Apple Studios beat out Warner Bros. for the rights of the movie, per reports

By Ale Russian
July 02, 2020 01:18 PM
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Kevin Winter/Getty

Will Smith's next movie was sold to the highest bidder at a steep price.

Deadline reports Emancipation, which follows the true story of runaway slave Peter, was bought by Apple Studios for a deal that will cross the $120 million mark. It has become the largest film festival acquisition deal in film history, according to the outlet.

Smith, 51, is poised to star in the film Emancipation as Peter, a real-life runaway slave who fought to evade his hunters through the Louisiana swamp in his journey to join the Union army. Peter is known for the picture of his heavily scarred back.

Emancipation counts on Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) as director with William N. Collage writing the script.

The deal occurred during the Virtual Cannes market, which took place instead of the annual festival gathering in the south of France. It reportedly came down to Warner Bros. and Apple, which will screen the movie in theaters worldwide before its release on the new streaming platform, according to Deadline.

When the movie was announced, Fuqua spoke to Deadline about Peter's enduring legacy.

“It was the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw,” Fuqua said. “Which is interesting, when you put it into perspective with today and social media and what the world is seeing, again. You can’t fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we have to, in an accurate, real way. We all have to look for a brighter future for us all, for everyone. That’s one of the most important reasons to do things right now, is show our history. We have to face our truth before we can move forward.”

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Variety previously reported the movie was set to be introduced to buyers at the virtual market. It's set to start filming in 2021.