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 film and a remake of the 1972 blaxploitation film Super Fly, following a career criminal who tries to get out of the Atlanta drug scene, only to have one bad deal put him in harm's way. 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. He lives like a king with his two girlfriends, Georgia and Cynthia, who know about each other. One night, Juju, a member of a gang called Snow Patrol, hits on Cynthia and is furious when he finds out that she is dating Priest. Confronting him outside the strip club against Snow Patrol leader Q's wishes, he shoots at Priest 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 with his second-in-command Eddie, explaining that he wants out of the drug-dealing scene, and that he has a plan. Eddie initially resists, but eventually says that he has his back. Priest also lets Scatter know, who says that he will not help him. After a hit is made on a bunch of Snow Patrol members, Juju suspects Priest and plans to get back at him. One of Priest's colleagues, Fat Freddy, is caught cheating on his girlfriend, who in return gives information to Snow Patrol about where Freddie was that day, finding out that he was one of the assailants.
Snow Patrol was waiting to ambush Fat Freddy. While waiting, Fat Freddy gets pulled over by Officer Franklin and Officer Franklin investigates his car. Dirty cop, Detective Mason, acquires the cocaine and searches Freddie's phone, finding Eddie in his contacts. She orders Freddie to reveal where he got the cocaine, holding a gun to his head. He refuses to give up information, but his new girlfriend, Rochelle, fearing for his life, reveals his collaborations and who Priest is. Freddie and Rochelle are released, but Officer Franklin shoots both of them to death so no information can be leaked.
Mason finds Priest and blackmails him, threatening to open her mouth about his dealing if he does not comply. Priest tells Eddie he is the reason that Freddie is dead, but he reveals that Eddie would not have given the brick to Freddie. However, Eddie is furious at Priest, and begins a fight between them and the two are falling out. After violently strangling Eddie, Priest walks off angrily, leaving him unconscious. Later, when Priest overhears Georgia and Cynthia about the police, he stops their argument and get their passports ready. 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 deal for more product, but now is trying to get out of the drug game. Adalberto kills Scatter, revealing to Priest he realized he was stealing after Priest's profits were significantly higher than Scatter's. Adalberto threatens Priest that he can never get out the game.
Snow Patrol comes to and shoots up Priest's house. He, along with Georgia and Cynthia, fight back. Cynthia shoots at the gang members, who miss her. While she tries to cover herself, a Snow Patrol member shoots his shotgun through the ceiling, killing her. Distraught, Priest and Georgia conjure up Molotov cocktails and throw them at Juju and his partner, engulfing the surrounding area with flames. Juju escapes and chases after Priest, Q doing the same.
Juju crashes and is injured, during which Georgia shoots at Q, who crashes into a statue and is killed as a result. Eddie, after a change of heart and having strangled by Priest, is found by Juju. Eddie wants to join the winning team, but Juju shouts at him to get out of the mansion. feigns allegiance with Snow Patrol, and tricks them into going to Priest's money stash. There, the gang is ambushed and killed by Mason and other cops, alerted by Priest. Juju is killed by Mason and then steals 3 packs of cocaine out of Priest's safe.
Priest thanks Eddie for his help, and prepares to leave the country, made possible by Georgia and Cynthia before the house shootout. He blackmails the mayor with a sex tape, asking for a legal document and promising he will guarantee the Mayor wins the upcoming election.
Aldalberto is seen being restrained, as his mother is holding the court document showing he framed his brother to go to prison. She orders for him to be killed. While waiting for Priest for a blackmail money drop, Mason is surrounded by police and arrested for cocaine possession, after being setup by Priest.
Priest then meets up with Officer Franklin who killed Freddy and they have a big brawl, which results in Priest beating Officer Franklin up and breaking his arm, avenging Freddie's death. Eddie goes back to gambling, and Priest is shown relaxing on a cruise in Montenegro with Georgia.
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 48% based on 98 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.
Varietys 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."