Apple Announces Titles on Upcoming Film Slate Headed to Theaters, Apple TV+

Apple has unveiled a glimpse at its slate of Apple Original Films set to premiere globally in theaters and on Apple TV+ over the next year.

The 2022 slate features filmmakers and stars including Alfonso Cuaron, Antoine Fuqua, Dakota Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, Octavia Spencer, Bill Murray, Russell Crowe and many more.

Cha Cha Real Smooth, winner of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Audience Award, will premiere globally on Apple TV+ June 17. In the film, writer-director Cooper Raiff also stars as a recent college graduate stuck back at home with his family and working as a party-starter for bar and bat mitzvahs who strikes up a unique friendship with a young mom (Dakota Johnson) and her teenage daughter.

Additional Apple Original Films set to debut this summer include a documentary executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and directed by Reginald Hudlin about the career and life of the late Sidney Poitier; and Luck, a new animated feature from Skydance Animation about the unluckiest girl in the world, starring Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Noblezada, Simon Pegg, Flula Borg, Lil Rel Howery, Colin O’Donoghue, John Ratzenberger and Adelynn Spoon, premiering Aug. 5.

This fall comes the premiere of the feature documentary Black & Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong, a look at the master musician’s life and legacy as a founding father of jazz, produced under Apple’s first-look agreement with Imagine Documentaries; Raymond & Ray, which follows half-brothers Raymond and Ray (Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke) who have lived in the shadow of a terrible father; and Peter Farrelly’s The Greatest Beer Run Ever, a new dramedy starring Zac Efron and Russell Crowe based on the true story of John “Chickie” Donohue, who in 1968 left New York to track down and share a few beers with his childhood buddies now in the Army — fighting in Vietnam. The documentary feature The Sound of 007 will also make its global debut this fall, to mark the 60th anniversary of the James Bond film series.

For the holidays comes Spirited, a modern musical rendition of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story “A Christmas Carol” starring Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell and Octavia Spencer.

Available before the end of 2022 is Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith’s new film Emancipation, which tells the story of a man who escapes from slavery.

Also coming soon is the premiere of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow and more, the film follows the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror.

Matthew Vaughn’s next spy thriller, Argylle, featuring an ensemble cast that includes Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, Dua Lipa and Ariana DeBose with John Cena and Samuel L. Jackson, will also soon be added to Apple’s lineup, as will Sharper, a New York City-set suspense-thriller from writers Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka starring Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, Justice Smith, Briana Middleton and John Lithgow, and Tetris, starring Taron Egerton, which follows the extraordinary journey of one of the most iconic computer games in the world.

Also due are Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the French military leader and emperor alongside Vanessa Kirby as Josephine; a pair of complementary documentaries entitled Number One on the Call Sheet, celebrating Black leading women and men in Hollywood; Ghosted, a high concept romantic action adventure film starring Chris Evans and Ana de Armas; Skydance Animation’s Spellbound, which follows a young girl who sets out to break the spell that has divided her kingdom in two; and The Beanie Bubble, inspired by the story behind one of the biggest speculative crazes in American culture in the 1990s and starring Elizabeth Banks, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Snook and Geraldine Viswanathan.

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Apple Original Films is also currently in development on Adam McKay’s Bad Blood, about the rise and fall of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, with Jennifer Lawrence producing and starring as Holmes; the genre-bending film Bride, produced by and starring Scarlett Johansson; Snow Blind with Jake Gyllenhaal attached to star; a new Sue Mengers biopic starring  Jennifer Lawrence; Dolly, a new feature film written by Vanessa Taylor and Drew Pearce with Florence Pugh attached to star; an adaption of Judy Heumann’s bestselling memoir Being Heumann from Siân Heder; an Audrey Hepburn biopic; and a thriller with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, written and directed by Jon Watts, about two lone fixers who are assigned to the same job.

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Apple has landed overall deals for feature films from studios and production companies including Martin Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions, Adam McKay’s Hyperobject Industries, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, Richard Plepler’s Eden Productions, Siân Heder, Tracy Oliver, A24, Imagine Entertainment, Skydance Animation and Skydance Media.

Universal’s ‘Ma’ Due Digitally Aug. 20, on Disc Sept. 3

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release the thriller Ma digitally Aug. 20, and on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Sept. 3.

The Blumhouse production stars Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer as Sue Ann, a lonely woman in a quiet Ohio town who takes an interest in a group of local teenagers she lets throw a party in her house.

The cast also includes Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, Missi Pyle, McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianni Paolo and Dante Brown.

The film earned $45.3 million at the domestic box office.

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Blu-ray, DVD and digital bonus material includes a new alternate ending, deleted scenes, the theatrical trailer, and the featurettes “Party at Ma’s,” a general making-of video, and “Creating Sue Ann,” a spotlight on the character.

Paramount Releasing ‘Instant Family’ Digitally Feb. 19, on Disc March 5

Paramount Home Media Distribution will release the family comedy Instant Family through digital retailers Feb. 19, and on Blu-ray and DVD March 5.

The film stars Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne as foster parents to a teenage girl (Isabela Moner) who unexpectedly comes along with two younger siblings. The cast also includes Margo Martindale, Julie Hagerty and Octavia Spencer.

Instant Family earned $66.7 million at the domestic box office.

The Blu-ray combo pack includes a digital copy of the film plus an introduction by director/co-writer Sean Anders and co-writer John Morris.

Additional extras include a commentary with Anders and Morris; deleted and extended scenes; a gag reel; a music video for Moner’s “I’ll Stay”; and several behind-the-scenes featurettes, including a profile of the real-life Anders family, who inspired the film.

Report: OTT Video Platforms Upping Original Content to Bridge Netflix Divide

With Netflix reportedly spending upwards of $13 billion on original content in 2018, over-the-top video competitors Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, Apple and Google-owned YouTube are ratcheting up their content spend in an effort to remain competitive.

Netflix has greenlighted more than 250 original titles – double the output from two years ago as Disney begins to pull original movies from the service for its own OTT ventures, according to Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm said Apple, YouTube Premium (formerly You Tube Red) and Facebook have greenlighted 65 combined original productions, with YouTube slating 50 original shows by the end of 2019.

Upstart OTT video services from Disney, Britbox and WarnerMedia’s DC Universe have disclosed original content forays – including 19 titles from Disney that include spin-offs High School Musical and Monsters Inc.

AMC Networks’ Acorn TV and rival BritBox are in a race to stream original British fare to American viewers. Acorn TV just announced a new co-production for “Blood,” a six-part thriller. Other titles include Agatha Christie’s “The Witness for the Prosecution,” “Love, Lies & Records,” and “Striking Out.” It also has exclusive rights to season two of “Jack Irish.”

In April, the company also acquired exclusive digital and home video rights from DCD Rights for Season 2 of the critically-acclaimed mystery series “Jack Irish.”

BritBox, the OTT video service from BBC Studios and ITV, is developing “Dark Heart,” “Three Girls,” “Bancroft,” daytime drama, “Shakespeare & Hathaway,” “Hold the Sunset,” and “The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco.”

Sony Crackle, the ad-supported OTT video service, original content includes comedy “Accident Park,” and dramas “The Butcher,” “CAPO,” “The Row,” “RPM,” “The Transplant,” and “Tribes,” among others.

“With so much new content being produced across a range of subscription services, [Apple, Facebook, YouTube] are under increasing pressure to create content that not only attracts new audiences but also prevents existing consumers from churning,” analyst Richard Cooper said in a statement.

Specifically, Cooper said OTT players are increasingly opting for niche titles in an effort to differentiate themselves across different genres. Indeed, comedy is the most greenlighted genre, followed by science fiction.

Apple TV’s high-profile content includes a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series “Amazing Stories,” in addition to “Are You Sleeping,” Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”); psychological thriller “Calls”; musical comedy “Central Park,” and “Dickinson,” starring Oscar-winner Hailee Steinfeld.

Ampere said Amazon is focusing on drama for 29% of its originals compared to 17% for Netflix. It said YouTube and Facebook have upped scripted content, with YouTube focusing on youth-orientated comedy.

“They are shying away from reality content with just 6% of new commissions compared to 32% of their current catalog,” Cooper said.