Some intriguing elements have been revealed regarding Apple’s deal to back one of Hollywood’s biggest projects. 

We’ve known since January that Apple has been in pole position to land one of the biggest projects floating around Hollywood: an untitled racing driver movie with some serious name value behind it.

Brad Pitt is set to star, with Top Gun: Maverick‘s Joseph Kosinski in place to direct. What’s more, producing legend Jerry Bruckheimer is also said to be on board, as well as racing icon Lewis Hamilton. Paramount, MGM, Sony, Universal, Netflix and Amazon were also said to be interested, but Apple were seemingly first to snag the project.

However, four months on and the deal seems like it’s only just been closed, so why the long wait?

According to reports, theatrical distribution seems to have been a key part of the deal with the film’s producers’ adamant that the movie requires a wide release in cinemas. That runs contrary to the way Apple normally operates and whilst a few of its movies such as The Tragedy Of Macbeth have enjoyed theatrical releases, they are usually pretty small ‘awards-style’ runs. Reports suggest that the theatrical window for this project could run to 60 days of exclusivity before heading to the the Apple TV+ platform.

As such, it looks like Apple will need a distribution partner with it being suggested that it is looking to take a 50-50 split of the theatrical revenue. This then will allow the likes of Kosinski and Bruckheimer upfront fees and theatrical backend deals.

It’s a fascinating deal, especially as the recent news regarding Netflix’s subscriber losses means we may well see streaming platforms experiment with different models of exhibition and production. Streamers financing major blockbusters but still offering wide cinematic releases is something audiences have been hoping for for a long time, so it will be very interesting to see how this unfolds.

The project is believed to cost around $140m with ‘Pitt playing a retired racing legend who mentors a younger driver and takes his final stab at glory on the track as the younger driver’s teammate.’

Interestingly, Pitt and Kosinski have tried to make a racing movie together before. That film, originally titled Go Like Hell, would become the wonderful Ford V Ferrari – (titled as Le Mans 66 in the UK) but neither man would ultimately be involved.

It’s believed that Kosinski and his collaborators want to bring the same levels of technological advancement to the racing sequences as they did with some of the aerial sequences in Top Gun: Maverick which confirmed the director yet again as a filmmaker who can work with big budgets, big stars and big practical set-pieces. We’ll certainly let you know more on this one as we hear it.

The Hollywood Reporter

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