Though the Hollywood frenzy of splurging on streaming seems to be drying up, with studios like Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery now scrambling to cut costs, Scorsese is still reaping the benefits of tech titans breaking into the film industry. For Apple, a company that had a total revenue of $394.3 billion in 2022, the cost of financing “Killers of the Flower Moon” is scarcely more than a rounding error. The true value of the film lies more in establishing Apple Original Films as a respected brand, with room for future growth, than in breaking even at the box office. There’s also the hope that the presence of prestige films will attract more subscribers to Apple TV+, which has struggled to compete in a heated streaming market.
We can expect a big awards push for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which could bode well for its long-term prospects at the box office. From its initial $18.3 million opening weekend, “The Wolf of Wall Street” went on to gross $392 million worldwide thanks to Oscars buzz (it was nominated five times, though scored no wins) and strong overseas performance. That movie had around half the budget of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” but if Scorsese’s new film follows a similar trajectory it could potentially come close to breaking even at the box office. Audiences seem happy so far, giving it an A- CinemaScore based on exit polling.
Next on Apple’s Oscars agenda is Ridley Scott’s biopic “Napoleon,” starring Joaquin Phoenix as the French general who rose to become an emperor, and Vanessa Kirby as the woman who ruled his heart. That film will hit theaters on November 22, before eventually joining “Killers of the Flower Moon” on Apple TV+.