Nearly two decades after Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg brought their first World War II-inspired limited series, Band of Brothers (2001), to HBO, they’re gearing up for a third installment, a decade after their second effort, The Pacific (2010). This time, however, the pair isn’t heading back to HBO but, instead, to Apple TV+. The next collaboration between the pair, Masters of the Air, will draw heavily upon Donald L. Miller’s book, Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany, and the show should certainly boost interest in Apple TV+ (where it will stream exclusively) and make the streaming wars even more competitive.
Masters of the Air will be co-produced by Spielberg’s Amblin Television along with Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone, but Spielberg’s involvement is key, given that he showed himself to be an outspoken critic of Netflix around the time that Roma gathered Oscars buzz. Well, Spielberg then aligned himself with Apple TV+, and the rest is literal history. From Deadline:
The book tells the story of the American bomber boys in WWII who brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep. It becomes the first series greenlit with Apple serving as the studio as the company is joining major streamers like Netflix and Amazon, which also produce and own content. Deadline hears that the miniseries will be more than eight hours in length, and that it will cost well north of $200 million to produce.
$200+ million sounds exorbitant to produce a limited series, and Apple’s making a hefty investment here, along with dropping $15 million per episode on the Jason Momoa-starring See and $60 million to hire Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell for a musical A Christmas Carol remake. That’s in addition to an unknown amount for high profile titles like The Morning Show (with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell) and Dickenson (starring Hailee Steinfeld). The tech giant has deep pockets, but it remains to be seen whether Apple TV+ can recoup such investments at $4.99 per monthly subscription, which will be offset by free a trial year for anyone who buys a new iPad, iPhone, or Apple TV.