Apple TV Plus turns more like Netflix – and that makes it much better value

TV remote control is seen with Apple TV+ logo displayed on a screen
(Image credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Apple TV Plus has quietly rolled out an expansion of its library of films in the US, with the streaming service adding a number of licensed movies not owned by the company, for the first time.

In what appears to be an experimental move, the service is currently offering a number of older movies to watch for free to subscribers, including big hits such as Anchorman along with entire Hunger Games series.

The films in question appear as suggested bonus content when browsing Spirited, Mythic Quest, and Causeway – Apple TV Plus’s three most recent major releases that are exclusive to the platform.

For example, when users land on the page for the new Christmas comedy musical Spirited, they’re also presented with options for also watching a handful of other films that also star either Will Ferrell or Ryan Reynolds including Semi-Pro, Old School and Van Wilder.

Browsing the action flick Echo 3 meanwhile provides options to also watch a selection of international thrillers including Argo, Syriana and Man on Fire.

A total of 20 films have landed on the service, with the Jennifer Lawrence hit Silver Linings Playbook, Kevin Smith’s Clerks and the Coen Brothers' classic The Hudsucker Proxy also among the movies available to watch for free for Apple TV Plus subscribers until November 30.

The movies are currently only being offered to subscribers using Apple TV Plus in the US, with the company currently tight lipped on whether more classic films will be added and if other regions will also receive a similar library expansion.

Hunger Games

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Analysis: A small, but potentially significant library boost

From whip smart satire Severance to the superb ensemble cast comedy Bad Sisters, one look at our best Apple TV Plus shows list should convince many a critic that its  well-considered curation makes it arguably the most consistent streaming service for exclusive content.

It’s on something of a roll right now with the addition of the likes of seasonal musical Spirited and the imminent return the much-loved spy thriller Slow Horses, but the service’s most common criticism still remains - its library remains somewhat light, particularly in comparison to rivals like Netflix and Disney Plus.

As things currently stand, the average viewer could work their way through the best that Apple TV Plus has to offer within a few months.

With a recent price increase likely to see many users weighing up whether to retain their subscription, this quiet move to bolster its content offering is a timely one and one we hope is eventually expanded further.

These movies are only available to watch for a limited time, but if it's popular, it'd be great to have a revolving library of extra movies coming to Apple TV Plus in the future, and would really boost the overall value. The fact that Apple is choosing a set of movies is kind of nice too – it feels curated rather than the big mass of movies you have to wade through in Netflix or Prime Video. Granted, not all the movies featured so far are five-star masterpieces, but still.

If you're looking for Black Friday streaming service deals, you should take a look at the excellent offer from Hulu available now, and another bargain from HBO Max.

Kevin Lynch

Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. The author of Steve Jobs: A Biographic Portrait, Kevin is a regular feature writer for a number of tech sites and the former Technology Editor for the Daily Mirror. He has also served as editor of and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards. Alongside reviewing the latest AV gear, smartphones and computers, Kevin also specialises in music tech and can often be found putting the latest DAWs, MIDI controllers and guitar modellers through their paces. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, Kevin is also a lifelong West Ham fan for his troubles.