Apple is about to make a significant leap into the streaming wars, and they’ve just secured a big project ahead of their rivals. The company has beaten out Netflix, Warner Bros. and Paramount for the rights to a new live-action musical version of Charles Dickens‘ A Christmas Carol that stars Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell.
Daddy’s Home filmmakers Sean Anders and John Morris will helm the project. Variety reports that Reynolds will take home a whopping $35 million, while Ferrell is also taking home north of $30 million. Apple rival Netflix wanted to pay the duo $27 million and $25 million respectively, but Apple upped the ante.
Variety’s report adds that “fees for talent alone will clock in at north of $60 million according to numerous insiders”, which is incredibly high for a holiday comedy. But Apple are lacking IP with a built-in audience, so maybe their theory is that getting two movie stars for a Christmas movie is worth the price if it significantly drives subscribers to their service.
The problem is that while Reynolds is a star on a hot streak, he hasn’t significantly proven to be a huge draw outside of the Deadpool franchise. And while Ferrell was once one of the most secure box office stars of his era, his appeal has waned in recent years as hit output – disasters like Holmes & Watson – has declined.
And on top of that, A Christmas Carol has been done many, many times. Is the appeal of watching another new version of a story everyone knows that high for budding subscribers? Who knows. But Apple is sure putting a log of eggs in one basket.
It’s unknown right now whether Reynolds or Ferrell will play Ebenezer Scrooge, or how updated and/or altered the film will be from the original source material. But Apple better hope that everyone from Tiny Tim to Santa Claus himself watches this thing, or their foray into the streaming world could be off to a rocky start.