After its original rollout plan was scrapped late last year, “The Banker,” a civil rights drama starring Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie, has a new life.
Apple announced on Thursday that the film would be made available to Apple TV Plus subscribers on March 20, with a theatrical release scheduled for March 6.
One of the first feature films to be distributed by Apple, “The Banker” is based on the true story of Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris, a pair of black entrepreneurs who recruited a white man to pose as the face of their business in an effort to work against the racist banking practices of midcentury America.
Apple withdrew the film from the American Film Institute’s annual festival and canceled its Dec. 6 theatrical premiere after Bernard Garrett Jr., a son of one of the film’s protagonists, was accused of sexual misconduct. The younger Mr. Garrett was a co-producer of the film. Apple has stripped him of that credit and said that he would not profit “in any form.”
The company decided to withdraw “The Banker” after Cynthia Garrett, a daughter of Bernard Garrett, accused the younger Mr. Garrett, her half brother, of sexually abusing her and her younger sister when they were children. Bernard Garrett Jr. has denied the accusations.
“We wanted to take the time to understand the situation at hand,” Apple said in a statement on Thursday. “After reviewing the information available to us, including documentation of the filmmakers’ research, we’ve decided to make this important and enlightening film available to viewers.”
“The Banker” began filming in September 2018 and wrapped two months later. Apple, a newcomer to the entertainment business, bought the worldwide distribution rights for $20 million in June 2019 after executives watched an eight-minute sizzle reel. Before the accusation against Mr. Garrett became public, he was set to help promote the film.
The delay came at a bad time for Apple TV Plus, whose flagship series, the star-studded “The Morning Show,” debuted to mixed reviews in November. “The Banker,” featuring two stars of the blockbuster “Avengers” series, seemed like a way for Apple to prove itself in Hollywood.
Nicole Sperling contributed reporting.