Superfly (2018 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Director X|
|Screenplay by||Alex Tse|
|Based on||Super Fly|
by Phillip Fenty
|Music by||Josh Atchley|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$20.8 million|
Superfly is a 2018 American crime film directed by Director X and written by Alex Tse. A remake of the 1972 blaxploitation film Super Fly, it stars Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael K. Williams, Lex Scott Davis, and Jennifer Morrison, and follows a career criminal who tries to get out of the Atlanta drug scene, only to have one bad deal put him in harm's way. Rapper Future produced alongside Joel Silver, as well as wrote the film's original songs. Superfly was released in the United States on June 13, 2018 and received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the film's style but ultimately found a lack of substance.
Youngblood Priest, an Atlanta cocaine dealer, has been working the streets since he was eleven. Brought in by his mentor Scatter at a young age, he has been dealing drugs ever since. He lives like a king with his two girlfriends, Georgia and Cynthia, who know about each other. One night, Juju, a member of a gang called Snow Patrol, hits on Cynthia and is furious when he finds out that she is dating Priest. Confronting him outside the strip club against Snow Patrol leader Q's wishes, he shoots at Priest but misses, hitting a bystander instead. The Snow Patrol members drive away, while Priest gives the victim and her friends money and directs them to the best trauma center in the area.
After getting home, Priest has an epiphany, never wishing to get shot at again. Priest confides with his second-in-command Eddie, explaining that he wants out of the drug-dealing scene, and that he has a plan. Eddie initially resists, but eventually says that he has his back. Priest also lets Scatter know, who says that he won't help him. After a hit is made on a bunch of Snow Patrol members, Juju suspects Priest and plans to get back at him. One of Priest's colleagues, Fat Freddy, is caught cheating on his girlfriend, who in return gives information to Snow Patrol about where Freddie was that day, finding out that he was one of the assailants.
Snow Patrol was waiting to ambush Fat Freddy. While waiting, Fat Freddy gets pulled over by a cop and the cop investigates his car. Dirty cop, Detective Mason, acquires the cocaine and searches Freddie's phone, finding Eddie in his contacts. She orders Freddie to reveal where he got the cocaine, holding a gun to his head. He refuses to give up information, but his new girlfriend, fearing for his life, reveals his collaborations and who Priest is. Freddie and his girlfriend are released, but Mason's partner shoots both of them so no information can be leaked.
Mason finds Priest and blackmails him, threatening to open her mouth about his dealing if he does not comply. Eddie, furious about this, gets into a fight with Priest and the two have a falling out. At Freddie's funeral, Scatter surprises Priest and orders his to drive to a meeting with Adalberto, his drug supplier, after finding out Priest cut a deal for more product, but now was trying to get out of the drug game. Adalberto kills Scatter, revealing to Priest he realized he was stealing after Priest's profits were significantly higher than Scatter's. Adalberto threatens Priest he can never get out the game.
Snow Patrol comes to and shoots up Priest's house. He, along with Georgia and Cynthia, fight back. Cynthia shoots at the gang members, who miss her. While she tries to cover herself, a Snow Patrol member shoots his shotgun through the ceiling, killing her. Distraught, Priest and Georgia conjure up Molotov cocktails and throw them at Juju and his partner, engulfing the surrounding area with flames. Juju escapes and chases after Priest, Q doing the same.
Juju crashes and is injured, during which Georgia shoots at Q, who crashes into a statue and is killed as a result. Eddie, after a change of heart, feigns allegiance with Snow Patrol, and tricks them into going to Priest's money stash. There, the gang is ambushed and killed by Mason and other cops, alerted by Priest. Juju is killed by Mason, who then steals 3 packs of cocaine out of Priest's safe.
Priest thanks Eddie for his help, and prepares to leave the country, made possible by Georgia and Cynthia before the house shootout. He blackmails the mayor with a sex tape, asking for a legal document and promising he'll guarantee the Mayor wins the upcoming election.
Aldalberto is seen being restrained, as his mother is holding the court document showing he framed his brother to go to prison. She orders for him to be killed. While waiting for Priest for a blackmail money drop, Mason is surrounded by police and arrested for cocaine possession, after being setup by Priest. Eddie goes back to gambling, and Priest is shown relaxing on a cruise in Montenegro with Georgia.
- Trevor Jackson as Youngblood Priest, an Atlanta drug dealer, who sees an opportunity to leave the game before getting killed.
- Jason Mitchell as Eddie, Priest's right-hand-man. He always has his best friend's back and ultimately decides to help him exit the cocaine scene.
- Michael Kenneth Williams as Scatter, Priest's mentor. He took Priest under his wing when the latter was younger.
- Lex Scott Davis as Georgia, Priest's girlfriend. She has a strong affection for him and the two have sex frequently.
- Jennifer Morrison as Detective Mason, a dirty cop who blackmails Priest.
- Kaalan "KR" Walker as Juju, a member of a gang called Snow Patrol who takes an immediate dislike to Priest.
- Esai Morales as Adalberto Gonzalez, the leader of a Mexican drug cartel who does business with Scatter.
- Andrea Londo as Cynthia, Priest's other girlfriend. She works at a strip club and has more of a casual affection towards her lover.
- Big Bank Black as Q, the leader of Snow Patrol.
- Jacob Ming-Trent as Fat Freddie, one of Priest's colleagues.
- Big Boi as Mayor Atkins
- Angel Love as Hot CoCo
- Terayle Hill as Dee
- Allen Maldonado as Litty
- Al-Jaleel Knox as Shooter
- Rick Ross as Racks
- Lecrae as Funeral Rapper
- Dawntavia Bullard as Monique
- Zaytoven as Artist
- Kinfolk Kia Shine as Big Man
Production began in December 2017, with Future announcing the project and confirming Director X as director. Principal photography started in Atlanta, Georgia in January 2018. Filming wrapped in March 2018, a process that Deadline Hollywood called an "unprecedented turnaround".
While Sony and other publications reported the film was made on a net production budget of $16 million, Deadline stated their sources insisted the actual cost was "well north of $20 [million], near $30 [million]". The site compared the situation to Proud Mary, a film released in January 2018 that Sony reported cost $14 million to make but other sources listed at as high as $30 million.
The soundtrack for the film was curated by American rapper Future, who also acted as a producer on the film. It features 13 new and previously released songs, as well as guest appearances from Miguel, Lil Wayne, Khalid, Ty Dolla Sign, Young Thug, PartyNextDoor, H.E.R., Gunna, Sleepy Brown, and Yung Bans, among others.
In the United States and Canada, Superfly was projected to gross $7–12 million from 2,200 theaters over its five-day opening weekend. The film made $1.2 million on its first day, $938,583 on its second and $1.8 million on its third. It ended up grossing $6.9 million in its opening weekend (a five-day total of $9 million), finishing sixth at the box office. It dropped to $3.4 million in its second weekend, finishing eighth, and after being pulled from 1,064 theaters in its third week made $1.3 million, finishing 12th.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 50% based on 90 reviews, and an average rating of 5.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Superfly updates the blaxploitation original with a stylish remake that's short on social subtext, but still exciting and visually arresting enough to offer its own slickly staged action rewards." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 68% overall positive score.
Variety's Owen Gleiberman wrote: "Shot in a functional, slammed-together manner that's less sensually stylish than you'd expect from a music-video auteur, the film is a competent yet glossy and hermetic street-hustle drug thriller, less a new urban myth than a lavishly concocted episode. It holds your attention yet leaves you with nothing." [Pius Marube]
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