With Apple TV+ megadeal, Skydance’s David Ellison scores one of Hollywood’s richest deals

The Apple TV+ megadeal between Apple Studios and David Ellison’s Skydance Media proves that Apple is willing to spend huge amounts of money to build a global tentpole movie business.

Apple TV+

Matt Donnelly and Brent Lang for Variety:

Nearly a month after it was announced that Apple had landed a slate of live action films from longtime Paramount Pictures partner Skydance, producer of the mega-franchise “Mission: Impossible” and the upcoming sequel to “Top Gun,” the town is still abuzz about what a lucrative and rarified deal Skydance carved out for itself.

The agreement closely resembles a “put deal,” according to sources, an increasingly rare Hollywood arrangement wherein a distributor is obligated to release movies its partner chooses.

Under the terms of the pact, Skydance is guaranteed at least two fully-financed feature films per year with budgets up to roughly $125 million, numerous insiders close to the situation said. Skydance is also guaranteed a payout of up to $25 million per picture, depending on certain budget thresholds. That money compensates Skydance for the backend profits it theoretically would have reaped if the film were a conventional box office success. The movies that Skydance releases for Apple are not guaranteed theatrical runs.

In 2021, Apple and Skydance Animation announced that they would embark on a series of animated films together, a sign of their deepening relationship.

Still, the financial details of the pact with Skydance’s feature film arm surprised some industry observers because Ellison, the son of billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison, does not have to capitalize his own movies.

MacDailyNews Take: Skylake’s Head of Animation is none other than John Lasseter. This huge “put deal” between Apple and Skydance will yield benefits for Apple TV+ for many, many years to come.

Of course, this deal makes further sense since Larry Ellison was a close friend to Steve Jobs.

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