Apple’s Big Spending Plan to Challenge Netflix Takes Shape

On March 25, a delegation of producers, studio executives and big-name actors will enter the subterranean 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif., for one of those Apple showcases, with the chief executive, Tim Cook, commanding the stage before a crowd of loyalists.

This time around, the focus won’t be on the next must-have device. With iPhone sales showing signs of fatigue, the event is intended to draw attention to the company’s billion-dollar-plus bet on entertainment, an initiative that will put Apple in direct competition with Netflix, Amazon and HBO.

The premiere date for the service is getting closer, with the first of a dozen or more shows likely to start streaming before the year is out. At next week’s presentation, Apple is expected to reveal details of what it has been working on with stars from both sides of the camera like Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Brie Larson, Jason Momoa, Octavia Spencer, J.J. Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan and Steven Spielberg.

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