Bodied, a satirical hip-hop film produced by rapper Eminem, will get a public release on YouTube. The company announced its acquisition of the movie today, along with a preview of the film at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21st. A theatrical release will follow later in 2018, and Bodied will also play on YouTube Red, the company’s streaming subscription service.
Bodied director Joseph Kahn emerged from the commercial world, and has an extensive body of high-profile music videos made with artists including Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Eminem, and Katy Perry. (He later had a public falling out with Lady Gaga over the direction of the video for her song “The Edge of Glory.”) His previous films include the 2011 horror movie Detention and the Ice Cube biker movie Torque. He’s also made a “gritty” Power Rangers short.
The Toronto International Film Festival, which screened Kahn’s film in 2017, describes it as a story about Adam (Calum Worth), a “white, purportedly progressive graduate student who infiltrates a community of diverse battle rappers for the sake of an edgy thesis.” Responses to the film have been mostly positive, with outlets like The Hollywood Reporter praising its cast, and Indiewire describing it as “pure zany fun disguised as a pure provocation” — though many critics have described it as overlong.
YouTube has been trying to beef up its film and TV collection over the past few years. In summer 2017, it bought 10 episodes of a Karate Kid sequel series featuring the stars of the original 1984 movie. YouTube outbid Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and AMC for the series, marking a serious interest in competing with other big-name streaming services.