Apple eyes iconic studio as base for Hollywood production push; vying with Netflix for high-profile Jennifer Aniston drama

“Apple is eyeing the studio where films from Gone With The Wind to The Matrix were shot, as the base for its big push into Hollywood production,” Matthew Garrahan and Tim Bradshaw report for The Financial Times. “The iPhone maker is in discussions to move its original content division to The Culver Studios, whose former owners include RKO, Howard Hughes and Cecil B DeMille.”

“Apple’s interest in a studio which has been central to Hollywood moviemaking for close to a century, comes amid an intensifying Silicon Valley battle for the best movie scripts and television projects. Google’s YouTube is producing original television series, as is Amazon, which recently won Oscars for Manchester by the Sea and has been linked with a move to The Culver Studios,” Garrahan and Bradshaw report. “The Culver Studios would give Apple room to expand as it hires top Hollywood talent, according to three people familiar with the discussions. The site has 13 soundstages up to 32,000 sq ft in size that can accommodate TV show shoots and full-length feature film work. But Apple is mainly looking for office space, albeit in an iconic location that signals its ambitions to become a big force in Hollywood.”

“Apple intends to spend more than $1bn a year on original content and recently hired Sony duo Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to lead its push,” Garrahan and Bradshaw report. “Among the projects Apple is vying for is a high-profile drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, set on a morning TV chat show. The company is bidding against the likes of Netflix for rights to the drama, according to people familiar with the discussions… ‘They woke up and said, ‘Let’s really do this,” said one Hollywood agent. ‘It’s a lot different to a year or two ago.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s finally getting serious!

Note to Tim: Whenever negotiations are scheduled, tell Eddy there’s a Warriors game.

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  1. Apple doesn’t need to own studios. They can rent studio space appropriate for a given production and those needs will vary from production to production.

    If Apple wanted to own studio space, building a completely new studio facility might be more Apple-like.

      1. I was aware that the story was about office space, but the headline and story implied that shooting space was part of the same search.

        It doesn’t matter either way. If you have a great idea and are putting it into production, talented people will travel to work on it. The actual location of your offices is much less important now than it used to be and it’s quite common to have pre-production, shooting and post-production happening in multiple continents simultaneously.

        I recently worked on the music recording for a big Disney production. We were in the London Air Studios ( built by George Martin ) with a full orchestra but the movie director was listening, watching and communicating via a video link. That’s quite a common way to operate these days and it means that directors can be involved with the orchestral recordings very early in the morning ( midday into afternoon London time ) and then personally oversee other aspects of the post-production in LA during the rest of the day.

    1. I agree. Aniston is DOA in appeal. Her movies box office poison. She should take her FRIENDS money and disappear.

      Culver Studios is great. A perfect choice if available. If the Muppets can have an entertainment industry home base in the old Charlie Chaplin Studios in Hollywood so can Apple.

  2. 1) Although I’m OK with Apple branching out I wish Apple would spend more effort on it’s hardware like Macs. Macs are Apple’s second largest hardware money maker in spite of the fact Apple (until recently) left Macs to languish and some still not updated after 4 -5 years , with practically ZERO Mac advertising.

    2) Services have larger revenues than Macs but I believe that the profits (revenues minus expenses) is smaller. For example out of the App/iTunes revenues 70% go to developers and artists. From the remaining 30% Apple has to run those billion dollar server farms, do the bank processing fees, admin etc.

    BOTH SPOTIFY (with double Apple Music paid subscribers) and NETFLIX LOSE MONEY. (Netflix is cash negative after expenses).

    Also a large chunk of Apple’s services revenues is tied firmly to hardware as APPLE CARE WARRANTIES are part of services revenues. Warranties make a lot of money , that’s why Best Buy etc push you to buy extended warranties.

    from the above I don’t think Planet of the Apps, Apple Music etc make any profits at all for Apple.

    3) the reason Apple can BUY any entertainment company it wanted to and NOT VICE VERSA is because Apple’s hardware is heck a lot more profitable than Disney etc. Does Netflix, Spotify have 200 billion in the bank? (no they are actually in debt ).
    (People should think about this a bit.)

    So, diversify fine, but show some love for Apple’s REAL PROVEN STRENGTHS like Macs.

    1. that is interesting.

      earlier in the year, Federighi was at the Mac Pro update meeting with the press apologizing for the problems. Interesting he was there as the Mac Pro Cylinder issue was poor hardware design and not software and the chief hardware guy Jony Ive was missing. Federighi stepped up to the plate.

  3. Note to Eddie Clueless Cue and Tim Cook:
    There is now more production done away from Los Angeles than in Los Angeles.

    Vancouver, New York and a bunch of other places house production on a large scale. Pixar is in Emeryville, not that far from Cupertino.

    Don’t want to see Eddie’s beer Gut at Lakers games.

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