Last September at the Toronto International Film Festival, Joseph Kahn‘s battle rap movie Bodied debuted to rave reviews from critics and general audiences alike. And then it disappeared. It wasn’t until mid-January that we learned the film had been acquired by YouTube Red, and even then, details about its eventual release were scant — until now.
Collider has exclusively learned that YouTube Red is partnering with NEON to give Bodied a wide release in theaters on November 2nd. That means it will open against another music-driven movie — Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody — as well as Disney’s Nutcracker and the Four Realms, though we suspect that film and Bodied won’t cannibalize each other too badly at the box office, given how they appeal to completely different audiences. The deal isn’t quite done yet, so it still remains unclear when Bodied will be available to watch on YouTube Red, as there will likely be some kind of exclusive theatrical window.
Bodied stars Calum Worthy (American Vandal) as Adam, a progressive graduate student who finds success and sparks outrage when his interest in battle rap as a thesis subject becomes a competitive obsession. The lead character is clearly modeled after Eminem, who produced the gritty indie movie under his Shady Films banner along with Paul Rosenberg and Adi Shankar.
It’s worth noting that Bodied writer Alex Larsen is a longtime battle rapper himself, which makes sense, as the rhymes are just too good to have been written by someone outside the real game. Visually, Kahn throws a bunch of interesting styles at the wall to see what sticks, though it’s the words that have the real weight here, and those words will no doubt be met with controversy in some hyper-sensitive Twitter circles. Obviously, Bodied isn’t for the easily offended, but those who appreciate things like, say, free speech, will appreciate how everyone is a victim, and no one is left spared. The film’s real target is political correctness itself.
Bodied makes perfect sense for NEON’s budding brand, which includes the upcoming release of Assassination Nation. The company had a solid hit earlier this summer with the acclaimed documentary Three Identical Strangers. Its future releases also include the Sundance drama Monsters and Men, and Harmony Korine‘s The Beach Bum starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron and Snoop Dogg.
In addition to Bohemian Rhapsody and The Nutcracker, Bodied will open against Amazon’s Suspiria remake, Focus’ conversion therapy drama Boy Erased, and Paramount’s Tiffany Haddish comedy Nobody’s Fool.