Apple has acquired the rights to “Emancipation,” an action thriller film about a slave on the run from the Confederacy in the midst of the Civil War, journeying north to join the Union Army (via Deadline). The film is set to star Will Smith and will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, who previously helmed “Training Day” and “The Equalizer.”
Apple’s purchase of “Emancipation” is described as the largest festival acquisition deal in film history. Several bidders were interested in the film when it was introduced at the Cannes Virtual Film Market, which was held late in June as a replacement to the physical Cannes Film Festival.
Apple allegedly paid north of $120 million for the film package, and “Emancipation” is set to premiere in theaters first and then around the world on Apple TV+. Production is expected to begin in early 2021.