Apple’s (AAPL) recently launched original content arm Apple TV+ has snagged Tom Hanks's big-screen World War II-era movie "Greyhound" from Sony Pictures for a reported $70 million, which it plans to stream directly to its subscribers.
The blockbuster movie, starring Hanks and produced by Sony Pictures, was originally meant to be released in theaters on Father's Day but will now be streamed directly to Apple TV+ subscribers, according to reports.
Apple reportedly paid Sony $70 million for 15 years of streaming rights for the film, though Sony retained the right to distribute the movie in China, where it could still release it in theaters. The deal was reportedly approved directly by Hanks himself.
The direct-to-home release marks the first major non-animated movie to be released on a streaming service rather than in theaters, many of which remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It also marks Apple TV+’s biggest film release on Apple TV+ to date.
In the film, Hanks plays George Krause, a Navy officer in charge of the Greyhound destroyer assigned to lead an Allied convoy across the Atlantic that ends up being pursued by German U-Boats in what became known as the Battle of the Atlantic.
Apple has been struggling to carve out space and gain subscribers in a competitive market dominated by Netflix (NFLX) and Walt Disney (DIS) . While the company has focused mostly on creating original content it is reportedly focusing on licensing older content.
On the flip side, so have theaters. AMC Theaters (AMC) earlier this month said it will no longer screen films made by Universal Pictures after Universal opted to bypass theaters and release its “Trolls: World Tour” animated movie directly to consumers amid the coronavirus pandemic and global lockdown.
Shares of Apple were up 1.70% at $318.45 in trading on Wednesday.