Apple TV+ pays $70 million to premiere Tom Hanks WWII movie Greyhound

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Tom Hanks' World War II movie Greyhound will debut on Apple TV+.
Tom Hanks' World War II movie Greyhound will debut on Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple

Apple TV+ reportedly secured the rights to upcoming World War II film Greyhound, written by and starring Tom Hanks. The film was originally scheduled to debut in theaters, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift in strategy.

The deal, which will see the movie premiere on Apple TV+ at an undisclosed date, shows just how serious Cupertino is about its streaming service.

Set in 1942 and inspired by actual events, Greyhound tells the story of a Navy captain who commands an armada of 37 ships to fight the Nazis.

Deadline reported Tuesday that Sony Pictures originally acquired world rights to the film. The studio delayed Greyhound’s May 7 theatrical release until mid-June as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which shuttered public theaters worldwide.

How Apple TV+ snagged Tom Hanks film Greyhound

After that, the film became the focus of a major bidding war between various streaming services, according to Deadline. Apple reportedly paid somewhere around $70 million to seal the deal.

Apple TV continues to grow

Apple continues to pour money into Apple TV+. The company reportedly spent more than $1 billion producing and acquiring original TV shows and movies for the service, which launched late last year.

On Monday, Apple signed a seven-figure deal for a new docuseries from the producers of HBO series McMillion$. And earlier today, a Bloomberg report indicated Apple might snap up older TV shows and movies to bolster its catalog.

That same story put Apple TV+ subscriber numbers at a relatively anemic 10 million. Apple has not released any viewership data.

The service faces intense competition from newcomers like Disney+ and NBC’s Peacock as well as established heavyweights like Netflix and Hulu.

With theaters closed due to COVID-19, streaming is soaring and the movie industry is experimenting with new distribution models. Apple’s massive investment in a high-profile film like Greyhound signals that Cupertino intends to compete.