Apple is delaying the theatrical release of “The Banker,” originally set for Dec. 6 with assistance from Bleecker Street, insiders familiar with the company said.
It’s being delayed as the filmmakers review accusations of historical inaccuracy and sexual abuse at the hands of co-producer Bernard Garrett Jr. The film was also set to premiere on Apple TV Plus in January, which is also being postponed due to the theatrical release’s delay.
“The Banker” is the story of Garrett Jr.’s father, portrayed by Anthony Mackie in the film. Apple announced on Nov. 20 that it had canceled a planned gala screening of “The Banker,” one of the tech company’s flagship original films that was meant to close AFI Fest on Nov. 21 at the TCL Chinese Theatre Hollywood. Netflix stepped in and screened Noah Baumbach’s acclaimed “Marriage Story” in its place.
“We purchased ‘The Banker’ earlier this year as we were moved by the film’s entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy,” Apple said in a Nov. 20 statement. “Last week some concerns surrounding the film were brought to our attention. We, along with the filmmakers, need some time to look into these matters and determine the best next steps. In light of this, we are no longer premiering ‘The Banker’ at AFI Fest.”
In September, Variety exclusively reported that the company set “The Banker” for a limited release beginning Dec. 6 with plans to hit the Apple TV Plus app in January.
The accusations of inaccuracy and sexual abuse emerged this week against Garrett Jr. from a woman named Cynthia Garrett, who claimed that Garrett Jr. is her half brother. She called on Apple to accurately portray the family’s story about how Garrett Sr. and his business partner stealthily acquired property and eventually claimed ownership of a regional bank in the South in the 1950s, despite intense racial bias.
In the film, Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson’s characters train a working-class white man, played by Nicholas Hoult, to pose as the rich and privileged face of their burgeoning real estate and banking empire — while the duo poses as a janitor and a chauffeur. Nia Long plays the spouse of Mackie’s character.
The drama is directed by George Nolfi and produced by Joe Viertel. Brad Feinstein produced under his Romulus Entertainment banner, alongside Nolfi, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jonathan Baker, David Lewis Smith and Mackie.