Will Smith’s Emancipation release pushed back to 2023 by Apple TV

Will Smith, Emancipation, release

Here’s the cliff notes — Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head. After outrage and public apologies, Smith resigned from the Academy, which then banned the actor from attending the Oscars or any Academy events for the next ten years. Society moved on, but the fallout from the slap has extended to Will Smith’s next major film as Variety reports that Apple TV has pushed back the release of Emancipation to sometime in 2023.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, Emancipation tells the story of the harrowing escape of Peter, a runaway slave forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey North where he joined the Union Army. A photo of his bare back was taken, showing off the gruesome scars he had received while enslaved. The photo found its way around the world and gave abolitionists indisputable proof of the cruelty of slavery in America. Apple TV hadn’t given an official release date for Emancipation, but it was expected to hit theaters later this year as the streaming service’s next possible awards contender. One source told Variety that “Will’s going to win back-to-back” after seeing early footage from the film, but this was before the Oscar ceremony. Hopefully, pushing the film’s release into the new year will let the dust settle from Oscar’s slap scandal.

The Oscar slap isn’t the only reason for Apple TV pushing back the release of Emancipation. Multiple sources told Variety that Antoine Fuqua is still “deep in post-production” and might not have been ready to make the 2022 release. Apple also has numerous films on its slate for the second half of the year, so it doesn’t need Emancipation to make a push for awards season.

Source: Variety

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.