What: A partnership designed to cultivate prestige content.
Who: Apple and A24.
Why we care: Once upon a time, it just took one hit show to put a channel or streaming service on the map. A Breaking Bad, perhaps, or a Transparent. Now there are so many channels and streamers offering so much content that trying to find that one breakout show is like drinking out of a firehose that shoots out other firehoses that all shoot out fire. One of those services hoping to make a splash is Apple’s nascent entertainment division, which hasn’t shown even one establishing shot of original content, but has allotted a billion-dollar television production budget, locking down marquee talent like Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Chris Evans. Not satisfied with setting up a TV shingle, Apple has just announced its foray into the film space with a new prestige partnership.
Apple has tapped Hollywood’s hottest independent shop, A24, to produce a slate of films in the near future. While the tech monolith’s TV ambitions are marked by a kitchen-sink approach to hit the broadest audience possible, teaming up with A24 hints at a desire for more niche–and possibly even high-brow–material. You don’t sign up the studio behind Moonlight, Ex Machina, and Hereditary to make cinematic comfort food for the masses; you do it to lure in the connoisseur crowd and hopefully win some awards in the process. In short, Apple wants to eat Netflix’s lunch for them and maybe even win an Oscar in the process. Since launching in 2012, A24 has received 24 Academy Award nominations. The studio has also won several major ones, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Documentary.
The only question now is whether Apple’s notoriously exacting standards will lead the company to interfere with A24’s creative freedom.