We Are Your Friends (film)

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We Are Your Friends
We Are Your Friends.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Max Joseph
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Max Joseph
  • Meaghan Oppenheimer
Story by Richard Silverman
Starring
Cinematography Brett Pawlak
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by StudioCanal
Warner Bros.
Release date
  • August 11, 2015 (2015-08-11) (London)
  • August 28, 2015 (2015-08-28) (United States)
Running time
96 minutes[1]
Country
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • France
Language English
Budget $2 million[2]
Box office $11.1 million[3]

We Are Your Friends is a 2015 drama film directed by Max Joseph (in his directorial debut) and written by Joseph and Meaghan Oppenheimer, from a story by Richard Silverman. The film stars Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski and Wes Bentley, and follows a young Los Angeles DJ trying to make it in the music industry and figure out life with his friends.

The film was released in the United States by Warner Bros. on August 28, 2015. Its financier, StudioCanal, distributed it in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. The film received mixed reviews and grossed $11 million.

Plot[edit]

Cole Carter (Zac Efron), a former track star and struggling 23-year-old DJ in the electronic dance music (EDM) scene, dreams of becoming a major record producer. He constantly reminds himself that his plan to rise to the top consists of three things: a laptop, some talent, and one track. Cole lives with his friend, Mason (Jonny Weston), and they would usually hang out along with their friends, Ollie (Shiloh Fernandez) and Squirrel (Alex Shaffer), around their native San Fernando Valley. With Mason's help and his friends heavily promoting at college campuses, Cole finally books a gig to DJ at a local nightclub, where he meets the headliner, a once-innovative DJ, James Reed (Wes Bentley). After their gigs, Cole finally comes face-to-face with James, sharing a joint together. James invites Cole to tag along at a party where Cole starts to hallucinate because the joint they shared contained Phencyclidine (PCP). The morning after, Cole wakes up at James' house where he is introduced to Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski), James' girlfriend and personal assistant, who voluntarily drives him home.

After their earnings from the event do not meet their satisfaction, they turn to their friend, Paige (Jon Bernthal), who runs a real estate solutions firm, to which the four are employed. Later, James calls Cole to serve as a DJ at his house party, a paid gig. After explaining to Sophie the key mechanics of DJ-ing, James sees the potential in Cole, who is then interrupted by his three friends arriving at the party. After a fight between Mason and one of James' guests breaks out, James forgives Cole for his friend's actions. From there, James takes Cole as his student. After listening to Cole's original song, James criticizes Cole for imitating other well-known producers, like Skrillex, and he openly suggests to use organic sounds for an original vibe. The two then co-create a song together using that technique, along with vocals from Sophie, which is met with success at the local nightclub. One night, James suggests that Cole would escort Sophie to a soirée hosted by her college classmates, where he learns more of her past, which causes a fight. Sophie later thanks him for standing up for her. Cole and his friends head to Las Vegas for a music festival, where he strays away from his group to meet up with Sophie, who James ditched. Sophie then gives Cole MDMA, and they quickly fall for each other, and they run away together to the Las Vegas Strip, riding the High Roller, and checking into the Paris Las Vegas where they dance and end up having passionate sex.

Back in San Fernando, James invites Cole over to watch an MMA fight with him and Sophie. An awkward moment ends up with Sophie telling Cole to accept what happened and to leave it alone, and James gives Cole a new MacBook Pro and the opportunity to open for him at Summer Fest, a popular music festival. One day, Cole and Paige meet up with Tanya Romero (Alicia Coppola), whose house is undergoing foreclosure. During the negotiation, Paige buys her house and rents it back to her, with the intention to sell it quickly for a substantial price, which angers Cole. While James' alcoholism begins to affect Sophie, he and Cole go to a strip club for his birthday. Cole falls ill and James finds out about Cole's relationship with Sophie, severing ties with him. Returning to his three friends, it is revealed that Squirrel has been looking for better jobs due to his intellect and Mason has rented a house for all of them. After intense partying with drugs and alcohol, Squirrel is found unconscious that morning, and later dies from an overdose. After the funeral, the remaining friends begin to question their future, ending up going their separate ways when Mason blames Ollie for the drugs that Squirrel overdosed on. Cole visits James, whose alcoholism completely consumed him, to let him know of Squirrel's death and it could have possibly have been his fault, to which James consoles him and also tells him that Sophie moved to the San Fernando Valley and works at a local coffee shop, where he later visits her.

While taking a run, the battery of Cole's phone goes dead, causing his music to stop playing. Upon closer observation, he listens to his surroundings which inspires him to record samples and integrate it into his long-awaited track. Cole then calls and tells James that he has something for Summer Fest, which he gives him another chance. The festival is set outside the American Apparel building in Los Angeles. Cole releases his track, which contains snippets of his conversations with Sophie and Squirrel, and he later uses Squirrel's quote "Are We Ever Going To Be Better Than This?" as a hook before the beat drop. When the song ends, Cole is met with enthusiastic acclaim from the audience and James. The film concludes with Sophie going back to college, Ollie reading for an audition, Mason handling the nightclub, and Cole remaining positive about his future and creating a proper relationship with Sophie.

In the Mid-credits scene, Tanya opens her front door to an Adidas box that Cole has been saving all of his earnings in throughout the film.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

On June 6, 2014, Efron entered negotiations to star in an untitled film about a DJ, which was set to be directed by Max Joseph.[4] The film is Joseph's debut. On July 31, 2014, Ratajkowski joined the cast of the film, which by then had been given the title We Are Your Friends, and had a start date of August 18 announced for principal photography.[5] The name came from the 2006 Justice vs. Simian song "We Are Your Friends".[6] Jon Abrahams joined the cast on August 5,[7] Alicia Coppola on August 14,[8] and Wes Bentley on August 18.[9] By that point, Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez, and Alex Shaffer had also signed on to star.[5][7] In late September, the film cast background actors.[10]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began on August 18, 2014, in the San Fernando Valley.[9][11] Joseph co-wrote the adapted screenplay with Meaghan Oppenheimer, based on a Richard Silverman story. Working Title Films partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner co-produced the film, which was financed by StudioCanal. Silverman was an executive producer.[5] StudioCanal is the worldwide distributor.[12] The promotional tour for the film included stops in London, Paris and 6 North American cities (Toronto, Miami, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco).[13]

Animation[edit]

A critically noted scene in the film involves animation depicting Cole's PCP hallucinations at a swanky LA art gallery. Rotoscoping was used to achieve this effect.

Release[edit]

In November 2014, Warner Bros. acquired the film's North American distribution rights.[14] Two weeks later, StudioCanal announced that international distribution had been sold in several markets.[15] On April 28, 2015, Warner Bros. set the film for an August 28, 2015 release.[16] The film was eventually released for home video on November 17, 2015, however, only on DVD in North America.[17] The Blu-ray was only released in region B (UK, Europe, Oceania, Middle East, Africa) on December 17, 2015.[18]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

We Are Your Friends grossed $3.6 million in North America and $7.5 million in other territories for a total gross of $11.1 million.[3]

It made $1.8 million in its opening weekend, finishing 14th at the box office. Box Office Mojo reports with a 2,333 theater count, the film grossed an average $758 from each venue, making it the fourth worst debut for a film with a 2,000+ theater average. It was surpassed later in the year by Rock the Kasbah ($731 average) and Jem and the Holograms ($570), both of which opened on October 23, 2015.[19]

Critical response[edit]

We Are Your Friends received mixed reviews from critics, although Efron's performance received praise. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 40% based on 120 reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. The site's consensus reads, "We Are Your Friends boasts magnetic stars and glimmers of insight, but they're lost in a clichéd coming-of-age story as programmed as the soundtrack's beats."[20] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 46 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[21] According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[22]

The Hollywood Reporter's Film Critics named Efron one their favorite performances of 2015, ranking him second, for his role of Cole Carter, saying, "And while the picture's box-office returns didn't exactly pump up the volume, this 28-year-old Tyrone Power clone increasingly ranks among the most exciting American actors of his generation."[23] Bilge Ebiri of Vulture.com notes that Ratajkowski's role takes a back seat to the love triangle's central Efron/Bentley relationship.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS (15)". British Board of Film Classification. August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ "We Are Your Friends (2015) – Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "We Are Your Friends (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  4. ^ Armitage, Hugh (June 6, 2014). "Zac Efron in talks for Max Joseph's untitled DJ film". Digital Spy. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Fleming, Mike, Jr. (July 31, 2014). "'Blurred Lines' Stunner Emily Ratajkowski Lands Lead Opposite Zac Efron In 'We Are Your Friends'". Deadline.com. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  6. ^ Levine, Nick (May 20, 2015). "New trailer for Zac Efron's EDM movie 'We Are Your Friends' released". NME. Retrieved September 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (August 5, 2014). "'Scary Movie's' Jon Abrahams Joins Zac Efron in EDM Movie 'We Are Your Friends' (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Edy Ganem Toplines 'Ana Maria'; Charlie Carver Joins 'Michael'; Alicia Coppola Cast In 'We Are Your Friends'". Deadline.com. August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Fleming, Mike, Jr. (August 18, 2014). "Wes Bentley Joins Zac Efron In 'We Are Your Friends'". Deadline.com. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  10. ^ "L.A. Now Casting 'We Are Your Friends' and Upcoming Auditions". Backstage. September 26, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ Lopez, John (August 18, 2014). "Working up a sweat! Zac Efron enjoys a vigorous run on the set of his latest movie We Are Your Friends". Mail Online. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  12. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (November 19, 2014). "AFM: Studiocanal Widely Sells Zac Efron Starrer 'We Are Your Friends'". Variety. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 
  13. ^ ""We Are Your Friends" Takes to the Streets". Warner Brothers. August 7, 2015. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (November 5, 2014). "Zac Efron DJ Movie Acquired by Warner Bros.". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  15. ^ Roxborough, Scott (November 19, 2014). "AFM: Zac Efron Film 'We Are Your Friends' Sells Out Worldwide". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  16. ^ Pedersen, Erik (April 28, 2015). "Warner Bros Dates EDM Pic 'We Are Your Friends' For Summer". Deadline.com. Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  17. ^ "We Are Your Friends (DVD)". Amazon.com. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  18. ^ "We Are Your Friends (Blu-ray+Ultraviolet)". Blockbuster. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  19. ^ "WORST WIDE OPENINGS 1982–present". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  20. ^ "We Are Your Friends (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  21. ^ "We Are Your Friends reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  22. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Zac Efron – The Dazzling Dozen: THR Film Critics' Favorite Performances of 2015". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 13, 2015. 
  24. ^ Ebiri, Bilge (August 28, 2015). "We Are Your Friends Works. I Can't Believe It, Either.". Vulture.com. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 

External links[edit]