One of the earliest and most aggressive studio responses to the COVID-19 pandemic came from Sony, who pushed most of their 2020 releases well into 2021 at the first sign of trouble. That meant viewers would have to wait until March 2021 to get their Ghostbusters and Morbius fixes, or, at the earliest, January for the next installment in the fabled Peter Rabbit franchise, but one film remained curiously undated: Aaron Schneider’s Greyhound, a war movie written and starring America’s most famous COVID-19 patient, Tom Hanks. Before all hell broke loose, it had bounced around in the schedule a bit before settling on a Father’s Day weekend release date.
Now, Deadline‘s reporting that plans for a theatrical release have been abandoned entirely by Sony, who have sold Greyhound‘s distribution rights to Apple TV+. This, well, comes as a bit of a surprise, given how anemic the launch of Apple’s streaming platform has been over the last few months. Sure, it’s no Quibi, but The Morning Show was a national punching bag for months on end, and few other series went on to garner the same sort of attention, positive or otherwise (we had such high hopes for you, For All Mankind, it’s a shame we haven’t heard anything about you in the last year).
As bad as the last few months have been for the television division, the film side of things has been nearly non-existent. Aside from Beastie Boys Story, there really isn’t much on there, given that their other big film acquisition turned out to be, well, a clusterfuck. This’ll allow Sony to offload a costly awards-contender (which, it still may be, given the Academy’s new rules regarding streaming releases), which may not have made any money in theaters anyway, and it’ll give Apple a relatively controversy-free crown jewel for their crown. And, really, this was probably the ideal fate for something like Greyhound, given the difficulty of slotting the film in a now jam-packed fall schedule.
In case you need a refresher, here’s the trailer for Greyhound, which looked like it would have been lost among the summer slate, COVID-19 or not:
And for those in places who still require you to go into the office (hello, Swedish readers!), here’s a synopsis:
“In a thrilling story inspired by actual events from the Battle of the Atlantic, Tom Hanks stars as a first-time captain who leads a convoy of allied ships carrying thousands of soldiers across the treacherous waters of the ‘Black Pit’ to the front lines of WW2. With no air cover protection for five days, the captain and his convoy must battle the surrounding enemy Nazi U-boats in order to give the allies a chance to win the war. The film is directed by Aaron Schneider from a screenplay by Hanks.“
There’s no word on when Greyhound will actually drop on Apple TV+, but we’re betting it’s probably going to be not far off from its second theatrical date, June 19. Add a pre-Father’s Day advertising blitz, and this might move a few extra iPhones and Apple TVs. One thing we do know is that this will probably piss David Lynch off to no end.