Apple is willing to make what sound like big financial risks with its movies, as a report suggests that Ridley Scott’s Napoleon and Matthew Vaughn’s Aryglle cost the tech giant $200m a piece.
It’s been known for some time that tech giant Apple gave Martin Scorsese a highly generous budget of $200m to bring his period crime drama Killers Of The Flower Moon to the screen.
Tucked away in a Variety story (as spotted by World of Reel) about the financial prospects of Scorsese’s latest movie, however, is a potentially fascinating detail. It reports that Apple Studios spent the same sum – $200m – on bankrolling director Ridley Scott’s period epic, Napoleon, out this month. That revelation is followed up by a second: Matthew Vaughn’s knock-about spy caper, Argylle, due out in 2024, also cost $200m.
The reported $200m spend on Napoleon is an intriguing one, since it’s far higher than the $130m figure put out by Deadline in a box office report only a few days ago. But then again, Napoleon is a sweeping film featuring hundreds of extras recreating famous battles, directed by a filmmaker who likes nothing more than to give his work a sense of scale. If nothing else, the usual cliche about the money being up there on the screen will apply.
What’s more surprising is that a film like Argylle, a fun if somewhat ephemeral-looking comedy-thriller cost the same amount as prestige films Napoleon and Killers Of The Flower Moon. Maybe there are some far more expensive and spectacular Mission: Impossible-style stunts in the film than were given away in the trailers so far. Or maybe it cost a phenomenal amount of money to get Dua Lipa to co-star.
At any rate, these astronomical sums certainly prove that Apple is willing to take risks when it comes to backing major film projects – far more so than ‘traditional’ Hollywood studios likely would. Killers Of The Flower Moon’s current box office trajectory means it’s unlikely to break even in cinemas, but it’s the kind of movie that Apple no doubt hopes will attract subscribers to its streaming service.
Besides, as Stephen Galloway of Chapman University says to Variety, $200m isn’t necessarily a massive amount of money for a company that makes about a billion dollars a day in profits. Galloway does, however, make an important point about Apple’s reputation. “Apple making a $200 million movie is like you buying a cup of coffee and spilling it,” Galloway said. “But it’s not making their brand look good if films underperform at the box office.”
Napoleon is out in UK cinemas on 22nd November. Argylle is out on 2nd February 2024.