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Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ gets release date, post-slap


After Will Smith’s slap at Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in March put ‘Redemption’ in doubt, Apple will release the actor’s next big project in December

After Will Smith’s slap at Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in March put ‘Redemption’ in doubt, Apple will release the actor’s next big project in December

After Will Smith’s slap on Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in March left “Redemption” in doubt, Apple will release the actor’s next big project this December.

In the wake of Smith’s dismissal of the comedian, the fate of Antoine Fuqua’s $120 million runaway slave thriller “Emancipation” remains uncertain. One of Apple’s most high-profile productions, the film was once tipped to be an Oscar contender this year. But the awards-season rollout of the film, headlined by Smith, who was banned from the Oscars for 10 years by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, has obvious complications.

However, Apple TV+ said on Monday that it will launch “Deliverance” in theaters on December 2 and start streaming on December 9.

Over the weekend, Apple and the NAACP hosted the first screening of the film in Washington as part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Legislative Conference. Smith attended the screening and spoke on stage.

The release of “Liberation” will be the biggest test of moviegoers’ appetite for the Smith-helmed film, which has grossed more than $6.5 billion at the worldwide box office. However, a brief exclusive run in theaters means “Liberation,” like Apple’s Best Picture winner “CODA,” will be seen primarily in homes.

Regardless, the streamer isn’t far from its star. A black-and-white profile of Smith’s face, with a chain around his neck, adorns the film’s poster.

In the film, Smith plays Peter, a man who escapes from slavery in Louisiana. It was inspired by photos of a man known as “Whipped Peter” in 1863, which first appeared in Harper’s Weekly, showing a Union Army medical exam of a mutilated man. The film was originally planned to be shot in Georgia before Fuqua and Smith moved production. In response to Georgia’s newly enacted laws restricting voting access in response to New Orleans.

“Emancipation” is set to be shot in the summer of 2021. Until Slap, its release was expected in 2022. Smith resigned before being banned by the Academy, but was eligible for an Oscar nomination.

“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards show were shocking, hurtful and inexcusable,” he said.

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



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