Martin Scorsese scorns Netflix with 'first look' movie deal for Apple TV Plus

The poster for Netflix's The Irishman (2019)
The poster for Netflix's The Irishman (2019) (Image credit: Netflix)

The Irishman director Martin Scorsese has signed a massive new deal with Apple TV Plus, as the relatively new Apple streaming service continues to add the work of prestigious creatives to its lineup.

The new 'first look' deal will grant Apple the the right of first refusal over new scripts and projects being worked on by Scorsese's Sikelia Productions company. That makes it highly likely we're going to see some Scorsese movies or TV shows coming to Apple TV Plus in the coming years.

With a discography spanning The Departed, Goodfellas, The Aviator, and Shutter Island, Scorsese is a smart name to have affiliated with your streaming service, and gives us hope that Apple TV Plus may start putting out grittier programming than what it has so far.

Apples and Netflixes

Back in May 2020, we first heard about Scorsese directing Killers of the Flower Moon, – which will star Leonardo DiCaprio – for the Apple streaming service. The film's budget is rumored to cost upwards of $180 million, even more than The Irishman's $159 million – which was already Netflix's most expensive film to date.

The deal with Apple TV Plus is surprising in some ways, given the splash that Scorsese made at Netflix with The Irishman – but it may be that Apple has more cash to burn on a single director.

Apple TV Plus was let down at launch by a meagre lineup, a fudged integration with the Apple TV app, and a lack of clarity over who the service was really aimed at. But it's becoming increasingly clear that Apple wants to become a home for big-name, prestige programming – with the likes of Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey all signing on in some capacity – and it has the money to make that happen.

With Apple TV Plus coming free for a year for new iPhone or Macbook buyers, too, there's potential for it to really grow its user base – as Amazon did by bundling in its TV streaming service with Prime.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.