Tom Hanks’ ‘Greyhound’ success shifts Apple TV+ focus to feature films

Tom Hanks’ World War II procedural ‘Greyhound’ gave Apple TV Plus its first bona fide blockbuster hit. Now executives are looking to double down, insiders say, on feature films.

Nicole LaPorte for Fast Company:

Tom Hanks WWII film ‘Greyhound’ premiered on Apple TV+ on July 10th
Tom Hanks’ WWII film ‘Greyhound’ premiered on Apple TV+ on July 10th
According to sources familiar with Apple’s thinking, the success of Hanks’s World War II drama Greyhound (which he both wrote and starred in) has catalyzed Apple’s ambitions in feature films, which are now being amped up to (almost) Netflix-like levels.

Going forward, one source says the streamer is discussing plans to release a dozen new movies a year on Apple TV Plus, roughly one a month. Two to four of those would be blockbuster-type titles such as Greyhound and Emancipation, the runaway-slave thriller starring Will Smith and directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) that Apple recently acquired for $120 million in a bidding war with Warner Bros., Universal, and other studios. Another source had fewer specifics but confirmed that Apple is telling Hollywood that it’s now in the market for more tentpole-like feature films…

This would be a dramatic pivot for Apple. When the company launched Apple TV Plus to much fanfare and hullabaloo last November, movies were something of an afterthought—unlike its TV strategy, which was crystal clear… What was the company’s point of view, exactly? As one film agent puts it, “They’re more confusing than Netflix. I know what Netflix wants and doesn’t want. [Apple hasn’t] come out to the agencies and said, ‘We need these kinds of movies.’ I think they’re much more specific on the TV side.”

Then came Greyhound

Apple, of course, wouldn’t divulge numbers, Deadline reported that the film “turned in a viewing audience commensurate with a summer theatrical box office big hit.” Beyond being the biggest opening weekend ever for Apple TV Plus, 30% of those who watched it were new subscribers.

MacDailyNews Take: How much does it cost to see a blockbuster feature film in a theater? Contrast that with getting them piped into your home monthly via Apple TV+ for $4.99 a month.

Those who can wrap their heads around Apple’s massive cash mountain and the company’s unparalleled ability to generate cash can clearly see who the winner will be. The most talented producers, writers, directors, editors, actors, etc. are attracted to exactly what Apple has and makes in vast abundance: Cash. The king. Like bears to honey, it’s happening already. — MacDailyNews, January 3, 2018

The ever-growing list of creatives with deals at Apple TV+ include Idris Elba, Oprah Winfrey, Alfonso Cuarón, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Justin Lin, The Morning Show‘s Kerry Ehrin, Jason Katims, Little America showrunner Lee Eisenberg, Monica Beletsky, Sharon Horgan, Dickinson creator Alena Smith and Simon Kinberg. Apple also has deals with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions, A24, Imagine Documentaries, Sesame Workshop and Peanuts.


  1. This was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Poor script, poor acting, poor special effects. Had to watch “Forrest Gump” immediately to forgive Tom Hanks.

    1. It was a procedural drama, get it? So was the book it came from. Get over it. I’m a VFX guy and I thought the effects were pretty darn good. You’re only aware of the fact because there’s no other way they could have achieved it. Even practical effects aren’t always 100%. My guess is you’ve never done anything near this quality in your life. Easy for the pampered & jaded peanut gallery to say.

      1. A bad movie is still a bad movie. I got over it, thanks! Still: Poor script, poor acting, poor special effects. I love my Mac and iPhone and iPad and Apple TV+. But this movie was just: Terrible.

        1. There were only two differences between the book and the movie.

          The romantic angle wasn’t in the book. The book began with the captain on the bridge and
          They used a Fredericks class destroyer instead of a Mahan class destroyer. I suspect the difference was based on how little source material there is on the latter class class of boat.

          The movie and the book were very 50s oriented and if Hanks had’ve changed the source material then he would’ve copped a bollocking. If you take the time to read the book you’ll see where people are coming from. Sure it’s not a great movie but it sure was entertaining and that’s what counts.

          I’d give a six and a half to a seven out of ten which means I’ll watch it again…and again. It really is a movie for the WWII buffs and people who want an entertaining movie and in that respect it ticks all the boxes.

        2. It’s just your isolated insipid opinion, not a broad consensus by any means. You are not the final arbiter Bunkie. The broad consensus is that it’s actually a very good film.

          Sorry it was beyond your level of understanding or appreciation. Maybe you should stick to cartoons?

  2. “Tom Hanks’ World War II procedural ‘Greyhound’ gave Apple TV Plus its first bona fide blockbuster hit. Now executives are looking to double down, insiders say, on feature films.”

    Better watch out ‘executives’ at Apple. You had your first bona fide blockbuster hit courtesy Corona Virus, closed theaters and shelter in place order by the government. A trifecta that gave you your success.

    Will it be replicated remains to be seen. Had theaters been open, AppleTV Plus would be minus a movie to show. When theaters reopen and life gets back to some normalcy where the citizenry is not a prisoner in their own home, well, that could provide problems for Apple and after they spent all that money on production costs and over inflated actor’s paychecks.

    It’s not $4.99/mo that is the draw. Sometime, people want to stay in and other times people want to go out and are willing to accept the ridiculous costs of popcorn and sodas in exchange for the huge screen experience, the sound, the camaraderie with complete fellow movie goer strangers and the fact that you are someplace else besides home.

  3. I spent 1 week watching Youtube only. That means that my “eyes on screen” time was not allocated to Netflix, Apple TV+, Prime, etc. . . . That is the fundamental problem with the business model of these services– you have to take a finite amount of people, and a finite amount of time (16 hours of human ‘awake’ time minus their work time), and get people to watch your service . . . now compare that to the DVD world, in which your company gets paid when you sell the DVD (even if the person never watches it) . . . At some point another service will come along to occupy people’s time, whether it’s Pokemon Go, online gaming, Twitch, TikTok, or some holographic or virtual reality environment that has not been created yet.

  4. It was ok. I agree with most It was no overwhelming feature film. Apple needs to get off the tire horse because many of these shows are not good at all. It’s only worth 499 a month and I question that price. And we all know Apple will be raising it to $10 or more as soon as they can. Defending Jacob with Evans the best so far.

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