Apple TV+ delays Will Smith’s new “Emancipation” movie till 2023

In the aftermath of the unfortunate incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards, Apple TV+ has planned to delay the launch of Smith’s new movie “Emancipation” till 2023. Originally, the movie was expected to launch on the fall festival circuit this year.

Bidding against Warner Bros, Apple TV+ acquired the right to action-thriller “Emancipation” for $120 million at the Cannes Virtual Film Festival in July 2020. Starring Oscar winner Will Smith, and Ben Foster, the movie is directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by Bill Collage, and produced by Smith.

Although the production of the movie was scheduled to commence in early 2021, it faced production issues. In April 2021, Smith announced that Emancipation’ will not be filmed in Georgia after the state passed a new “restrictive” voting rules, and later the outbreak of COVID-19 and sexual harassment charges halted production.

Apple TV+ will smith

After the infamous slap incident at the 2022 Oscars, Apple TV+ has pushed the release of Will Smith’s new movie

Based on the life and struggle of a slave Peter (played by Smith), the story of the movie focuses on his escape during the civil war to join the Union Army. But Smith’s unwarranted violent reaction to a joke made by comedian Chris Rock on his wife’s hair has resulted in another professional setback for the actor.

Variety reports that Apple executives and the filmmakers are in talks about how to move the Fall release of the movie forward. The reasons given for the delay are altercation, ongoing post-production issues, and Apple’s packed slate for 2022.

Smith’s altercation with Rock would be a dominating topic surrounding promotion for the film, whether Smith was involved or not. While the slap controversy is a prominent factor in the predicted shift, multiple sources shared that Fuqua is still deep in post-production and may not be ready in time for a 2022 bow. 

Another contributing element is a packed slate for Apple in the second half of the year. Many of its films could be marketed for a substantial awards push.

It was also reported that Apple TV+ and Netflix pulled out of bids from Will Smith’s biopic because he is now considered “a risky business”.

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