Argylle is heading to Apple.
Apple Original Films is reportedly “nearing completion” on the acquisition of Argylle, a new spy/action film from Kingsman: The Secret Service director Matthew Vaughn which is intended to launch a new film franchise. The company is shelling out around $200 million for the project, continuing the somewhat recent trend of streamers upending the established model by paying gargantuan up-front costs to entice talent instead of rewarding them with financial bonuses based on box office performance.
Based on an upcoming spy novel from author Ellie Conway, the film is intended to be the first in at least a trilogy and follows the world’s greatest spy on a globe-trotting adventure. That sounds pretty vague, but at least it features a fantastic cast: Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) is playing the lead role, and he’ll be joined by Sam Rockwell (Jojo Rabbit), Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek), John Cena (The Suicide Squad), Samuel L. Jackson (Captain Marvel), and pop superstar Dua Lipa in her acting debut. Dua Lipa is also creating the film’s title track (big James Bond energy there), and contributing to the movie’s score.
“I’m thrilled to team with Apple and bring the most compelling spy thriller I’ve ever read to the only streaming service that can create a franchise of this scale and quality for global audiences to experience,” Vaughn said in a statement (via Deadline). He previously said this movie would “reinvent the spy genre,” which is an exceedingly bold claim, especially coming from someone whose Kingsman movies are so indebted to the spy thrillers of the past.
Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman, Ice Age: Continental Drift) wrote the screenplay and is producing alongside Adam Bohling and David Reid.
$200 Million Will Buy a Lot of Nice Suits
Apple has not been shy about spending big bucks to lure in major talent, and this project is no exception. The company has dropped more than $130 million for Antoine Fuqua’s Will Smith-led Emancipation, around that same amount for Ridley Scott’s Napoleon drama Kitbag, another reported $200 million for Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, and even a Sundance record $25 million for CODA, which hits AppleTV+ later this month.
Netflix is swimming in these expensive waters as well, dropping a staggering $400-$450 million for two new Knives Out sequels from Rian Johnson. Even Universal is getting into the mix, shelling out more than $400 million for a new Exorcist trilogy from David Gordon Green.
As the Scarlett Johansson vs. Disney lawsuit continues to play out, it’s looking more and more likely that this method of gigantic up-front payments might become the new normal – especially in a world that’s inevitably tipping more toward streaming.
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