Apple has more or less delayed Emancipation‘s release to 2023, according to a report written by Variety. It was originally slated to premiere during the late summer/fall festival circuit before making its way into theatres and on Apple TV+ during this year’s awards season.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by William N. Collage, the film stars Will Smith, Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, and Mustafa Shakir and will tell the story of how a slave named Peter (Smith) escapes a plantation to join the army.
It would’ve been the first film released in 2022 starring Will Smith after the infamous Chris Rock slap, which caused the Oscar-winning actor to be banned from attending any Oscar-related events for ten years, and resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences as a result.
After sweeping the floor with CODA and outpacing Netflix as the first film made by a streaming service to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, Emancipation was going to be Apple TV+’s next major awards contender, directed by an acclaimed filmmaker and starring this year’s Oscar winner for Best Actor. The stars were aligned for another potential Best Picture Nominee until the events from the 94th Oscars unfolded. According to a source from Variety who saw the film, they were adamant in thinking that Smith would’ve won “back-to-back”, had Emancipation been released in 2022.
No specific release date for the movie has been announced, but it will not be released this year.