Apple Breaks The Bank For Will Smith And Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Emancipation’

The bidding war for Emancipation, a team-up of Will Smith with director Antoine Fuqua, was expected to be extremely high, and it was. When the dust settled, Apple decided the duo’s slavery-era action flick was too good to pass up, and broke the bank in order to get it.

Deadline reports Apple has shelled out $120M to acquire worldwide rights to Emancipation, an action movie based on the true story of “Whipped Peter”, whose scarred back was captured in an iconic photograph that stirred up pro-Union forces during the Civil War. The film will chronicle Peter’s 1863 escape from a Louisiana plantation to a Union camp in Baton Rouge.

Apple was competing with Warner Bros. when the bidding war drew to a close, but they have a greater need for content to boost Apple TV+. Emancipation will hit theaters first before making an exclusive home on the streaming service. Add this to the list of high-profile and very expensive projects Apple has acquired recently, including Tom Hank’s Greyound and Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon.

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.