The Banker, a new much anticipated film starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L Jackson, was originally scheduled to premiere this week at AFI Fest before embarking on a theatrical release and eventually heading to Apple’s new streaming service. The screening, however, will not go forward, and the entire release is now allegedly in question after a family member reportedly came forward with some “troubling allegations” against Bernard Garrett Jr.
The Banker follows Bernard Garrett Sr. and is set in 1963. His son, Bernard Garrett Jr, worked on the movie as a consultant and has been involved in promoting the film, even participating in recent Q&As. At this point, it’s unclear what exactly the allegations are, but according to Deadline, they aren’t depicted in the movie, nor involve any characters actually in the movie.
Here’s the full statement from Apple announcing the screening’s cancellation…
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. 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.
It’s hard to speculate on what exactly might happen here since the specifics of the allegations are unknown. There is talk, however, that one of the Hollywood trades is planning to run a story. If there’s any credibility to the allegations, it’s likely Apple will stop using Garrett Jr to promote the movie and may decide to shelve the film for a period of time.
It’s important to reiterate here that none of these allegations involve any of the actors in the movie or even any of the major behind the scenes talent. As such, it seems likely the film will be available at some point in some form, but at this point, there’s not nearly enough evidence to say where or when.
Credit should go to Apple for seemingly being proactive about the matter, especially given where things are at with its streaming service, Apple TV+, right now. The platform didn’t attract the same level of buzz as Disney+ and at times, even generated some less than flattering headlines. There was some hope The Banker could vault into the awards conversation and provide some much needed positive buzz, but all of that has now been put aside to investigate the allegations and figure out how to tastefully proceed.
Expect to see some more headlines about this in the coming weeks as more of the story will as assumedly start coming out. We’ll keep you updated on whatever Apple decides to do. AFI Fest has decided to replace The Banker with Marriage Story.