Ever since the release of The Irishman, rumors have been heating up about Martin's Scorsese's next feature, said to reunite Robert De Niro and Leonardo Dicaprio on screen. Now, It is being reported that the rights to the film, titled Killers of the Flower Moon, have been won by Apple after a fierce bidding war.
The report declares that Apple has secured streaming rights to the movie on its digital platform, but only after a theatrical release for the feature by Paramount. This is similar to the deal Scorsese made for The Irishman, which ran briefly in theaters before debuting on Netflix.
This time also, Netflix fought a close battle with Apple over the rights to Killers of the Flower Moon until it got edged out. Scorsese is a devotee of old-school theatrical releases and has spoken in the past about watching movies on digital platforms being a step down from the theater experience. Most likely the condition of a theatrical release by Paramount was a big part of Apple's strategy in convincing Martin Scorsese to partner with them.
Another significant factor was the cost, with the upcoming film projected to need a $180-$200 million budget to get made. Traditional studios had balked at paying such astronomical fees for a film this unlikely to make MCU numbers at the box office. But streaming platforms are more than happy to pay exorbitant amounts in production fees if it gets respected industry names on their platforms to legitimize their service in the eyes of audiences.
For The Irishman also, Scorsese needed a huge budget, in part for the expensive de-aging process all the actors had to undergo. Netflix offered the filmmaker a deal for the project where other studios were unwilling to pony up, and thus began Scorsese's relationship with made-for-digital-streaming projects.
Killers of the Flower Moon is based on the David Grann book Killers Of The Flower Moon: The Osage Murders And The Birth Of The FBI. The script is based on a mystery surrounding a series of murders of wealthy Osage Native Americans in Oklahoma in the early 1920s after oil deposits were discovered beneath their land. The investigation of the case is what prompted the creation of the FBI, and is considered a pivotal moment in the evolution of crime detection and conviction in America.
While Scorsese started his career with small-budget, gritty studies of characters battling inner demons while living violent lives, lately he has been focussing more on quasi-historical versions of the American dream hijacked by men with questionable characters. Gangs of New York, Wolf of Wall Street, The Irishman and The Aviator were all movies that fall within this category, and now Killers of the Flower Moon appears to the latest entry on the list.
Meanwhile, Robert De Niro has come off the recent success of The Irishman and Joker to once again work with Scorsese, where this time he will be joined by the filmmaker's other muse, Dicaprio, who gained critical and commercial success last year with Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. This news was first reported at Deadline.