Why ‘Friday’ Probably Wouldn’t Exist Without ‘House Party’
Ice Cube didn’t only make a hit comedy with 1995’s Friday. He transformed the film into a pop culture phenomenon. But none of that success might have been possible without another hit a few years earlier, namely 1990’s hip hop comedy House Party. Here’s why Friday might not have gotten made if Kid ‘n Play didn’t pave the way for Ice Cube and Chris Tucker’s breakthrough movie.
‘Friday’ wasn’t a sure thing in the mid-1990s
When Ice Cube and DJ Pooh co-wrote Friday, neither had much experience in Hollywood. Ice Cube had appeared in a few films — most notably 1991’s Oscar-nominated Boyz n the Hood — but he was hardly a proven movie star just yet. And DJ Pooh was known almost exclusively for his music. Meanwhile, director F. Gary Gray had never helmed a feature before, having worked mostly on music videos for artists like Outkast, Queen Latifah, and Ice Cube himself.
As a result, Ice Cube faced an uphill battle in getting his and DJ Pooh’s vision for Friday made. This included finding a more well-known actor to play opposite Ice Cube as Smokey. Initially, DJ Pooh was in line for that role. But the studio, writers, and director all eventually decided that Tucker would be the best choice for it. If House Party hadn’t happened first, Friday might have been a very different movie when all was said and done.
‘House Party’ paved the way for Ice Cube’s classic
As Ice Cube told Complex, he and DJ Pooh knew “nobody in Hollywood would understand the comedy in Friday.” At first, he and DJ Pooh planned to fund the movie themselves, even opening up a pre-production office to get started. Eventually, the project — after little to no interest from the industry — made its way to New Line Cinema. Because the company had made House Party (and its two sequels) by that point, Ice Cube felt their chances were strong.
“We thought it was a good bet because New Line was already in the business of doing these kinds of movies. They had done House Party. They understood the black movie market,” Ice Cube told Complex. Moreover, New Line had already worked with Tucker on House Party 3. So when Ice Cube, DJ Pooh, and Gray decided he was right for Smokey, this made the casting that much smoother. The chemistry between Tucker and Ice Cube made Friday work.
Could Ice Cube revive ‘Friday’ 20 years later?
Kid ‘n Play appeared in four of the five House Party movies produced between 1990 and 2013. And much like House Party, Friday developed into a popular franchise. Ice Cube returned for two sequels in 2000 and 2004, though Tucker never reprised his role. And just like House Party, the Friday franchise could be due for a resurgence.
A new House Party is set to hit HBO Max in 2022. Likewise, Ice Cube continues to discuss the possibility of a fourth and final entry in the Friday series, titled Last Friday. If that movie happens, it will be nearly 20 years since the previous movie. Until it does, all three Friday films are streaming on HBO Max.