Apple TV+ announces release date for Will Smith's Emancipation [Trailer]

Will Smith, right in Emancipation

Will Smith, right in Emancipation

Apple TV+ said it will release Will Smith’s next big project, “Emancipation,” in theatres 2 December, while streaming will begin 9 December.

Smith in a Facebook post Monday described the film as the hardest he ever made.

”This was the hardest movie I’ve ever made. Blood, Sweat & Tears… LITERALLY! Shoutout to Apple who doubled (and tripled) down on their commitment to deliver this epic story to the world”.

The film had been held in limbo since March following Smith’s slap of Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.

In the fallout of Smith’s smack of the comedian, the fate of “Emancipation” — a $120 million runaway slave thriller directed by Antoine Fuqua — had been uncertain.

One of Apple’s most high-profile productions yet, the film had once been expected to be an Oscar contender this year.

But an awards-season rollout of a film headlined by Smith, who the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years, has obvious complications.

Over the weekend, Apple and the NAACP held the first screening of the film in Washington, D.C., as part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Legislative Conference.

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Smith attended the screening and spoke on stage.

The release of “Emancipation” will pose the biggest test yet of how eager moviegoers are for a movie headlined by Smith, an actor who has generated more than $6.5 billion in worldwide box office.

In the film, Smith plays a man named Peter who escapes from slavery in Louisiana. It was inspired by the 1863 photos of a man known as “Whipped Peter” that first appeared in Harper’s Weekly showing a Union Army medical exam of a mutilated man.

The film had originally been planned to shoot in Georgia before Fuqua and Smith moved the production to New Orleans in response to Georgia’s then-newly enacted laws restricting voting access.

“Emancipation” was shot in the summer of 2021. Until the slap, its release had been expected in 2022.

Before Smith was banned by the motion picture academy, the actor resigned his membership, saying, “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable.”

Since then, Smith has largely stayed out the public eye. In late July, he gave his most extensive comments about the incident in a video posted to social media in which he apologized to Rock, who had made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife.

Smith remains eligible for an Oscar nomination.

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