Will Smith Wants Fans To See Emancipation So Much That He’s Offering Free AppleTV+

Will Smith stands sadly in uniform in Emancipation.
(Image credit: Apple)

If you don’t already have an Apple TV+ subscription, that’s okay because Will Smith’s got you. The actor has teamed with Apple to give new and returning qualified customers two free months of AppleTV. This is, of course, a brilliant strategy to promote their upcoming Antoine Fuqua-directed civil war action thriller, Emancipation.

According to the video Smith posted to his Instagram, the promotion was spurred on by the countless comments he was getting from fans saying they didn’t have AppleTV but would like to see the film. The actor jokingly says, “this is unacceptable,” and that he asked Apple to help “his people” out so they could see his new film. Whether this exchange with fans happened or not, one can’t help but recognize the brilliance of the marketing behind the promotion. The two free months are available to anyone who doesn’t already have the service and is as easy as hitting the link in Will Smith’s bio. Check out the video below for full promotion details. 

It’s great that the actor and the studio behind Emancipation want fans to see their movie so badly that they’re willing to run a free promotion. The film is important because it is based on the true story of Gordon, aka Whipped Peter, an escaped slave turned soldier whose story is still taught in history books. Photos of his back, covered in scars from brutally being whipped, helped to show the horrors of slavery during the abolitionist movement. It’s an emotionally charged bit of American history, so the more people who can see the upcoming movie’s release, the better. 

Some critics have said Emancipation is being released too soon after Will Smith’s infamous onstage Oscar slap of Chris Rock. However, the star has responded to this criticism by saying he hopes the work of Antoine Fuqua and the artists behind the scenes aren’t penalized for his actions. 

Early screenings of Emancipation have been very positive. Many are saying it is a powerful and must-see emotional film. The audiences’ positive reaction to the movie helped shape the filmmaker’s and studio’s decision to release the film this year despite the Smith controversy.

Smith’s slap isn’t the only controversy that has plagued the movie’s release. Recently the film’s producer, Joey McFarland, came under fire for bringing one of the brutal images of Whipped Peter with him to the movie’s premiere. The backlash led to him taking responsibility and issuing an apology on his personal Instagram. One can only speculate whether Apple’s two-month promotion is brilliant marketing or they’re afraid moviegoers aren’t likely to show up in cinemas due to the many controversies.

Emancipation is in select theaters and arrives on Apple TV+ today, December 9th. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. We’ll have to wait and see if filmgoers will elect to catch the film at the multiplex or take Apple up on its offer and catch it in the comfort of their own home and for free.

Ryan LaBee

Ryan graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in English/Creative Writing.