After months of ironing out budget concerns over Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” adaptation, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Paramount has enlisted Apple to get the film over the hump.
Sources tell Variety that Paramount will still distribute the murder mystery drama, with Apple coming on to finance the pic and also serve as the film’s creative studio. Deals still have not closed, but sources add that they’re very likely to in the coming days.
Imperative Entertainment, whose partners Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas acquired the book in 2016, will produce the film. Imperative first bought the book and would later bring on Scorsese and DiCaprio to reteam on the project before bringing it to Paramount.
Based on David Grann’s non-fiction book, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is set in 1920s Oklahoma, where the newly created Bureau of Investigation began investigating a string of murders of wealthy Osage Indians who had been granted revenue rights to oil discovered under their lands. The book carries the subtitle “The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F.B.I.”
For months, the studio and producers had been back and forth on the film’s budget, which those close to the project said ranged between $180 million and $200 million, leading to rumblings about whether the movie would stay at Paramount, move to another studio or go to a streamer like Netflix, which just produced Scorsese’s “The Irishman.”
While there was a time when a move to a streamer was in play, sources close to the director say that, while he was willing for “The Irishman” to appear on a streaming platform, he always envisioned that “Killers of the Flower Moon” would be a theatrical release, with his reps pushing that it stay that way.
Though deals are expected to close for all parties, a production start date is still up in the air, especially when it comes to DiCaprio’s schedule. While the studio and producers were figuring out what would happen with “Killers of the Flower Moon,” sources say the Oscar winner was looking at a number of projects to do before it, including Adam McKay’s next film for Netflix. That movie also stars Jennifer Lawrence, and could possibly go into production before “Killers of the Flower Moon” if DiCaprio were to sign on.
This marks another major move into the film world for Apple after it acquired the rights to the Tom Hanks pic “Greyhound” from Sony for $70 million. It previously co-produced “On the Rocks” with A24, which stars Bill Murray with Sofia Coppola directing.
It marks the sixth collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorsese, who last teamed on 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Deadline first reported the news.