Ice Cube and WarnerMedia’s legal battle over their popular Friday franchise is now threatening to permanently stop the production of its long-delayed fourth entry, Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. Over the past several weeks, the series’ actor-producer and the entertainment company that owns the franchise’s studio, New Line Cinema, have sent each other heated letters over the fate of the anticipated third sequel.
Last Friday, which has bee in development since 2012, isn’t close to starting production, in part because of the filmmaker and WarnerMedia’s disagreements over the comedy’s creative direction. The delay is also a result of accusations that neither side is sincerely putting work into the project and allegations over who’s truly causing the standstill in production.
Much of the tension that Ice Cube specifically has with Warner Bros., which oversees New Line Cinema, in particular is over the movie’s script. The filmmaker, who also write the screenplays for the series’ first three installments, originally set the first draft of Last Friday in a prison. But he went on to claim that the studio told him “prison isn’t funny.” Executives form Warner Bros. also said “they felt the fans of the franchise wanted to see the characters in their familiar settings instead of behind bars for much of the movie.”
So Ice Cube wrote a second draft of the screenplay, but didn’t agree with the feedback he received from Warner Bros. The scribe’s lawyers added in their letters to the studio that he “viewed the entire editing process as a way to delay getting cameras rolling.” In response to his claims, Warner Bros. released a statement that allege that Ice Cube’s claims are “revisionist history” and blame Last Friday‘s delays on his “camp’s unwillingness to engage with the studio.”
As a result of their interactions, Ice Cube wants Warner Bros. to surrender its rights to the Friday franchise, as well as two other movies he made for them, All About the Benjamins and The Players Club, according to the letters his lawyer sent to the studio. In their response, executives from Warner Bros. called the demand “extortionate,” and said it won’t release rights to the Friday series, or any other of the star’s films, to him.