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How to Watch ‘Emancipation’: Where to Stream the Will Smith Movie Online

Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith are set to unveil their gritty historical thriller Emancipation to audiences worldwide and present their new take on slavery in America. It will be Will Smith’s first movie since winning the Academy Award for his performance in King Richard last year, where he portrayed the father of Serena and Venus Williams. Smith has a lot riding on this film as he will be looking to earn his second Best Actor nomination in a row, and will also be testing the waters in the aftermath of the surprising controversy at the 2022 Oscars ceremony.


Will Smith has been a household name in America for over three decades now, appearing in countless blockbusters, fan-favorite shows, and beloved classics. Smith is one of the last surviving members of a breed of actors known as the movie star and holds the ability to bring audiences in large numbers to the theaters for his films. Films like Independence Day, Men In Black, I Am Legend, and Aladdin, are some of the biggest hits in Hollywood and have helped the actor sustain his popularity over the years. But despite all the box office success, Smith has made sure to be a part of smaller films and serious dramas in between, where he gets to flex his acting muscles. He has gifted us with some stellar performances throughout his career, in films like Pursuit of Happyness, Concussion, and Ali, and has been nominated for an Academy Award twice before going on to win in 2022. Emancipation will also be Smith’s first collaboration with Antoine Fuqua, the director behind films such as Training Day, The Equalizer, and Southpaw. Read below to find out how you can watch this new historical thriller.

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Image via Apple TV+

Related:‘Emancipation’: Release Date, Cast, Trailer, and Everything We Know So Far About the Will Smith Film


Will Emancipation Be Released in Theaters?

Emancipation opened on limited screens on December 2, 2022, to have a qualifying run for the Oscars. But since the film is being distributed by Apple, it will not expand wide, and will instead debut on Apple’s own streaming service.

When Will Emancipation Be Available to Stream Online?

Will Smith Emancipation
Image via Apple TV+

Emancipation will be streaming online on Apple TV+ from December 9, 2022, and will be exclusively available to watch on Apple’s streaming service and nowhere else. Apple bought the rights to the film after a heated auction where it beat out studios like Warner Bros., MGM, Lionsgate, and Universal.

Watch Emancipation on Apple TV+

Watch the Trailer for Emancipation

The full trailer for Emancipation was released by Apple TV+ on November 16, 2022. The opening shots showcase the film’s gorgeous black and white cinematography, shot by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson. As the thumping original score swells up in the background, we are introduced to the lead character played by Will Smith, as he talks to his family one last time before he is taken away as a slave. The trailer promises thrilling moments and a brutal performance from Will Smith, who gives it his all as a man on the run for his survival.

Related:Will Smith Expects the Oscar Slap to Affect ‘Emancipation’s Reception

What Is Emancipation About?

Inspired by true stories, Emancipation tells the story of a slave who flees a plantation in Louisiana after he was whipped and has to outsmart killers and officers for survival. Here’s the official synopsis from Apple:

“Emancipation” tells the triumphant story of Peter (Will Smith), a man who escapes from slavery, relying on his wits, unwavering faith and deep love for his family to evade cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his quest for freedom. The film is inspired by the 1863 photos of “Whipped Peter,” taken during a Union Army medical examination, that first appeared in Harper’s Weekly. One image, known as “The Scourged Back,” which shows Peter’s bare back mutilated by a whipping delivered by his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery.

Other Similar Movies You Can Watch Right Now

Imani Pullum, Will Smith, Jeremiah Friedlander, Landon Chase Dubois, Charmaine Bingwa and Jordyn McIntosh in Emancipation
Image via AppleTV+

Django Unchained – Part of Quentin Tarantino‘s self-described Revisionist History Trilogy, Django Unchained is one of the best in the filmmaker’s notable filmography. The film sets up a delirious tale of vengeance, as Django, a former slave played by Jamie Foxx is emancipated and accompanied by Christoph Waltz‘s Schulz, on a journey of revenge against white plantation owners. Tarantino implements his love for blaxploitation films, and mixes them with elements of a more serious social drama, to remarkable effects. There’s not a single dull moment in Django Unchained, every scene is both breathtaking and entertaining in equal measure, from the delicious dialogue that Tarantino serves to the stylized action set to the stunning cinematography. Featuring some heavy-hitting performances from great actors like Jamie Foxx, Samuel L Jackson, and Leonardo DiCaprio, the film even earned Christoph Waltz his second Academy Award.

12 Years A Slave – The Academy Award for Best Picture winner from 2014, 12 Years A Slave tells the incredible true story of Solomon Northup, based on the 1853 memoir written by the man. Adapted for the screen by John Ridley, who won an Academy Award for best screenplay, and directed by British filmmaker Steve McQueen, the film was a rousing success and scored 9 Academy Award nominations. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the role of Solomon Northup, a violinist and a free man with a wife and two daughters, who is kidnaped and sold into slavery. Ultimately sold to a ruthless and sadistic plantation owner Edwin Epps, played by Michael Fassbender, and forced to be a slave for 12 years. There he befriends Patsey, a slave regularly exploited by Epps and abused by his wife, and played by Lupita Nyong’o who went on to win an Academy Award for the performance.

The NorthmanRobert Eggers‘ viking epic based on the famous folktale of Amleth, which inspired William Shakespeare‘s Hamlet, is one of the best cinematic experiences of 2022. The key plot points remain the same as in Hamlet – a young prince flees his kingdom after his uncle kills his father, and returns years later after exile to seek revenge only to discover his mother in a relationship with his traitor uncle. With detailed research and a sense of atmospheric magical realism, Eggers turns this known story into a completely new experience that mixes history with folklore and examines religion, violence, and destiny. Filled with strong performances from actors like Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Ethan Hawke.


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