Last year’s The Irishman was a particular notable entry in director Martin Scorsese’s filmography, as not only did he use digital effects to de-age his main actors, but it was also the first of his cinematic endeavors to be sent straight to streaming, with Netflix releasing the crime film. Now Scorsese is headed back to the world of streaming, as Apple TV+ has picked up his latest collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon.
It had previously been reported that Killers of the Flower Moon’s budget ballooned to the tune of more than $200 million. That on its own would have been a good enough reason for why Paramount Pictures started having second thoughts and struck up a deal with Apple TV+, as budgetary issues also played a role in Netflix obtaining The Irishman from Paramount. However, now there’s word that plot-related issues also factored into the shift.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio decided to revise Killers of the Flower Moon’s script, and instead of playing “the good guy working for the then-nascent FBI,” DiCaprio would instead play the nephew of Robert De Niro’s villain character who is “torn between love and the evil machinations of his uncle.” A source who spoke with the outlet said that Paramount felt this change turned the movie into “a moody and less commercial character study.”
That said, while pouring so much money into this altered Killers of the Flower Moon didn’t seem like a good idea to the Paramount executive team, evidently those individuals were still not keen on letting the movie completely go, with an insider saying, “We’re not making it, but we’re not not making it.”
To that end, Paramount Pictures is still helping out on Killers of the Flower Moon. While The Irishman had a limited theatrical release, the plan is for this latest Scorsese/DiCaprio flick to play in theaters worldwide on a bigger scale, in addition to being subsequently shared on the Apple streaming platform. Paramount will distribute Killers of the Flower Moon for its theatrical run, cover the marketing costs and earn a distribution fee based on the box office performance. Paramount’s involvement was described as being “super low-risk,” yet having “no upside.”
As for Apple, it’s covering Killers of the Flower Moon’s gigantic budget, and the tradeoff is that it will be the lead “creative studio” behind the project. Apple will also cover any costs with developing the movie, as well as ensure that Paramount gets the money it spent on marketing back either from its box office share or making up any shortfall.
Killers of the Flower Moon is based off the same-named book (full title: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI) by David Grann, which chronicled the murders of wealthy Osage people in the early 1920s after oil deposits were found under their land. The then-newly formed Federal Bureau of Investigation looked into these horrific killings.
Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates on how the Killers of the Flower Moon film adaptation is coming along. You can keep track of what’s supposed to arrive in theaters later this year with our 2020 release schedule.