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Apple abruptly cancels premiere of Samuel L. Jackson movie ‘The Banker’

Posted: 8:01 AM, Nov 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-21 08:01:03-05

LOS ANGELES — Apple has abruptly canceled the Los Angeles premiere of “The Banker,” a debut movie from the tech company that signaled its ambition to become a major player in streaming video .

The film, which stars Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie, was purchased by Apple earlier this year and was scheduled to be shown at the American Film Institute’s annual festival.

“The Banker” had already generated buzz as a potential contender at the Academy Awards. But Apple said that the film would not make its premiere as planned later on Thursday.

“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,” Apple said in a statement.

Apple did not say what concerns about the film had been uncovered. It declined to comment further when asked for additional details.

“The Banker” tells the true story of two African American men who hired a white man to be the face of their successful real estate and banking business in the 1960s.

Apple said in a statement they were “moved by the film’s entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy.”

The tech company had planned to release “The Banker” in theaters on December 6 before making it available on its new streaming video service, Apple TV+, in January.

The long-awaited service launched earlier this month in more than 100 countries, marking Apple’s entry into the “streaming wars,” which pit Big Media against Big Tech in the battle for consumers’ time and money.

It comes at an important moment for Apple. The iPhone’s slumping sales mean the company has to convince customers to pay for services on the phones and laptops they already own.

Apple is reportedly spending $6 billion on content for the streaming service.