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The historic deal between Apple, Brad Pitt, Lewis Hamilton and Joseph Kosinski for an F1 film

The studio is willing to shell out the big bucks to make it an event both in theaters and on streaming.

We learned last December that Brad Pitt was going to team up with the Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton and the director Joseph Kosinski pour F1 movie. All three will be the producers, and Brad Pitt will play a retired driver forming a future champion in this blockbuster wanting to depict the course of the races as closely as possible. This project was purchased by the studio in “package” with another worn by the same actor: a thriller directed by Jon Watts where Brad Pitt would find his friend from Ocean’sGeorge Clooney.

Building on the success of Top Gun : Maverick (which is already Tom Cruise’s biggest hit at the box office and could reach a billion dollars in revenue), the director will find several collaborators for the occasion: his screenwriter Ehren Kruger and his producers Chad Oman and Jerry Bruckheimer. And as for Top Gun 2the action scenes of this other project should also be filmed as much as possible “in truth”. On the other hand, the team will not find the Paramount, this time…

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It is indeed Apple who won the auction to produce and distribute this film for the moment untitled. This deal was also announced at the end of 2021, and The Hollywood Reporter today reveals behind the scenes of the signing of this unprecedented contract in Hollywood. “Before signing, the people behind this project had a kind of ‘Sophie’s choice’ to make, writes the famous American magazine. Trying to make it a streaming event or pushing for a cinema release? But the CAA, which represents Pitt, Kosinski and Bruckheimer, offered another answer: Why not both? This film on F1 should thus first be offered exclusively on the big screen, in a window ranging from 30 to 60 days. The article specifies that it will indeed be a global release, i.e. around 4000 American theaters, and in parallel in other countries of the world. Then, it may be offered on Apple TV+ (not in France, however, the media chronology imposing a longer broadcast window between a theatrical release and on a platform and/or on VOD). THR adds that Apple could team up with a partner to help with the overall distribution of the film, perhaps Warner Bros., whose boss Michael De Luca was competing with the studio for the rights to this film. Nothing official yet, but it should be announced before it goes into filming.

This exit strategy is unprecedented for Apple at this level. The firm has already offered works exclusively in cinemas in the United States, then on its streaming platform, such as the animated film The Wolf Peoplefor 30 days, or MacBeth by Joel Coen, offered only on the big screen for 21 days before being visible by subscription. These were smaller outings than this F1 project, however. Here, we are talking about a deal around 150 million dollars. 40 to 50 million greenbacks should go directly to its star, Brad Pitt, via his contract as an actor, but also as a producer thanks to his company Plan B, which is investing in this project. The exact sum will only be known once the feature film is released, since the star’s contract stipulates a starting salary, plus bonuses on receipts. These should also be shared half by Apple and half by the creators of the film, which makes it a unique deal in Hollywood, where the studio usually retains most of the earnings.

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THR finally explains that Apple is counting on the growing success of F1 to turn this project into a success. “It’s a sexy sport, which is gaining in popularity and which portrays an enviable lifestyle”considers the article, which adds that like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt is “renowned all over the world.” The active participation of Lewis Hamilton should also intrigue the public, the pilot being a producer and consultant of the project. Perhaps it will also appear on the screen? In any case, the director met him thanks to Tom Cruise, once again through their common experience on Top Gun : Maverick. The actor attended a race in the 2021 season, which marked the opportunity to introduce him to the filmmaker who, like him, is passionate about speed sports (planes, motorcycles, racing cars, etc.). After having been able to film scenes on board fighter planes, he would now like to embark his cameras in Formula 1 racing cars to transport spectators behind the wheel and make them feel the sensations of a race as well as possible.

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