Apple Inc plans to allow theatrical releases for some of the films it has begun producing for its new Apple TV+ service, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said that by pursuing traditional releases for major projects, choosing a different path than rival Netflix, hoping to make it easier to attract big-name directors and producers to its projects.
Sofia Coppola's "On the Rocks", starring Bill Murray and produced in partnership with "Moonlight" producers A24, will be among Apple's first major theatrical releases in mid-2020, according to the report.
Apple did not provide any comment.
The Apple TV+ service will launch on Nov. 1 for $5 a month to compete with rivals such as Netflix Inc and Walt Disney’s upcoming streaming offering, Disney+.
Apple is spending $2 billion on original content this year but still lags behind industry leader Netflix, which has a reported $10 billion budget for content and 151 million paid subscribers.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted not to change its rules to demand Oscar nominees must play in theaters for a minimum period before being launched on other small screen mediums.
Apple is also reportedly lsearching for European TV shows and movies to bulk out its Apple TV+ streaming service, as new rules to be introduced by the European Commission will force all streaming services to up the proportion of EU-made content.
Variety reports that the EU wants to introduce legislation by the end of 2020 that at least 30% of streaming service catalogs must be composed of European-produced content. The rule is expected to be clarified by the end of the year, with enforcement beginning in late 2020.
This means that the streaming services need to start making content deals now to be ready when the deadline arrives. Variety says that Amazon Prime Video and Netflix’s catalogs are already close to meeting the 30% mark based on number of titles. Disney+ may struggle, as only about 4.7% of its huge title launch catalog will come from European production houses.
Apple is also in trouble, as none of its launch shows will qualify as European-produced.