Source: Bernard Smalls / @PhotosByBeanz83
If you’re looking forward to ever seeing Last Friday, you may have to wait until the literal last Friday in existence, if it’s meant to be.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Ice Cube and Warner Bros., the studio that owns the rights to the Friday franchise, are at an impasse over its fourth and reported final film of the celebrated series. The film’s creator and the studio have been going back and forth over the many weeks via nasty letters rooted in gross creative differences, unreasonable demands, and even allegations of discrimination.
Indie Wire reports that the whole beef started when Warner Bros. made too many demands for script changes that Ice Cube didn’t take too kindly to. The film was originally set in a prison whereas the studio wanted to see the film’s characters in “familiar settings” as they felt that comedies in prisons “aren’t funny”.
After a number of re-writes and back & forth exchanges Ice Cube reportedly had enough and requested to be released from the studio. He also wants the rights to all of the films he’s made under Warner Bros., which include the entire Friday series, as well as All About The Benjamins and The Players Club.
Of course, that’s not happening. The Friday franchise is responsible for over $120 million dollars in worldwide box office revenue, according to The-Numbers.com. Warner Bros. calls Cube’s demands “extortionate” and claim that the film’s delays lay at the feet of Ice Cube and his team for refusing to engage with the studio and that they have and will continue to “support diverse voices and storytellers.”
Despite the film’s successes, Cube’s representatives also touched on possible discrimination by Warner Bros and New Line Cinema as they claim that the studios ‘habitually underfunded in comparison with projects featuring white casts and creative teams. Warner Bros. responded to the claim as “grounded in a libelous set of knowing falsehoods”. Each one of the first three Friday films had production budgets of $10 million dollars or less despite each film grossing as much as 3 to 9 times its production budget. The original classic film had a production budget of only $3 million dollars.
Last Friday has been in development for well over 10 years and has since lost key actors John Witherspoon and Tommy “Tiny” Lister. The previous film, Friday After Next, was released in 2002 and as the surviving actors continue to get older it doesn’t look like Last Friday is meant to happen unless it pulls a Coming 2 America but we see how that fared.