In one of the great no-brainers in the history of movie marketing, New Line Cinema will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film “Friday” by releasing a director’s cut of the cult classic stoner comedy in 700 theaters for one night only on April 20, 2015.
“Friday” depicts a day in the life of two Los Angeles residents, Craig, played by Ice Cube, who wrote the film with DJ Pooh, and Smokey, played by Chris Tucker, as they smoke out and fret about settling a $200 debt to an enormous drug dealing thug named Deebo, played by Tiny “Zeus” Lister. Directed by F. Gary Gray, the film grossed nearly $28 million upon initial release and spawned two sequels, “Next Friday” released in 2000 and “Friday After Next” in 2002.
“Friday” is a major touchstone film for many who came of age in the mid-to-late 1990s; a sleepover standby, a film whose dialogue might be heard shouted across virtually any suburban school bus in the breaks between quotes from “Austin Powers.” Chris Tucker’s performance as Smokey launched him as a major star, although he declined to return for either sequel, and the film’s popularity helped launch the careers of John Witherspoon and the late Bernie Mac.
April 26, 2015, actually marks the official 20th anniversary of the film’s release, but it’s unlikely that anyone will question New Line’s decision to jump ahead a week and cash in on the underground cannabis holiday that seems to be seeping more and more into the mainstream consciousness each year. Last year, thousands gathered in Colorado and Washington state on what some outlets are now calling “Weed Day” to celebrate cannabis culture by smoking, listening to live music and rallying for other states to get in legalization. It’s not hard to imagine a future where April 20 celebrations are as widespread as those for March 17—minus the religious connection, but with just as much flaunting of the color green.
New Line remains mum on what new content the director’s cut might include. Fresh footage of Smokey berating Craig? More of Deebo glaring ominously? An extended take of John Witherspoon grouchily storming around the house in a haze of smoke? It’s up to those lucky enough to score tickets to fill the rest of us in. Ticketholders will also be treated to a new 24-minute featurette, “Friday Straight Up,” featuring new interviews and appreciations from cast and crew. New Line is also planning to re-release the film’s double-platinum selling soundtrack, featuring hits by Ice Cube and Cypress Hill amongst others, on vinyl on April 14.