The theatrical movie business has been slow to recover to pre-2020 pandemic levels. The 2022 year witnessed total U.S. box-office spending of $7.4 billion, down 35% from the $11.4 billion in 2019, according to IMDb Box Office Mojo.
Apple representatives did not respond to Media Daily News inquiries by press time.
Analysts surmised that to an extent, Apple is following in the footsteps of a move made by Amazon with its own $1 billion effort to make and distribute movies in theaters -- amounting to 12 to 15 movies a year, beginning this year.
Amazon closed its deal to acquire MGM Studios for $8.45 billion in March 2022.
This comes as Apple is amping up its efforts in entertainment production and distribution -- with an increasing focus on its three-and-a-half-year-old, direct-to-consumer (D2C) connected TV service, Apple TV+, where original movies regularly stream.
Apple was the first digital-first media company to claim top prize at the Academy Awards a year ago, when its original movie “CODA” won Best Picture honors for 2022. The movie ran in theaters but was also heavily featured on its Apple TV+ streaming platform service.
News of Apple’s possible entry in the business spurred lackluster theater chain stocks on Thursday. AMC Entertainment was up 3% to $4.47, while Cinemark Holdings grew 6% to $13.24 and Imax Corp. improved 2% to $17.99.