Hip-hop mogul and actor Ice Cube is battling with the Hollywood film and entertainment giant Warner Bros. over the rights to the highly successful “Friday” movie franchise he made with the studio, accusing it of excessive delays and poor treatment.
Ice Cube wants Warner Bros. to give him rights to the “Friday” property and to two other movies he made with the studio — “All About the Benjamins” and “The Players Club,” according to correspondence his lawyers have sent to the studio, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Warner Bros. has called the demand “extortionate” and said it won’t release rights to the valuable franchise or any other Ice Cube movies, according to the letters.
Ice Cube, whose legal name is O’Shea Jackson, is considered a Hollywood heavyweight. The movies he has starred in, co-starred in or produced have grossed more than $2 billion at the box office.
Here are three things to know about the dispute between Ice Cube and Warner Bros. over the hit “Friday” franchise.
In the flurry of correspondence between the two, Ice Cube’s team accuses the studio of discrimination. 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.”
Warner Bros. denies it has discriminated against Ice Cube or that it gave short shrift to any of his projects. In a letter sent in May to Ice Cube’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, the studio said the complaints are “grounded in a libelous set of knowing falsehoods” and “We strongly disagree with any claims of discriminatory treatment.”
The dispute could derail the movie “Last Friday,” the latest film planned for the long-running comedy franchise. It has been in the works for nearly 10 years.
In 2012, Ice Cube and Warner Bros. unit New Line Cinema inked a deal to make “Last Friday.” Ice Cube is to be paid more than $11 million for producing and acting in “Last Friday.”
Cube tweeted, “Let’s #FreeFriday from #WarnerBrothers. Share if you want a sequel.”
“Why did you sell the rights in the first place?” @MudvilleMike209 asked.
“No Sequel needed at all the Original cannot be replaced” cece @cece49404786 tweeted.
When “Friday” was released in 1995 it was an instant hit. The film was about two friends, played by Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, who spent a Friday hilariously dodging trouble in South Central Los Angeles. The movie, which cost $10 million to make, grossed $28 million worldwide.
Two sequels followed — “Next Friday,” which cost $11 million, raked in $60 million globally. “Friday After Next” made $33.5 million at the box office.
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