‘Dope’ Returning to Theaters

New Dope Trailer

After garnering all sorts of praise at Sundance, Rick Famuyiwa‘s Dope opened in theaters earlier this year to disappointing numbers. Apparently audiences just weren’t interested in a coming-of-age story set in inner-city Los Angeles, against a ’90s hip-hop soundtrack.

… Except, of course, they totally were, because Straight Outta Compton is currently killing it at the box office. So Open Road is making a second play for box office gold, putting Dope back in theaters this weekend. More on the Dope re-release after the jump. 

Pharrell Williams (who wrote four original songs for the film) announced the Dope re-release news on Twitter.

Coming off of Sundance, Dope felt like the little movie that could. With a reported budget of just $700,000 the low-key charmer scored a $7 million deal at the festival — one of this year’s biggest. Open Road then set it for a wide release in a plum summer slot. But for whatever reason, it fizzled once it actually hit theaters. To date, it’s made $16 million — not terrible for an indie, but less than Open Road might have hoped.

Which is too bad, because Dope is a film well worth seeing. It’s a little messy, but it benefits from a fresh, unpredictable energy and what should be a star-making turn by Shameik Moore. And for what it’s worth, it probably would make a pretty good companion piece to Straight Outta Compton — they’re very different movies but share enough DNA to appeal to the same audiences.

Labor Day weekend is always a slow one for theaters, and the pickings are usually slim. Dope will be up against new wide releases The Transporter Refueled and A Walk in the Woods, a limited release of Chris Evans’ directorial debut Before We Go, the second weekend of the surprise religious hit War Room, and the fourth weekend of Straight Outta Compton.

A critical hit and audience favorite out of the Sundance Film Festival, in DOPE, Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself.

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