Martin Scorsese‘s next project, Killers Of The Flower Moon, has been searching for a home for a while. A month ago, a report stated that the bidding war was down to two; Netflix, who Scorsese had worked with before on The Irishman, and Apple, trying to inject some life into their new Apple TV+ streaming service.
Despite Scorsese’s relationship with Netflix, Apple have come out on top. However, in a strange move, Killers Of The Flower Moon will not premiere on Apple TV+. Instead, it will technically be an Apple project, but will be released theatrically worldwide by Paramount.
The studio will likely collect a distribution fee for its troubles, but this is still strange circumstances. It’s possible Apple is still wary of theatrical releases, or this deal was simply the best they could do with Scorsese’s manager likely trying to keep all parties happy to prevent any hard feelings, which were rumoured to have been with The Irishman‘s move from Paramount to Netflix.
The film is based on a book by David Grann, and was originally acquired by Impression Entertainment. The company spent several years developing the project before setting it up at Paramount, but in recent months, the studio balked at the rising budget, which reportedly will be at least $185 million.
Regardless of who is actually paying for the film, $185 million is a huge budget for, essentially, a western, even one starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
The film is true story, a mystery about a series of murders of wealthy Osage Native Americans in Oklahoma in the early 1920s after oil deposits were discovered beneath their land. The ensuing investigation established the FBI, and was a pivotal moment in the evolution of America from its frontier era.
Eric Roth wrote the script, but apparently Paramount higher-ups preferred an earlier draft to a recent rewrite, so the studio decided to limit its exposure and effectively put the film up for sale while retaining theatrical distribution rights.
Despite all this behind-the-scenes talk, this is pretty great news for film fans. Scorsese has a massive budget for his next film, and it will get theatrical distribution to be seen as it should be, instead of being stuck on a streaming platform.