Apple just bought an elephants documentary and an animated movie for its streaming service

David Gray | Reuters

Apple is poised to enter the world of video streaming and has bought the rights to two films, according to a report on entertainment website Deadline.

It bought worldwide rights to "The Elephant Queen," a documentary directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble.

The movie features Athena the elephant leading her herd to a new home and is narrated by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. It took four years to make and was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, with the creators announcing Apple's acquisition on Twitter.


Before the festival, Apple had bought the rights to "Wolfwalkers," an animated movie by Irish director Tomm Moore about a father and daughter traveling to Ireland to destroy a pack of wolves.

Apple is thought to be launching its video service in March 2019. It is late to the party compared with other tech companies such as Amazon, but an investor note last week suggested it could be making $4.4 billion in streaming sales by 2025. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty raised her price target from $232 to $245 a share and said that there was much potential for Apple users to spend more time on its devices in areas including video and augmented reality.

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"While not a first mover, Apple's attractive and sticky customer set combined with a low friction sign-up and payment system could drive users to its video platform, even with a less complete content portfolio vs. Netflix," Huberty wrote.

In August, Apple CEO Tim Cook said cord cutting (cable TV subscription cancellations) is going to accelerate "faster than is widely thought," and in 2017, Apple said it had earmarked about $1 billion to acquire around 10 TV shows. It has signed deals with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television and Oprah Winfrey and, in June 2017, hired Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg from senior roles at Sony Pictures Television to lead video programming.

  • CNBC's Michelle Castillo contributed to this report.