In Public Enemy’s diatribe against a racially lagging Hollywood, “Burn Hollywood Burn,” Ice Cube and Big Daddy Kane joined Chuck D in blasting the still-racist tendencies of mainstream studios and praising the efforts of Spike Lee, post-Do The Right Thing. Truth be told, however, Kane and Chuck provided the commentary on the entertainment industry; Cube’s brief verse, like much of his output around the early '90s, was focused on hating the police.
In spite of that, it was Cube that joined the ranks of rappers-turned Hollywood moguls; nearly 20 years later, the former NWA member’s resume includes extensive writing, directing and acting experience, as well as the obligatory turns as producer. Over the past few years, Cube has focused on acting, concurrently running down the career paths of a kid’s movie mainstay (Are We There Yet?, Are We Done Yet?, The Longshots,) an action star (xXx: State of the Union, Torque, Ghosts of Mars) and an urban comedy star (First Sunday, All About the Benjamins, The Players Club.)
Despite finding success across genres, it seems to be the urban comedy route that Cube is most invested in; these are the only films he’s written or directed, and he keeps returning to similar projects every few years. Janky Promoters, the first film written by Cube since the third chapter of the Friday series, reunites the rapper with comedian Mark Epps in a story about over-ambitious concert promoters getting in over their heads with a major booking.
This is Cube’s sixth script, and all of the previous five have turned a profit. The initial Friday film made nearly ten times its budget, finishing around $28 million off of a $3.5 million budget; the first non-Friday film Cube wrote, The Players Club, made $23 million off of $5 million. Friday After Next, Cube’s most recent writing project, pulled in $32 million, although the budget grew to $20 million.
Looking at those numbers, films penned by Ice Cube would seem to be a sure thing; however, Friday After Next came out way back in 2002, and Cube’s image has softened considerably since then. Grown-up audiences may now associate him more with The Longshots than Friday.
Young Jeezy stars as himself, playing the rapper the promoters bring into their small club. Marcus Raboy, a former music video director who jumped to features with Friday After Next, is at the helm. Cube produces alongside Matt Alvarez, who put together the Barbershop films. (Sean Collier/BOP)