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Hot Trailer: ‘Fruitvale Station’

By | Saturday May 11, 2013 @ 12:11pm PDT

Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights) stars in Fruitvale Station as Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old Bay Area man whose fatal 2009 shooting by Oakland BART police sparked outrage and protests against police brutality. The Weinstein Co. nabbed Ryan Coogler’s directorial debut out of Sundance for $2 million before it won the fest’s U.S. Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. Now the pic’s set for a July 12 release, eyeing awards season. Check out the trailer:

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Sundance Hit ‘Fruitvale’ Gets New Name

By | Wednesday April 17, 2013 @ 2:20pm PDT

The Weinstein Company picked up Fruitvale, about the fatal 2009 shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on San Francisco’s BART by security guards, during the Sundance Festival for north of $2 million. It was one of the biggest deals of the fest, and the Ryan Coogler-directed drama went on to win Sundance’s U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. Now the distributor has changed the film’s name to Fruitvale Station. It remains set for a July 26 release and will be part of TWC’s Oscar-season arsenal for its story about the final day of Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a young man who has been in trouble with the law but is decent at heart and tries to straighten out his life to care for his girlfriend and young daughter. The shooting galvanized protests against police brutality in Oakland.

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Forest Whitaker Takes Over Richard Pryor Biopic, Producing With Comic’s Widow

By | Thursday March 28, 2013 @ 9:59am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Fresh from producing the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner Fruitvale, Forest Whitaker has taken over the nearly 20-year effort to bring the turbulent life of stand-up comedy legend Richard Pryor to the big screen. Whitaker is  teaming with the late comedian’s widow, Jennifer Pryor, to produce the film through his Significant Productions shingle. Whitaker will develop a new script with input from Jennifer Pryor, and Significant Productions’ Nina Yang-Bongiovi, will also produce.

The Pryor biopic has been attempted numerous times, and the most recent version had Bill Condon poised to direct Marlon Wayans in the starring role for Sony Pictures, where Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison had set the project. Condon was certainly passionate about Pryor, but everything took a back seat when he signed on to helm the final two Twilight Saga installments. The project languished.

This was just the latest of many prior incarnations. The first was a Martin Scorsese-directed drama to star Damon Wayans, this well before Pryor died in 2005. Later, there was a Showtime pic that was to star Eddie Griffin and another attempt at a feature that was to star Mike Epps with Kasi Lemmons directing. Condon’s first flirtation had Eddie Murphy briefly interested, and then Chris Rock was briefly in the conversation. Pryor had an unbelievable life, from growing up in a brothel, rising to become comedy’s biggest stage … Read More »

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Sundance Awards 2013: ‘Fruitvale’ & ‘Blood Brother’ Win Grand Jury; Dramatic Directing Goes To Jill Soloway Of ‘Afternoon Delight’

Fruitvale and Blood Brother were the big winners tonight at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Awards. Fruitvale, about the fatal shooting of 22-year old Oscar Grant on San Francisco’s BART by security guards in 2009, won both the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Dramatic and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award. “This will not be the last time you guys walked to a podium,” said former Fox Filmed Entertainment Co-Chair Tom Rothman as he gave the Grand Jury Prize to the Fruitvale filmmakers. The documentary Blood Brother also had a double win tonight. It took home the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary and the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary. Jill Soloway won the Directing Award for U.S. Dramatic for Afternoon Delight and Zachary Heinzerling took the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary for Cutie And The Boxer. The fast-paced ceremony was hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who had his own directorial feature debut Don Jon’s Addiction premiere at this year’s Festival and was picked up by Relativity Media for a summer release.  Check out the full list of tonight’s winners:

U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Award

Fruitvale / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ryan Coogler) — The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family and strangers on the last day of 2008. Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O’Reilly, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray.

A very emotional director Ryan Coogler gave … Read More »

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Sundance: The Weinstein Company Acquires ‘Fruitvale’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: The Weinstein Company has confirmed Deadline’s break on this deal. Release appears below original story.

EXCLUSIVE: Harvey Weinstein is salting his Oscar arsenal for next year. After a heated auction with numerous bidders, The Weinstein Company is in exclusive negotiations to acquire Fruitvale for a bit north of $2 million, and a commitment for a big theatrical release. Deal covers English-speaking territories, I hear. The Ryan Coogler-directed drama is about the last day in the life of 22-year-old Oscar Grant before he was killed in a case that galvanized protests against police brutality in Oakland. It is the first big theatrical deal for Weinstein at the festival. The bidding on this one has been going hot and heavy since last night with multiple distributors. Weinstein got into exclusive deal talks after late-hour negotiating that also included Fox Searchlight, Paramount Pictures, Focus Features and CBS Films.

Related: Sundance: Is ‘Fruitvale’ This Year’s ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’? Read More »

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Sundance: Is ‘Fruitvale’ This Year’s ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’? 7-Figure Auction To Be Decided Monday Morning

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Fruitvale, the Ryan Coogler-directed drama about the last day in the life of 22-year-old Oscar Grant before he was killed in a case that galvanized protests against police brutality in Oakland, is at the center of a multi-distributor auction that will be wrapped up first thing Monday morning at Sundance. I’m hearing that the deal will be worth just north of a $2 million minimum guarantee with commitments for screen commitments and a theatrical release, with P&A. The suitors in the mix at this late hour are led by The Weinstein Company and Fox Searchlight, with Paramount Pictures and Focus Features in the mix. Read More »

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