Killers of the Flower Moon’s Streaming Release Was the Perfect Plan All Along

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Summary

  • Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by Martin Scorsese, was released in theaters to critical acclaim and a decent box office performance.
  • The film depicts the Osage murders in the 1920s and the Reign of Terror endured by the Osage people after the discovery of oil on their land.
  • The film’s length has sparked debates about bringing back intermissions, but no consensus has been reached. It will be available to stream on Apple TV+ starting on Jan. 12.


Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by Martin Scorsese, hit theaters back in October 2023 to rave reviews from critics and a respectable box office performance despite its somewhat problematic reception from indigenous communities. The film focuses on the Osage murders in the 1920s and the infamous Reign of Terror the Osage people endured after discovering oil beneath their land in Oklahoma. Amassing immense wealth essentially overnight, many faced threats from white men who sought to marry Osage women and steal their rights to the land and oil money. Scorsese’s film specifically follows Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his uncle, William Hale (Robert De Niro), as they conspire to murder Ernest’s in-laws, who are members of the Osage community, as is his wife, Mollie Burkhart (Lily Gladstone).

Clocking in at over three and a half hours, the film has been a grueling one for some viewers to tackle at a movie theater. As such, debates about bringing back the intermission have arisen in the wake of the film’s release. However, a real consensus hasn’t been reached between critics and audiences. Some theaters responded to the situation by inserting their own intermission about halfway through the film. However, they faced legal repercussions and have since ceased such actions. Given the film’s length, moviegoers are eager to know when it will be available to stream at home when pausing the film midway through doesn’t violate any agreement. Luckily, audiences will be able to watch it at will this month.


Apple’s Partnership With Paramount

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Initially slated for release exclusively on Apple TV+, the film ultimately hit the big screen thanks to Apple’s partnership with Paramount, who distributed the film across theaters worldwide. In a new hybrid model for Apple and its movies, the film was funded by Apple and billed as an original film for the company. Although Paramount distributed the film in theaters first, Apple retained the ability to stream it on its platform at least 45 days after its theatrical release.

Before the film’s current iteration, there was another version of the script that more closely followed the book and real story the film is based on, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. As a result, the new script prompted Paramount to back out of the project. However, they ultimately rejoined the venture as a theatrical distribution partner after Apple stepped in to fund the film.

Thankfully, the hybrid model of Apple’s film venture seems to be working in their favor. Given the critical and commercial success of Killer of the Flower Moon, Apple is likely to continue such partnerships with studios to distribute their films. Ridley Scott’s Napoleon hit theaters in November 2023, and Matthew Vaughn’s spy thriller Argylle is scheduled for release next month. Both have followed the same model as Scorsese’s film.

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Streaming Release Will Help Award Chances

With movies like Oppenheimer and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse returning to theaters just in time for the award season to kick into full swing, the streaming release date of Killers of the Flower Moon couldn’t come at a better time as it’s undoubtedly Oscar material. Given its proximity to the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominations on Jan. 23, Scorsese’s film stands to rake in a myriad of nominations for his critically acclaimed film. Furthermore, the accessibility of the movie at home could garner even more Oscar buzz than a second theatrical release might due to the convenience of streaming at home.

Scorsese is no stranger to Oscar nominations, and his latest film is unlikely to be an exception. Despite heavy criticism from certain indigenous communities, including Reservation Dogs stars condemning the Osage treatment in the film, the movie has managed to galvanize quite a following, both critically and commercially, which bodes well for its Oscar chances. As such, it’s all but certain Killers of the Flower Moon will nab at least a handful of Academy Award nominations.

However, whether Scorsese will walk away with a golden statue himself is less of a guarantee. Instead, the film’s performances, particularly Lily Gladstone’s portrayal of Osage member Mollie Burkhart, will most likely sway Academy voters, and rightfully so. Despite the film’s problematic point of view, the power of the film’s performances cannot be overstated, and Gladstone’s talents onscreen deserve proper recognition from the Academy.

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Killers of the Flower Moon Finally Has a Streaming Release Date

Killers of the Flower Moon will be available on Apple TV+ on Jan. 12. Given the streaming platform has exclusive rights to stream the film, viewers are unlikely to see it available anywhere else for quite some time, if ever. While it’s currently available for physical and digital purchase, streaming it for free will require an Apple TV+ subscription.

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