a major shift in the entertainment industry, and a shift in the traditional pecking order of film distribution. We’ll wait and see to find out just how much will change over the coming years.
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