This is a very different strategy than Netflix, which normally requires theaters to release films at the same time it's streaming them. This has garnered criticism from major players in the film industry, including Steven Spielberg, who claims Netflix films shouldn't be eligible for major awards such as the Oscars.
Apple might be following in Amazon's footsteps. The streamer has given some of its more prestigious films theater runs before making them available online.
Apple's first major theatrical releases will reportedly be Sofia Coppola's On the Rocks starring Rashida Jones and Bill Murray. The movie is set to debut in theaters in mid-2020, aiming for a festival premiere earlier in the year. While such releases aren't necessarily moneymakers for Apple, it certainly builds Apple TV+'s brand and could allow its movies to be contenders for major awards down the line.
This week, Apple announced it would launch a new Apple TV+ show with Oprah Winfrey.