The $120 million (£96 million)-plus deal, brokered during the Cannes Virtual Market, marks the largest film festival acquisition in history and lands Apple chiefs the world rights over rivals at Warner Bros.
The deal closed on Tuesday night (30Jun20), according to Deadline, and the film will now premiere in theatres and on Apple TV+.
It will be produced by Apple Studios, alongside Smith, Fuqua and their associates at Westbrook Studios and Fuqua Films.
The film is inspired by an 1863 photo, titled "The Scourged Back", which features the bare back of a slave, scarred by deep whip marks delivered by a plantation boss.
Fuqua says, "The photograph was the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw, which is interesting, when you put it into perspective with today and social media and what the world is seeing, again. You can't fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we have to, in an accurate, real way."
Production is scheduled to begin in early 2021.