All of Hollywood had their eyes on the box office of popular hip hop group Outkast’s Idlewild from Universal this weekend since, historically, musicians who try to crossover into film rarely have luck although rap and hip hop artists have had a better time of it than most. (Eminem’s 8 Mile…) Playing in just 973 theaters, the Universal movie did $2.1 mil Friday and $2.2 mil Saturday which puts its weekend opening total at $5.9 mil. I, for one, wish Outkast had done something more contemporary than this tired Harlem Nights retread (and that movie killed Eddie Murphy’s film career, for awhile). But its per-screen average was a jazzy $6,055 despite mixed reviews. Meanwhile, MSNBC.com provides some compelling yes-and-no answers to the eternally asked question, Is Outkast breaking up? (Please, god, no. I love these guys…)
Argument: OutKast is over… The Idlewild soundtrack stinks! The movie stinks too! It’s a rap musical set in the 30s — that’s just stupid (some say). Andre “3000″ Patton’s tough-guy speakeasy owner and Antwan “Big Boi” Benjamin’s tortured piano player are two-dimensional, and neither has the acting chops to make up for it. Director Bryan Barber comes from music videos, and his nausea-inducing jump cuts make it show. Plus, all the female characters are either harpies or hos. André only wants to sing and be weird. They haven’t really worked together for six years. All their outside interests keep them from the hip-hop. Benjamin is developing a clothing line and working on a Cartoon Network series. This fall, Patton releases his second solo record on his own label, Purple Ribbon. Both are pursing acting careers. (Besides “Idlewild,” Benjamin’s been in Four Brothers and Be Cool and Patton got great reviews in ATL.) High school couples never stay together. Ask Dr. Phil
Argument: OutKast is forever… The Idlewild soundtrack is misunderstood. The movie has a lot going for it. OutKast is, was, and will always be about experimentation. Big Boi and former presidential candidate Wesley Clark agree. (In a 2003 campaign ad, Clark tells some young constituents, “I don’t care what the other candidates say, I don’t think OutKast is really breaking up.” And in a recent AP interview, Patton confirmed it. “All them haters would love for us to break up … sorry haters!”) It’s good for couples to have outside interests. Ask Dr. Phil.