Apple releases trailer for ‘Emancipation’ starring Will Smith, coming this December

Apple Original Films’ “Emancipation,” directed and executive produced by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “The Equalizer”) and starring and produced by Will Smith (“King Richard,” “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Ali”), will premiere in theaters on December 2, 2022, and globally on Apple TV+ on Friday, December 9, 2022.

“Emancipation” is an Apple Original Film premiering in theaters December 2, 2022 and globally on Apple TV+ on December 9, 2022.
“Emancipation” is an Apple Original Film premiering in theaters December 2, 2022 and globally on Apple TV+ on December 9, 2022.

“Emancipation” tells the triumphant story of Peter (Smith), a man who escapes from slavery, relying on his wits, unwavering faith and deep love for his family to evade cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his quest for freedom. The film is inspired by the 1863 photos of “Whipped Peter,” taken during a Union Army medical examination, that first appeared in Harper’s Weekly. One image, known as “The Scourged Back,” which shows Peter’s bare back mutilated by a whipping delivered by his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery.

“Emancipation” is directed by Antoine Fuqua, from a script by William N. Collage. The film is produced by Will Smith and Jon Mone through Westbrook Studios, Joey McFarland though McFarland Entertainment and Todd Black through Escape Artists. Antoine Fuqua, James Lassiter, Heather Washington, Cliff Roberts, Glen Basner, and Scott Greenberg are executive producing.

Apple TV+ offers premium, compelling drama and comedy series, feature films, groundbreaking documentaries, and kids and family entertainment, and is available to watch across all your favorite screens. After its launch on November 1, 2019, Apple TV+ became the first all-original streaming service to launch around the world, and has premiered more original hits and received more award recognitions faster than any other streaming service in its debut. To date, Apple Original films, documentaries, and series have been honored with 276 wins and 1,153 award nominations and counting, including multi-Emmy Award-winning comedy “Ted Lasso” and this year’s Oscar Best Picture winner “CODA.”

Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app in over 100 countries and regions, on over 1 billion screens, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, popular smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, VIZIO, TCL and others, Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecast with Google TV, PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles, and at, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. For a limited time, customers who purchase and activate a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can enjoy three months of Apple TV+ for free.

MacDailyNews Note: Actors Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, and Mustafa Shakir (“Soul Assassin,” “Cowboy Bebop,” “Marvel’s Luke Cage” and “The Deuce”) star alongside Smith in “Emancipation.” The ensemble cast also includes Steven Ogg, Grant Harvey, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Jayson Warner Smith, Jabbar Lewis, Michael Luwoye, Aaron Moten, and newcomer Imani Pullum.

So, it is with relative certainty that – you guessed it – Chris Rock was not harmed during the filming of this motion picture.

In May, Variety reported that “Emancipation” would be delayed to 2023 due to Smith’s onstage assault on Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards ceremony held on March 27, 2022, but today’s news effectively cancels that delay.

Prior to Smith’s outburst, “Emancipation” once had strong Oscar buzz. Apple would have had a real shot at back-to-back Best Picture awards, after nabbing the big prize for CODA in 2021. Now, all bets are off.

Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after the incident and the Academy’s Board of Governors issued a 10-year ban barring the actor from attending the Oscar ceremony. The injunction does not prevent Smith from being nominated during this period.

Please help support MacDailyNews. Click or tap here to support our independent tech blog. Thank you!

Shop The Apple Store at Amazon.


  1. Smith won’t get nominated for this picture, regardless of the performance. Can’t imagine Apple is going to give it much of a theatrical release, either. Maybe a couple of theaters in New York and Los Angeles to qualify for the Oscars. Kinda surprised they’re releasing it at all this year.

    1. Oh I dunno.. Hollywood luvs a good slave movie. Show some sweaty black bodies picking cotton and the award nominations just roll in. They get all nostalgic for the good old days.

  2. Why doesn’t Apple or someone else make a movie showing slavery as it existed in Africa for dozens of centuries well before Whitey ever showed up?

    1. Someone has done this. Many times.

      If you don’t enjoy all the documentaries, then here are several fictionalized films that reveal pre-colonial and colonial Africa.

      any movie depicting the golden era of Egypt, Carthage, or middle-to-late Roman rule in northern Africa and the Middle East may offer glimpses of the slavery predominant in that time. Sadly many of the big box office ones focused more on things like Cleopatra’s slinky fashion, not the slaves that built the pyramids.
      Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), chronicles the slavery of Hebrew tribes at the time of Pharoah Seti in Egypt.
      Roots (1977) is of course a touchstone, the first episode was entirely set in Africa.
      Yeelen (1987) is set in the circa 13th century Mali empire.
      Zulu (1964) describes the Battle of Isandlwana in 1879.
      Sankofa (1993) travels back in time to reveal Ghanian culture, including an honest depiction of slavery .
      Mountains of the Moon (1990) is an epic telling of the 1854 expedition of the Nile river.
      I Am Slave (2010) reveals more contemporary Sudanese slavery.

      You already know the answer to why the USA seldom sees historically accurate films about ancient non-American cultures. Too much work for such shallow audiences that have been conditioned to consume bombastic AI-generated superhero crap.

      As for Will Smith; I think he’s a very talented actor. It’s hard to say if his award ceremony performance was a calculated publicity stunt but I was happy to see Chris Dumb-As-A-Rock get called out for crossing the line. For that alone it was the most entertaining award show in years. It’s not as thought white men don’t defend their wives from harassment in public. There’s a reason bars hire bouncers. As a person Smith seems much more grounded than the average entertainer. It’s disingenuous to harangue him here and not level equal scorn on someone who brags about grabbing women’s pu**ies because when you’re rich you can do anything you want. How is that not worse behavior?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.