Friday is a 1995 American stoner comedy film directed by F. Gary Gray in his directorial debut. It stars Ice Cube, who also co-wrote the film, and Chris Tucker. It is the first installment in Friday franchise. The film chronicles approximately 16 hours in the lives of unemployed friends Craig Jones (Cube) and Smokey (Tucker), who must pay a local drug dealer $200 by 10:00 p.m.
While developing the film, Ice Cube and co-writer DJ Pooh expressed discontent regarding the portrayal of the hood in film, which they came to see as too violent and menacing. As a result, they wished to emphasize the positive aspects of life in the hood, and drew on a number of personal experiences when crafting the characters and plot points.
Preparations for the film began after the pair were able to secure funding from New Line Cinema, who granted finance in exchange for a seasoned comedian in one of the lead roles. During casting, Ice Cube and DJ Pooh quickly settled on Tucker. Principal photography began in September 1994 in Los Angeles, and filming was complete by December 1994.
Friday was theatrically released in the United States on April 26, 1995. The film received positive reviews from critics, many of whom praised the comedic sequences, writing, and acting performances. The film was also a commercial success, grossing over $28 million worldwide. It has subsequently obtained a large cult following, inspiring an internet meme and several pop culture references.
The film is also notable for kickstarting the acting career of Tucker, who was previously known mostly for stand-up comedy specials. It also earned Ice Cube credence as a filmmaker in Hollywood. Friday subsequently launched a media franchise, and was followed by the sequels Next Friday (2000) and Friday After Next (2002).