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"This is a big Hollywood production, so they’re looking to expand Em to different demographics, but we didn’t want to turn off his core audience. It’s not like he wants to be a big movie star."
——Em’s manager Paul Rosenberg

INTERSCOPE’S 8 MILE HIGH

Eminem’s Team in Place to Deliver Another Blockbuster
Rock had its Rebel Without a Cause, disco its Saturday Night Fever and funk its Purple Rain.

And if advance word is to be believed, hip-hop now has its own major cinematic statement in Eminem’s 8 Mile, directed by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys), promising a realistic view of Detroit’s multi-racial rap community.

The Universal film, produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Oscar winner Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) with Interscope Geffen A&M’s Jimmy Iovine and Hanson, opens Nov. 8, with the equally anticipated Shady/ Interscope/UMG Soundtrax soundtrack hitting retail on Oct. 29. The first single, "Lose Yourself," is already all over radio.

After the stunning success of The Eminem Show, still lodged in the Top 10 after its May release with upward of 6 million sold OTC, the 8 Mile soundtrack is on point to give the controversial rapper the two best-selling albums of the year.

The soundtrack includes three new songs from Eminem, including the first single, the title track and "Rabbit Run," as well as "Love Me," with Shady/Aftermath labelmates 50 Cent and Obie Trice. There’s new music from Shady/Aftermath group D12 and management stablemate Xzibit, along with Jay-Z, Nas, Rakim, Macy Gray and Gang Starr. A free Shady/Aftermath sampler and enhanced CD will be included in the first 2 million copies, the approximate size of the initial shipment.

Says IGA sales & marketing head Steve Berman, a noted Em confidante: "This project has been a couple of years in the making. The support of Imagine, Universal, Shady and Interscope has come together in what will be a historic moment for hip-hop in film. Unfortunately, my part ended up on the cutting-room floor."

The film, loosely based on Eminem’s own life story, takes place in the mid-’90s and features the superstar as Jimmy "Rabbit" Smith. The wannabe rapper lives in a trailer with his alcoholic mother (Kim Basinger) in a white-trash neighborhood separated from Detroit’s poor, urban black community by the titular 8 Mile roadway. The film co-stars Brittany Murphy as his wife and Mekhi Phifer as a rapper who takes him under his wing; Xzibit also has a role as a hip-hop competitor.

"You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow," he sings in "Lose Yourself." "Cuz opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo."

Em’s manager Paul Rosenberg, an executive producer of the film, says: "We’re really proud to have been able to document hip-hop history and the Detroit scene back then. This is a big Hollywood production, so they’re looking to expand Em to different demographics, but we didn’t want to turn off his core audience. It’s not like he wants to be a big movie star."

Promotion/marketing initiatives include:

  • Video co-directed by Eminem and Rosenberg premiered on MTV Tuesday (10/15).
  • MTV Jammed (11/6), Movie House, TRL (11/8).
  • BET Hood Tour week of release, 106 & Park (11/8).
  • Covers of last Sunday’s L.A. Times Calendar section, Entertainment Weekly, Spin (November.), Vibe (October).
  • In-theater marketing through street teams.
  • CD will contain a unique pin number for fans to access exclusive Web content.
  • The film was previewed at the Mix Show Power Summit in Puerto Rico.
  • A surprise performance last Friday (10/11) with D12 after a screening of the movie at Michigan State University taped for MTV Jammed.
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