Looks like we might not be getting that new Friday movie any time soon. Or, possibly ever.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Ice Cube and Warner Bros. are in the midst of a bitter back-and-forth over Last Friday, the fourth movie in the franchise that’s been in development for just under a decade now. According to the WSJ, the movie isn’t even close to being done and both Cube and Warner Bros. officials have been exchanging “heated letters” about the movie’s fate for weeks.
And now, it seems that Cube wants to break free from the Dubba Dubba WB.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Ice Cube wants Warner Bros., owned by AT&T Inc., to surrender its rights to the “Friday” property and to two other movies he made there—“All About the Benjamins” and “The Players Club,” according to correspondence his lawyers have sent to the studio and that The Wall Street Journal has reviewed.
IndieWire reports that Cube’s lawyer wrote in a letter that Warner Bros. was “excessive” in studio notes on the script and is a “poor steward” of the franchise. All three Friday movies were distributed through Warner Bros. New Line Cinema label and have raked in well over $20 million in box office revenue.
Ice Cube originally set the first draft of “Last Friday” in a prison, but he claims “the studio told him prison isn’t funny.” Studio executives said “they felt the fans of the franchise wanted to see the characters in their familiar settings instead of behind bars for much of the movie.” Ice Cube wrote a second script but then got feedback he felt was “off the mark.” The actor said “he viewed the entire editing process as a way to delay getting cameras rolling.”
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. told the WSJ that Cube’s demand to release the rights of his movies was “extortionate,” and that the studio won’t give into it. The studio went on to call Cube’s claims “revisionist history” and blamed him for the movie’s delays because he and his team are unwilling to engage with them.
Cube’s team also floated around the possibility that Warner Bros. might be discriminating against him.
From the WSJ:
The possibility of discrimination has also emerged as a flashpoint in the conversations. In one letter, Ice Cube’s representative wrote that movies he has done for the studio ‘are habitually underfunded in comparison with projects featuring white casts and creative teams.’ The correspondence points to other Ice Cube films he says weren’t well supported.”
Warner Bros. fired back, saying in part to the WSJ that Cube’s sentiments were “grounded in a libelous set of knowing falsehoods,” and that they have and will continue to “support diverse voices and storytellers.”
Either way, this whole situation is a beyond disappointing for fans of the original three movies. Not only have we lost both John Witherspoon and Tommy “Tiny” Lister in the years since Last Friday was first announced, but based on all of this, it sounds like the movie just isn’t going to happen.
That is, unless Cube and Warner Bros. find common ground or the studio decides to give up the rights to the franchise. We’ll see what happens.