Emancipation stars Will Smith as a slave who escapes from a plantation in the South in the 1860s and then tries to evade his captors. The trailer suggests the film, which will premiere in theaters followed by a release on the Apple TV+ streaming service, has stunning cinematography from Robert Richardson, and powerful direction from Antoine Fuqua.

It’s an intense and impressive trailer. Take a look for yourself:

In any other year, Emancipation looks like it would have been guaranteed to head directly into awards contention. But of course, the film now has the unfortunate distinction of being the first production starring WIll Smith to come out after the infamous moment at this year’s Academy Awards where he walked onto the stage and slapped Chris Rock, after the comedian made a joke in poor taste about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. (Later that night, Apple won its first Best Picture Oscar, when Coda took home the year’s top prize.)

In the aftermath of the slap, Smith apologized and resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and was also banned from attending the Oscars ceremony (and all other Academy events) for 10 years. How all of that drama affects the movie’s box office, along with its wider reception, will be very interesting to observe.

Here is Emancipation’s official synopsis:

An enslaved man embarks on a perilous journey to reunite with his family in this powerful film inspired by a true story.

Emancipation, which also stars Ben Foster, Steven Ogg, and Charmaine Bingwa, is scheduled to open in theaters on December 2, followed by a streaming premiere on Apple TV+ on December 9.

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