“8 Mile” celebrated its 15th anniversary Wednesday night at the Bel Air Luxury Cinema on 8 Mile Road, the same theater that held the film’s premiere in 2002.
Eminem, caught in rehearsals for his performance on Sunday’s MTV Europe Music Awards, was a no-show on Wednesday, but several other stars from the film walked the red carpet set up inside the theater’s lobby prior to the scheduled 7 p.m. screenings. Among them was Omar Miller, who played Sol George, and Detroit rapper Miz Korona, who shared a memorable scene with rapper Xzibit in the film. Rapper T3 of Slum Village and Eminem’s D12 bandmate, producer and on-stage hypeman Denaun Porter were also in attendance.
“It’s kind of like watching your life on the screen,” said Porter, who said he last watched “8 Mile” a couple of months ago when he was in a hotel room and it was playing on cable. “It’s still weird to watch it, but I think it means a lot, and it transcended the whole world. It’s kind of crazy.”
“8 Mile” opened on Nov. 8, 2002. It earned $116 million at the North American box office and scored a huge $51 million opening weekend, at the time the second highest opening weekend gross for an R-rated film.
The Bel Air cinema had “8 Mile” showing in multiple auditoriums on Wednesday. Ticket sales from the screenings benefited the Verses Project, a music literacy program through Detroit’s Commnity Music School and Michigan State University.
Thursday night at Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, an “8 Mile”-style rap battle will be held, also in accordance with the film’s 15th anniversary.
Several deaths have occurred in the “8 Mile” family over the years. Director Curtis Hanson died in 2016, and rapper Prodigy — one half of New York rap duo Mobb Deep, who perform “8 Mile’s” opening song, “Shook Ones, Pt. II” — died earlier this year. Actress Brittany Murphy, who plays the love interest to Eminem’s character, died in 2009.
Porter says “8 Mile” still resonates because of its authenticity.
“There’s not another movie like it,” he said, comparing it to hip-hop classics like “Krush Groove” and “Tougher than Leather.” “It was just something that happened, and it fit, it worked. It wasn’t done in a corny way, it wasn’t done in a way where it was forced, it was a true story, in a sense. The names were changed, but it’s a true story.”