Apple tried to buy an existing studio to kickstart Apple TV+

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2020
Before it began commissioning individual series, and before forming its own in-house production team, Apple reportedly made several attempts to buy existing companies and studios.

Ron Howard (left) with Brian Grazer (via David Shankbone/Wikipedia)
Apple tried to buy Imagine Entertainment, the firm founded by Ron Howard (left) with Brian Grazer (via David Shankbone/Wikipedia)


Back in early 2017, AppleInsider reported on the news that Apple had seemingly been talking with multiple Hollywood companies ahead of what we now know would become Apple TV+. Those studios appeared to include Sony, Paramount, and the smaller independent firm, Imagine Entertainment, co-founded by actor/director Ron Howard. Now Bloomberg confirms the discussions and says that Imagine came close to being bought.
[Apple's Eddy] Cue pursued Imagine Entertainment, the production company led by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. The two producers, whose work includes A Beautiful Mind, Friday Night Lights, and Empire, flew to Cupertino to present Cue with a term sheet.

Tim [Cook], a Happy Days fan, made a surprise appearance to see Howard, who played Richie Cunningham on the 1970s sitcom. But Grazer and Howard eventually bailed after deciding they didn't want to be employees of a large company, according to people familiar with the negotiation.
According to Bloomberg, it was only after the deal with Imagine Entertainment fell apart, that Apple hired Sony's Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht later in 2017.

It was these two who offered executive producers Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon a deal to make "The Morning Show." Through Van Amburg and Erlicht, Apple offered not only a $250 million budget including $1 million per episode for both Aniston and Witherspoon, but a commitment to make two seasons without first shooting a pilot.

Then the same pair commissioned Ronald D Moore to make "For All Mankind."






According to Bloomberg, unnamed executives working across Apple TV+ shows have complained about how Van Amburg and Erlicht use Apple-style codenames and require nondisclosure agreements.

The melding of Apple and television has therefore not always gone smoothly, and Bloomberg quotes Van Amburg and Erlicht as acknowledging this.
At Apple's first Hollywood premiere, in October, Van Amburg and Erlicht addressed the sense of whiplash head-on. "Zack and I knew how to create a premium, high-quality, great show," Erlicht said.

"What, in retrospect, we didn't know how to do was create from scratch a premium service at Apple."
While Apple failed to buy Imagine Entertainment, it has since signed a first-look deal with the company to see its documentary projects.

Apple TV+ launches on November 1.
15ngcs1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Seems like Sony Pictures would still be a good takeover target. Other than Spider-man Into The Spiderverse, they've had a very rough decade.
    15ngcs1
  • Reply 2 of 18
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,685member
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    edited October 2019 redraider11razorpitlkruppmobird
  • Reply 3 of 18
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,602member
    Seems like Sony Pictures would still be a good takeover target. Other than Spider-man Into The Spiderverse, they've had a very rough decade.
    Then why buy it?   Apple doesn't need a studio because most studios are nothing more than finance managers (ok, and distribution companies, but Apple, like most of the streaming services, doesn't really care about theatrical or physical distribution, except as it applies to being eligible for awards).   Look at the credits for any film of recent years.  There are usually multiple production companies involved.  Some actually do production - the rest are simply providing financing because Hollywood studios no longer want to take the total risk themselves.    Apple doesn't need a studio - what it needs are creative and successful production entities.

    Now if Apple wanted a studio for its library, that's another matter, but Sony pictures doesn't have that big a library.  Since 1960, Sony (including both Columbia and Tri-Star) only has about 1400 films in the library and many of those were theatrical distribution deals and/or co-pros in which they don't have full rights.  8 of the 12 Columbia pictures in 2018 were co-pros.  

    And who says Sony is willing to sell?   I think Viacom might be more willing to sell Paramount, but maybe with CBS and Viacom re-merging, maybe not.  

    >>Through Van Amburg and Erlicht, Apple offered not only a $250 million budget ...

    A $250 million budget for what???  That doesn't sound right.   That's the budget for a super-hero movie, not a budget for a TV show on a streaming service. 


    lolliver
  • Reply 4 of 18
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    AMC would be my favorite aquihire 
  • Reply 5 of 18
    @zoetmb That $250 million number isn't so out place when viewed in proper context.  If The Morning Show has a 10 episode season, that puts the budget for each episode at $12.5 million.  Considering the two stars' salaries, it's not an unheard of figure. Spread it over the two years of the contract and there's your $250 million.  Trying to compare it to the budget for a single tentpole movie really doesn't make sense.  If the contract info is accurate, that number is not out of the ordinary.
  • Reply 6 of 18
    zoetmb said:
    Seems like Sony Pictures would still be a good takeover target. Other than Spider-man Into The Spiderverse, they've had a very rough decade.
    Then why buy it?   Apple doesn't need a studio because most studios are nothing more than finance managers (ok, and distribution companies, but Apple, like most of the streaming services, doesn't really care about theatrical or physical distribution, except as it applies to being eligible for awards).   Look at the credits for any film of recent years.  There are usually multiple production companies involved.  Some actually do production - the rest are simply providing financing because Hollywood studios no longer want to take the total risk themselves.    Apple doesn't need a studio - what it needs are creative and successful production entities.

    Now if Apple wanted a studio for its library, that's another matter, but Sony pictures doesn't have that big a library.  Since 1960, Sony (including both Columbia and Tri-Star) only has about 1400 films in the library and many of those were theatrical distribution deals and/or co-pros in which they don't have full rights.  8 of the 12 Columbia pictures in 2018 were co-pros.  

    And who says Sony is willing to sell?   I think Viacom might be more willing to sell Paramount, but maybe with CBS and Viacom re-merging, maybe not.  

    >>Through Van Amburg and Erlicht, Apple offered not only a $250 million budget ...

    A $250 million budget for what???  That doesn't sound right.   That's the budget for a super-hero movie, not a budget for a TV show on a streaming service. 


    They’d buy Sony for the distribution, production facilities and their vast library of content. They could fire all of the upper management.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,805unconfirmed, member
    zoetmb said:
    Seems like Sony Pictures would still be a good takeover target. Other than Spider-man Into The Spiderverse, they've had a very rough decade.
    Then why buy it?   Apple doesn't need a studio because most studios are nothing more than finance managers (ok, and distribution companies, but Apple, like most of the streaming services, doesn't really care about theatrical or physical distribution, except as it applies to being eligible for awards).   Look at the credits for any film of recent years.  There are usually multiple production companies involved.  Some actually do production - the rest are simply providing financing because Hollywood studios no longer want to take the total risk themselves.    Apple doesn't need a studio - what it needs are creative and successful production entities.

    Now if Apple wanted a studio for its library, that's another matter, but Sony pictures doesn't have that big a library.  Since 1960, Sony (including both Columbia and Tri-Star) only has about 1400 films in the library and many of those were theatrical distribution deals and/or co-pros in which they don't have full rights.  8 of the 12 Columbia pictures in 2018 were co-pros.  

    And who says Sony is willing to sell?   I think Viacom might be more willing to sell Paramount, but maybe with CBS and Viacom re-merging, maybe not.  

    >>Through Van Amburg and Erlicht, Apple offered not only a $250 million budget ...

    A $250 million budget for what???  That doesn't sound right.   That's the budget for a super-hero movie, not a budget for a TV show on a streaming service. 



    I mean a great movie can have a 5 million dollar budget and a crappy TV Show can have a 100 million budget.

    "not a budget for a TV show on a streaming service. "

    Why are you holding Apple to such low standards? The fact they paid 250M and have the money proves the exact opposite. Apple isn't thinking their content should be crap because it's "
    a TV show on a streaming service."
  • Reply 8 of 18
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,836member
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    Good grief, you’re so hung up on this. It’s not an “ideological agenda” — it’s SCIENCE FICTION. Emphasis on the fiction. We can have both. 
    AppleExposedCloudTalkinlolliverPickUrPoison
  • Reply 9 of 18
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    Good grief, you’re so hung up on this. It’s not an “ideological agenda” — it’s SCIENCE FICTION. Emphasis on the fiction. We can have both. 
    Bud, you're wasting your time.  Dude sees aGeNDa in darn near everything that isn't jingoistically 'Murica.  Never mind the fact that there are literally hundreds of books and movies with alternative history as the subject matter.  You're better off just letting my man yell at his clouds.  
    fastasleep
  • Reply 10 of 18
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    Good grief, you’re so hung up on this. It’s not an “ideological agenda” — it’s SCIENCE FICTION. Emphasis on the fiction. We can have both. 
    Bud, you're wasting your time.  Dude sees aGeNDa in darn near everything that isn't jingoistically 'Murica.  Never mind the fact that there are literally hundreds of books and movies with alternative history as the subject matter.  You're better off just letting my man yell at his clouds.  
    I have literally had this in my mind while replying to this user before:


    edited October 2019 CloudTalkinroundaboutnowPickUrPoison
  • Reply 11 of 18
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    Thankfully Howard and Grazer said no way!  They don't want Apple's forced agenda on any of their creative ideas.  Apple has already forced their agenda on the programming...no violence in the form of vengeance, family friendly only, nothing bad about technology, and nothing bad about China.  
  • Reply 12 of 18
    Well, Bloomberg gotta shit on Apple somehow. What’s new?
  • Reply 13 of 18
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    Thankfully Howard and Grazer said no way!  They don't want Apple's forced agenda on any of their creative ideas.  Apple has already forced their agenda on the programming...no violence in the form of vengeance, family friendly only, nothing bad about technology, and nothing bad about China.  
    Are you sure about the programming.  ATV+ is debuting with 15 shows.  1 is TV-R (restricted), 5 are TV-MA (mature audience), 4 are TV-14, 1 is TV-Y, 1 is TV-PG, 2 are TV-G, and 1 is unrated.  Seems like a mix to me.  The sentiment you're quoting was a 2nd hand rumor, but you're quoting it as if it was fact.  

    You're also wrong about Howard and Grazer:  "While Apple failed to buy Imagine Entertainment, it has since signed a first-look deal with the company to see its documentary projects."  
    matrix077 said:
    Well, Bloomberg gotta shit on Apple somehow. What’s new?
    How does this article crap on Apple?  There's literally nothing in it negative about Apple. 
  • Reply 14 of 18
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,685member
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    Good grief, you’re so hung up on this. It’s not an “ideological agenda” — it’s SCIENCE FICTION. Emphasis on the fiction. We can have both. 
    From what I have seen of the trailers it is loaded with ideological agendas == basically rewriting history to adhere to some of today's most prominent agendas.   That isn't science fiction.  That's editorializing.

    Even if it was "science fiction" -- which I tend to love by the way -- in this case, fiction can never match the reality, only detract from it.
    edited October 2019
  • Reply 15 of 18
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,836member
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    Good grief, you’re so hung up on this. It’s not an “ideological agenda” — it’s SCIENCE FICTION. Emphasis on the fiction. We can have both. 
    From what I have seen of the trailers it is loaded with ideological agendas == basically rewriting history to adhere to some of today's most prominent agendas.   That isn't science fiction.  That's editorializing.

    Even if it was "science fiction" -- which I tend to love by the way -- in this case, fiction can never match the reality, only detract from it.
    I bet you’re fun at parties. 
  • Reply 16 of 18
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,685member
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    Good grief, you’re so hung up on this. It’s not an “ideological agenda” — it’s SCIENCE FICTION. Emphasis on the fiction. We can have both. 
    From what I have seen of the trailers it is loaded with ideological agendas == basically rewriting history to adhere to some of today's most prominent agendas.   That isn't science fiction.  That's editorializing.

    Even if it was "science fiction" -- which I tend to love by the way -- in this case, fiction can never match the reality, only detract from it.
    I bet you’re fun at parties. 
    So all you can do is try to insult people?   Does it make you feel better about yourself?
  • Reply 17 of 18
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,836member
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    Good grief, you’re so hung up on this. It’s not an “ideological agenda” — it’s SCIENCE FICTION. Emphasis on the fiction. We can have both. 
    From what I have seen of the trailers it is loaded with ideological agendas == basically rewriting history to adhere to some of today's most prominent agendas.   That isn't science fiction.  That's editorializing.

    Even if it was "science fiction" -- which I tend to love by the way -- in this case, fiction can never match the reality, only detract from it.
    I bet you’re fun at parties. 
    So all you can do is try to insult people?   Does it make you feel better about yourself?
    No, all I can do is try to fight the FUD and disinformation peddled on the internet, as infinite as that seems these days. You haven’t even seen this show and are being ridiculous, in my humble opinion. You’re allowed to say your piece and so am I. I also take it fairly lightheartedly, as these are not life or death matters. Do what you like. 
  • Reply 18 of 18
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,685member
    Too bad they weren't able to reel in Ron Howard.   He seldom misses.  Ironically, he was the Director of "Apollo 13" which accurately portrayed the magnificence of the Apollo program -- where as Apple had to settle for the fake version twisting reality to serve some ideological agenda.   (Or maybe that's why he turned them down!)
    Good grief, you’re so hung up on this. It’s not an “ideological agenda” — it’s SCIENCE FICTION. Emphasis on the fiction. We can have both. 
    From what I have seen of the trailers it is loaded with ideological agendas == basically rewriting history to adhere to some of today's most prominent agendas.   That isn't science fiction.  That's editorializing.

    Even if it was "science fiction" -- which I tend to love by the way -- in this case, fiction can never match the reality, only detract from it.
    I bet you’re fun at parties. 
    So all you can do is try to insult people?   Does it make you feel better about yourself?
    No, all I can do is try to fight the FUD and disinformation peddled on the internet, as infinite as that seems these days. You haven’t even seen this show and are being ridiculous, in my humble opinion. You’re allowed to say your piece and so am I. I also take it fairly lightheartedly, as these are not life or death matters. Do what you like. 
    So "FUD and disinformation" is whatever you does not support your limited view of the world?   And that entitles you to attack and insult others -- until you get called out?  Got it!
    edited October 2019
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