In a virtually unprecedented development, AFI Fest has been forced to make a last minute switch of their closing night film, The Banker which was scheduled to have its World Premiere in Hollywood Thursday night. Netflix’s Marriage Story, already in theatrical release, has been tapped to take the slot.
The Banker, which stars Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult, and Nia Long is Apple’s first major film release, scheduled to hit theatres on December 6, and then Apple TV’s new streaming service early next year. I am told by sources within the company that those plans are now on hold while Apple takes a pause and investigates recently uncovered, and potentially damaging, charges that have surfaced from a family member of the Garretts. Mackie plays the late Bernard Garrett Sr. in the true story set in 1963. George Nolfi is the film’s director and recently appeared at Deadline’s The Contenders event to talk about the film with co-star Long. The reported allegations do not involve anyone depicted in the movie.
Here is Apple’s official statement on the AFI Fest 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,” the statement reads.
Separately Deadline has learned a family member has leveled some troubling allegations about Garrett Sr’s son, Bernard Garrett Jr. and shared them with at least one Hollywood trade paper which is planning a story.
Unrelated to that Apple has decided on their own to pull the reins in on the release until they get further information and clarification. Garrett Jr. has been among those participating in Q&As and promotional activities around the film and was also a consultant during production.