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|
|Edited by||Joel Negron|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$20.8 million|
Superfly is a 2018 American crime drama film and a remake of the 1972 blaxploitation film Super Fly. The film was directed by Director X, written by Alex Tse and stars Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael K. Williams, Lex Scott Davis, and Jennifer Morrison. Rapper Future produced alongside Joel Silver, as well as writing 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 company's style but ultimately found a lack of substance.
Youngblood Priest, a young Atlanta cocaine kingpin, 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 and lives like a king with his two girlfriends, Georgia and Cynthia.
One night, Juju, a member of a rival gang called Snow Patrol, hits on Cynthia at her strip club and is furious when he finds out that she is dating Priest. Against Snow Patrol leader Q's wishes, he confronts Priest and shoots at him but misses, accidentally 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 in his second-in-command Eddie, explaining that he wants out of the drug-dealing scene, and that he has a plan to do so. Eddie initially resists, but eventually says that he has his back. Priest also lets Scatter know, but his mentor refuses to help him. After a hit is carried out on a gathering of Snow Patrol members, Juju suspects Priest and plans to get back at him. One of Priest's colleagues, Fat Freddie, is caught cheating on his girlfriend, who in return gives information to Snow Patrol about where Freddie was that day, allowing the gang to deduce that he was one of the assailants.
Snow Patrol sets an ambush for Fat Freddie. While waiting, Fat Freddie gets pulled over by a corrupt cop named Franklin, who searches his car. His associate, Detective Mason, discovers cocaine and searches Freddie's phone, finding Eddie in his contacts. She orders Freddie to reveal where he got the cocaine while holding a gun to his head. He refuses to give up information, but his new girlfriend, Rochelle, fearing for his life, reveals his criminal history and who Priest is. Freddie and Rochelle are released, but Franklin then shoots both of them dead so no information can be leaked.
Mason finds Priest and blackmails him, threatening to expose his dealing if he does not comply. Priest tells Eddie he is the reason that Freddie is dead, but he concedes that Eddie would not have given the brick to Freddie. However, Eddie becomes furious at Priest, but begins a brawl fight between them and they are falling out. After violently strangling Eddie, Priest storms off angrily, leaving him unconscious. Later, when Priest overhears Georgia and Cynthia discussing his police problems, he stops their argument and get their passports ready to leave the country. At Freddie's funeral, Scatter surprises Priest and orders him to drive to a meeting with Adalberto, his drug supplier, after finding out Priest cut a secret deal for more product. Adalberto kills Scatter, explaining how he realized he was stealing from him after Priest's profits were significantly higher than Scatter's. Adalberto threatens Priest, telling him that he can never get out of the game.
Snow Patrol members led by Juju shoot up Priest's house; Cynthia returns fire before being killed by a shotgun blast. Distraught, Priest and Georgia whip up some Molotov cocktails and set fire to the mansion. Juju escapes and chases after Priest, with Q behind him. Juju is injured, while Q is killed in a car crash when Georgia shoots at him. Eddie, after seemingly having a change of heart, finds Juju and asks to join him, but Juju refuses. Eddie feigns allegiance with Snow Patrol, and tricks them into going to Priest's stash house to get revenge for Q's death, where they are ambushed and killed by Mason and other cops alerted by Priest. Juju is gunned down by Mason, who removes packs of cocaine out of Priest's safe, which he apparently left as compensation or evidence for the bust.
Priest thanks Eddie for his help, and prepares to leave the country with Georgia. He blackmails the mayor with a sex tape, asking for a specific legal document and promising he will guarantee the mayor wins the upcoming election. Adalberto is seen being restrained and executed at his mother's order after she receives a court document proving that he framed his brother for a crime he did not commit. While waiting for Priest to pay her off, Mason is surrounded by police and arrested for cocaine possession after Priest tips them off.
Priest calls Franklin to a meeting and beats him up, before breaking his arm by avenges on Freddie's murder. Having settled all of his business obligations and with his enemies either dead or in police custody, Priest is finally shown relaxing on a cruise in Montenegro with Georgia.
- Trevor Jackson as Youngblood Priest, an Atlanta drug lord, who sees an opportunity to leave the game before he gets killed.
- Jason Mitchell as Eddie, Priest's right-hand-man. He always has his best friend's back, even to the point of risking his life to help him exit the drug game.
- Michael K. Williams as Scatter, Priest's mentor and an experienced dealer. He took Priest under his wing when the latter was younger.
- Lex Scott Davis as Georgia, Priest's girlfriend. She has a strong affection and loyalty for him.
- Jennifer Morrison as Detective Mason, a corrupt cop who blackmails Priest with evidence of his dealing.
- Kaalan "KR" Walker as Juju, a member of the Snow Patrol, a rival drug outfit, who takes an immediate dislike to Priest and plots to kill him.
- Esai Morales as Adalberto Gonzalez, the leader of a Mexican drug cartel who does business with Scatter and Priest.
- Andrea Londo as Cynthia, Priest's other girlfriend. A professional stripper, she has more of a casual affection towards her lover but ultimately dies trying to protect him from Snow Patrol.
- Big Bank Black as Q, the pragmatic leader of Snow Patrol. Killed while trying to hunt down Priest.
- Antwan “Big Boi” Patton as Mayor Wendell Atkins, who Priest blackmails for help leaving the game.
- Jacob Ming-Trent as Frederick "Fat Freddie" Davis, one of Priest's oldest colleagues. He is murdered after being forced to reveal information about Priest to Mason.
- Brian F. Durkin as Officer Turk Franklin
- Angel Love as Hot CoCo
- Terayle Hill as Dee
- Allen Maldonado as Litty, a rapper who owes money to Priest.
- Al-Jaleel Knox as Shooter
- Rick Ross as Racks
- Adriyan Rae as Candice
- Renée Victor as Esmeralda Gonzalez
- Sean Garrett as Funeral Singer
- Crystal Nicole as Funeral Singer
- 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 101 reviews, and an average rating of 5.29/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Superfly updates the blaxploitation original with a stylish remake that's exciting and visually arresting enough to offer its own slickly staged action rewards, but disappointingly short on social subtext." 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."
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