Apple buys ‘Cherry’ from ‘Avengers: Endgame’ directors

Apple has purchased “Cherry,” the first film directed by the Russo brothers since their all-time record grossing “Avengers: Endgame,” in a major deal expected to boost the new streaming service’s Oscar hopes.

The opioid crisis drama from Anthony and Joe Russo, starring “Spider-Man” actor Tom Holland, will debut on Apple TV+ early next year. It is also expected to have a limited run in theaters.

Based on Nico Walker’s semi-autobiographical novel, “Cherry” follows a former Army medic who falls into addiction and crime after returning from Iraq with extreme undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Apple purchased the completed film from the Russos’ production company in a deal reportedly worth more than $40 million. Neither party has publicly confirmed that figure.

Speaking at last year’s Comic-Con fan convention, the filmmaking brothers described the project as a “mature” and “complicated” look at the US opioid crisis set in their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

“It’s touched our families, the crisis, so it’s a deeply personal movie for us,” said Anthony at the time.

“Joe and I are now in a position now where we can get those movies made, and we want to use that sort of capital that we built up,” he added.

The brothers directed four Marvel superhero movies, three of which grossed more than $1 billion. Their fourth, “Avengers: Endgame,” last year surpassed “Avatar” to seize the all-time box office record of $2.798 billion.

The deal puts Apple TV+, which launched last November, in the race for an unusual awards season.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen major productions delayed, and theatrical releases postponed by a year or more, potentially benefiting streaming platforms.

Hollywood’s motion picture academy pushed back the Oscars by two months to allow more films to compete.

It eased some eligibility rules, allowing movies that skip the big screen and appear on streaming platforms to contend this time around. (AFP)