The new Will Smith movie Emancipation is currently sitting on a shelf at Apple HQ as executives work out what they want to do with the film. It was set to debut on streaming in time for an Academy Awards push at the end of the year. It is a slave drama that has some strong performances, with Will Smith expected to receive a Best Actor nomination.

But then he went and slapped Chris Rock.

Apple have some questions to try and answer:

Should the company postpone a film based on an important historical subject because its leading man is too toxic? Or does Apple release the movie and watch the outcome unfold? Audiences could be turned off by Mr. Smith’s presence, perhaps taking some gloss off the well-polished Apple brand. Or they could respond positively to the film, prompting an Oscar campaign, which could then upset members of the academy. And the question of how to publicize “Emancipation” will bring scrutiny to a film marketing unit that has already drawn grumbles of dissatisfaction in Hollywood for skimpy ad spends and disjointed communication — and parted ways with its head of video marketing this month.

My thoughts: I haven't seen Emancipation. But I have seen a lot of slave dramas on screen before, including the relatively recent Academy Award winning 12 Years a Slave. I hate to sound crass, but regardless of how good Emancipation may be, there is a steep curve for it to push past that idea that we have seen variations on the story a lot already. Maybe the Will Smith controversy plays out well for the film, driving enough viewers to a film that deserves to be seen.

Apple Shot an Oscar Contender Starring Will Smith. That Was Before the Slap.
The Civil War drama “Emancipation” finished filming early this year. Now, Apple faces a quandary on what to do with the movie.

Partially related...

Recently I interviewed The Good Fight star Charmaine Bingwa for SBS. Not only is she kicking ass in the new season of the show, but she also filmed a supporting role in Emancipation. We don't talk about the movie really (what is there for her to say?), but if you'd like to read it...

Carmen Moyo isn’t here to make friends in ‘The Good Fight’
Aussie star of ‘The Good Fight’ Charmaine Bingwa tells SBS what makes her character Carmen so different to everyone else on the show.

For a dollar...

Billy Eichner has a movie to promote (Bros in US cinemas Sept 30). As such, Eichner is promising the first Billy on The Street in 3 years. It'll be available on all the usual places you stumble upon video.

Probably all you will see of Batgirl

HBO Max's vaulted Batgirl movie has had very little images or video released. So, when the gal who played Batgirl posts a video from the movie, it gets some attention.

Wow is a bit of an overstatement. But sure, okay.

  • Variety has your guide to getting your Everything Everywhere All At Once Halloween costumes. Read: Variety
  • Not really a screen story, but this seems like something you should know if you are an iOS user: that annoying "Allow paste" query box appearing anytime you want to paste something in the new iOS16... it is a bug and they're working on it. It. Is. The. Worst. Read: The Verge

That's it for today. More newsletter tomorrow. The gods have foretold it.