Apple yanks "The Banker" just ahead of film's debut

By Kate Gibson

/ MoneyWatch

Apple's foray into the movie business isn't quite ready for its close-up. The technology giant abruptly cancelled the Los Angeles debut of "The Banker," the company's first feature film, a day before its scheduled release.

"The Banker" had been slated to close the American Film Festival's annual event in Los Angeles on Thursday. Apple had purchased the film starring Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie earlier this year as part of company's effort to get into streaming video.

"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 reportedly said in a statement.

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While Apple did not specify what those concerns involved, the issues raised involved "the real-life subjects on which the drama is based," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

When you can’t beat the system…BUY IT. The Apple Original Film #TheBanker comes to theaters on Dec 6. @AppleTV @Apple pic.twitter.com/0CuKhXk1n9

— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) November 4, 2019

Apple did not immediately return requests for comment.

Based on a true story, the film is about "two African American entrepreneurs who try to circumvent the racial limitations of the 1950s and quietly provide housing loans to the African American community in Jim Crow Texas," according to Apple's description.

Apple executives had been "moved by the film's entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy," the company also told media outlets.

The company intended to release "The Banker" in theaters in early December before offering it on its new streaming video service in January. Apple entered the streaming fray earlier this month, launching the service, called Apple TV+ ,in more than 100 countries.

First published on November 21, 2019 / 1:09 PM

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