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This week has been a huge one for the media and entertainment industries with seismic shifts that will reverberate through the landscape for years to come. The completion of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner and the subsequent bid by Comcast to snatch the 21st Century Fox rights from Disney all reflect an industry that is in a state of consolidation as everyone wants to have their own content and as much of it as possible. Now, as if enough hasn't happened this week, it seems that Apple may be getting in on the game and reportedly wants to make its own feature films.
It is reported that Apple could be nearing a deal for the rights to an animated movie from the Ireland-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon. For those unfamiliar with Cartoon Saloon's work, the studio has multiple Oscar nominations to its name for its films The Breadwinner, Song of the Sea, and The Secret of Kells. According to Bloomberg, the deal between Apple and the studio would be for an animated film that has yet to be made and is still over a year from release, but if it goes through, Apple would win the distribution rights for the title in the U.S. and in some other countries as well. It is also possible that this wouldn't be a one-off and other potential movies could also be in the works.
Nothing has been confirmed as of yet, so this is still speculation at this point, but if such a deal closes, the real question becomes: What is Apple's distribution strategy? Once it has the rights to this title, will Apple release it theatrically, so as to qualify for Oscars (as Cartoon Saloon has proven pretty good at), or will Apple release it through its own distribution channels? Apple has been getting into the original content game for a little bit now, with documentaries and TV shows that may start hitting in 2019, but this animated film would be the company's first movie. But whether Apple will release these titles through iTunes as a one-time rental or purchase or through some sort of new streaming service platform that would feature prominently on iPhones, Apple TVs and other Apple devices is an open and interesting related concern.
Seemingly everyone wants to get in on the content game these days and this is a natural next step for Apple. If the company wants to make a big splash with a movie, going with an animated film with broad appeal and from an acclaimed studio is a smart play to announce Apple as a force in original content. Apple is putting a lot of money into its original programming and is going after high-profile properties and creators. There was even a report earlier this year that Apple might try and buy Netflix.
Apple may be new to the movie-making game, but its entry into the space in this way is a huge deal. The company has the cash on hand and the infrastructure to immediately become a shark in this pond regardless of what tack it takes with regard to distribution. This is just the latest in a series of intriguing and major developments in the industry that will shake out in the years to come along with the Disney streaming service, the AT&T-Time Warner merger and the battle for the Fox rights. The war for your attention and your money has become a battle of heavyweights and a new contender just entered the ring.
We'll keep you updated this potential deal develops and for all the latest movie and industry news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.