Sony Motion Pictures Chairman and CEO Tom Rothman introduced a sequence from Ridley Scott’s Apple TV+ movie, Napoleon at CinemaCon tonight.
Apple’s continued foray into theatrical was a big get for Sony, which is distributing the movie.
“It will be released at Thanksgiving with a robust theatrical window and robust marketing campaign before moving to Apple TV+,” Rothman said. Unlike other studios, Sony doesn’t have a streaming service — rather considering itself an arms dealer, in their licensing of films, but also taking on being a distribution partner.
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Rothman conveyed to exhibs in Caesars Palace Colosseum theater how baffled he is that Scott still hasn’t won an Oscar for Best Director. “I know that he can do things cinematically that filmmakers half his age, can’t do,” Rothman said praising the 85-year-old filmmaker.
How’s the footage? Let’s just say it would make Barry Lyndon director Stanley Kubrick jealous. The clip shown has Joaquin Phoenix’s title character commanding the French army in a foggy, blurry wintery epic battle with the Russian and Austrian forces. Napoleon knows it’s coming; he has invited the attack. Lots of bayonets slicing and soldiers falling in the icy water. Next to other notable big battle pics like Braveheart and 1917, Napoleon stands apart.
“Let them think they have the high ground!” says the Joker Oscar winner.
“Old school, big screen,” exclaimed Rothman about the footage.
“We trust you will all give maximum support to this film,” Rothman told exhibitors, ”because the broader import is clear: Good for Apple, good for cinemas – and it’s a big-screen spectacle.
Helmed by Scott from a screenplay by David Scarpa, Napoleon stars Phoenix as the French emperor and military leader. The film is an original and personal look at Napoleon’s origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine (Vanessa Kirby). The film captures Napoleon’s famous battles, relentless ambition and astounding strategic mind as an extraordinary military leader and war visionary.
An Apple Studios production in conjunction with Scott Free Productions, Napoleon is produced by Scott, Kevin Walsh, Mark Huffam and Phoenix, with Michael Pruss and Aidan Elliott serving as executive producers.
The movie gallops into theaters during Thanksgiving Week, starting November 22.