In a potentially revolutionary deal that could affect the coexistence of streamers and theatrical distributors, Apple has struck a pact to acquire an untitled Formula 1 racing film that Top Gun: Maverick film-maker Joseph Kosinski drive and Brad Pitt connected to the star, The Hollywood Reporter Learned.
The deal, nearly five months in the making, brings Kosinski together with many of his Maverick team including writer Kruger honor and producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman from Jerry Bruckheimer FilmsAs Maverick expects to earn $1 billion or more from its theatrical run. All are back in the same capacity for the race project and are being joined by Sir Lewis hamiltonthe seven-time F1 world champion, who will produce alongside Pitt’s Plan B flag.
The key to the business is a theatrical distribution component. But instead of a token release in a small number of theaters or a day-and-date premiere, the film would have an exclusive — and global — run of at least 30 days (one source says it could be as long as 60 days). ) before moving to the Apple TV+ platform. A distribution partner would need to come on board, and it’s unclear when one would be approached. This could happen before production, potentially attracted by a spool of hiss, or perhaps after production ends.
Apple has released movies in theaters before, with animated movie Wolf Walkers enjoying a 30 day window and Macbeth’s Tragedy staying 21 days. However, these were small-scale prize launches, not tent-style extravaganzas.
In another novelty, insiders say the theatrical component is structured in a way that would have Apple and the filmmakers split the take of the big-screen release 50-50. The exclusive deal, in essence, pays the creative team in three ways: its upfront fees, its hefty purchase fees, and the theatrical backend. Sources say Kosinski, who will also produce, and Bruckheimer will see paydays well into the eight-figure range, with Pitt and his company hitting $40 million to $50 million. Apple had no comment.
Prior to this deal, the creatives and their representatives had to make a choice for Sophie: to accept a purchase or push for a theatrical release? But the CAA, which represents Pitt, Kosinski and Bruckheimer, pushed for another answer: why not both?
Part of the gamble here is Pitt and F1 racing. Despite not having the box office record of Maverick’s Tom Cruise, Pitt is such a big name on a world scale. And F1 is a growing, sexy sport that embodies a certain kind of enviable lifestyle. The other bet is the theatrical experience that will take the audience to a place most have never been before: inside a single-seater. Like this Maverick and Kosinski are generating raves for practical, real-world effects that put audiences in the cockpit of an F-14, the goal being to put the viewer behind the wheel of what is basically a rocket on a track.
The idea for the project came from Kosinski, who is proving to be an idea initiator after cutting the years top gun swamp with a lightbulb from a concept that hired Cruise to do a sequel. The filmmaker met Hamilton briefly through Cruise while making Maverick, and so when he decided to take his idea a step further, CAA and his management company Grandview arranged a meeting at the San Vincente Bungalows with Bruckheimer, Hamilton and his manager, Penni Thow, where things started to crystallize. A search for a writer followed, with Maverick scribe Kruger being chosen, before a fateful meeting just before Thanksgiving between Kosinski and Pitt, where Kosinski convinced the actor to join the story’s seasoned driver’s racing team coming out of retirement to mentor a promising rookie.
In December, the project was purchased by CAA for studios and vaporizers on a short 30-minute notice that prompted instant offers. In the end, it all came down to Apple, Netflix, Amazon and MGM, then run by Michael De Luca. (The last executive is now in a leadership role in film at Warner Bros. and may be in a position to run again when it comes to the distribution aspect.) Be a model for future businesses that recognize that both theater and streaming are here to stay for the duration.