Tom Hanks WWII Film 'Greyhound' to Premiere on Apple TV+

Apple buys older shows for TV+, stepping up Netflix challenge

In what is probably the biggest move caused by the coronavirus, Tom Hanks' World War II film Greyhound is now skipping theaters entirely and going directly to digital.

The tech giant initially has only released Apple original TV shows and movies since it launched, but the streaming service is reportedly in talks with Hollywood executives about licensing older content, Bloomberg reported.

"In a real shocker, the WWII battleship drama Greyhound that Tom Hanks wrote and stars in has abruptly changed course and will berth at Apple".

Movies that were previously earmarked for theatrical release have opted for mostly video-on-demand options since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of cinemas worldwide. A bidding war for the film ensued with Apple TV+ winning, and the reported price tag for the picture is around $70 million.

Apple buys older shows for TV+, stepping up Netflix challenge

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO have a range of older and original content; all three services have been increasing their annual spending on original content every year.

This year, Apple TV Plus has debuted a number of big original shows. According to Bloomberg, Apple is now actively seeking to acquire a back catalog of third-party content for the service so it can better compete with existing heavyweights like Netflix and newcomer Disney Plus. If Greyhound performs well, perhaps we'll see other feature films get placed on the streamer soon. Apple TV+ also has a limited app offering, with nothing for Android / Android TV, Windows 10, and gaming consoles. This marks Hanks' first screenplay credit since his mostly forgotten 2011 directorial effort Larry Crowne. Elisabeth Shue, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Stephen Graham, and Rob Morgan costar.

The only thing more unsafe than the front lines was the fight to get there.

Set in 1942 and inspired by actual events, Greyhound tells the story of a Navy captain who commands an armada of 37 ships to fight the Nazis.