Apple Cancels Premiere Of Its First Original Film One Day Before Screening
The first movie among Apple’s slate of original programming for its new streaming service, Apple TV+, is The Banker, a historical drama starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson. The film was supposed to make its world premiere tonight at AFI Fest — but yesterday, Apple suddenly canceled the premiere. Movie premieres get canceled, even at film festivals, but such high-profile cancelations so close to the actual premiere date are extremely rare.
Apple’s official statement about their decision stated that they purchased the film because they “were moved by the film's entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy,” but that they recently learned of “some concerns surrounding the film” and decided they needed “time to look into these matters and determine the best next steps.”
They offered no additional information than that, but The Hollywood Reporter fills in a lot more of the details that would explain such a sudden change of plans. They claim that two of the daughters of Bernard Garrett Sr., the man portrayed in The Banker by Anthony Mackie, “recently made Apple aware of their claim” that Garrett’s son, Bernard Garrett Jr. — who was a credited co-producer on the film and had already been making publicity appearances in conjunction with it — “sexually molested them over the course of a few years.” They also allege that “the timeline of [The Banker] was tweaked in order to leave the girls and their mother out of the story and instead feature Bernard Garrett Sr.’s first wife, even though he had already divorced her by the time of some of the events depicted in the film.”
The Banker would certainly not be the first time to fudge a historical story. But doing so in order to remove references or possibly to avoid drawing attention to a tragic story would be another thing entirely. The YouTube page for the trailer says The Banker is “inspired by a true story” of a “revolutionary businessman ... who devised an audacious and risky plan to take on the racially oppressive establishment of the 1960s.” As Apple notes in its statement, the company bought The Banker after it was already shot. Here is the film’s trailer:
The Banker was scheduled to open in theaters on December 6, followed by a debut on Apple TV+ in January. Apple has not announced yet whether the movie will still make its scheduled release. The closing night film of AFI Fest will now be Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.
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