As Universal’s Bourne sequel moves out of its August 2015 slot, the studio’s N.W.A biopic is taking its place in next summer’s schedule. Straight Outta Compton, helmed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set It Off, The Italian Job), has locked the lead cast for the origin story of the seminal gangsta rap group that burst out of the streets of Compton, CA, in the mid-1980s to spark a hip-hop revolution with politically charged songs about life in the hood.
Corey Hawkins will play the young future Beats billionaire Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell will play Eazy-E, and O’Shea Jackson Jr will play the young version of his own father, rapper-actor Ice Cube. O.G. N.W.A members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are producing alongside Matt Alvarez and Tomica Woods-Wright. Will Packer and Gray are exec producing.
Straight Outta Compton will be released August 14, 2015, going toe-to-toe — no maybe — with Relativity’s untitled Zach Galifianakis/Owen Wilson/Kristen Wiig comedy. Jackson Jr. is repped by Ziffren Brittenham, Hawkins is repped by ICM Partners, and Mitchell is repped by Tosha Mills at Talent Connexion LLC.
EXCLUSIVE: MGM is reviving its Barbershop franchise. The film company is negotiating a mid-seven-figure deal with Ice Cube to reprise his role as the catalyst for Barbershop 3. They are about to start talking to writers and I’m told the hope is to re-enlist Cedric the Entertainer and Queen Latifah as well. The 2002 original cost $12 million and grossed $75 million domestic while the 2004 sequel cost $30 million and grossed $65 million. MGM, whose late good fortunes are driven primarily by the 007 and Hobbit franchises, have clearly made franchise building a priority. There is a second Hot Tub Time Machine coming through Paramount at year’s end, Hercules has sequel aspirations, and there is the revival of the Poltergeist series. MGM is also working on the animated version of The Addams Family.
Cube has been thriving in franchise work. He reprises in Sony’s 22 Jump Street, which Sony releases June 13 with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reprising their roles as bumbling narcs. And after Universal saw Ride Along gross $146 million worldwide on a $25 million budget, the studio has greenlit the sequel to start production in late June with Cube and Kevin Hart reprising. Cube is separately producing Straight Outta Compton, the F. Gary Gray-directed adaptation of the formation of NWA, the hip-hop ensemble that launched the careers of Cube, Easy E and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It was inevitable after the huge success of Ride Alongthat Universal Pictures executives would be salivating to get the sequel together. Tim Story will direct Ride Along 2 and Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are closing to reprise their roles as the quick-witted security guard (Hart) who has his eye on his partner’s (Cube’s) sister. The film debuted five weeks ago on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend to bring in a record opening of $41.5M. It has since grossed more than $120M worldwide as of this weekend. The three-day gross on Ride Along dropped only 9% even as they shed 283 screens with $3,460 per screen. Helluva hold.
Will Packer and Cube’s Cube Vision (Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez) are coming back to produce from a script by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? A late June/early July start is planned and all are hard at work finalizing the script which is expected to have more action and am hearing that it will be more multi-cultural to expand the demos. Smart move, all, if you want to expand into the lucrative Latin American and European markets. Yes, it’s comedy but it’s also business. Ride Along is in six territories currently with expansions into other markets yet to come, but it is getting 97% of its total box office ($121.2M) from domestic. Likewise, the bankable Think Like a Man also had 95% of its box office coming from the U.S. Universal EVP Production Scott Bernstein will oversee the project for the studio. Larry Brezner is also producing and BenderSpink, executive producing. Read More »
For a guy who stands at 5-feet-4, it’s not surprising Kevin Hart wishes he “was a little bit taller.” In this music video, which Universal made as a promo for the upcoming pic Ride Along, Hart puts his own take on Skee-Lo’s “I Wish”, taking on his co-star Ice Cube and sharing his holiday wish of playing in the NBA. You’ll also see some familiar hoops-star cameos alongside Hart — could it be a preview of participants in another Universal pic, Ballers, that stars Hart and NBA star LeBron James? Ride Along hits theaters January 17. Check out the video:
Security guard and avid gamer Ben (Kevin Hart) wants to ask his girlfriend to marry him, but he wants her brother’s blessing first. Oh, the brother? He’s a tough, ill-tempered cop (Ice Cube) who refers to his potential future in-law as a “man Smurf.” So Ben must prove himself worthy by going with the brother on a ride along patrolling the streets of Atlanta. Director Tim Story’s action comedy was written by Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi and co-stars John Leguizamo, Bruce McGill, Bryan Callen and Tika Sumpter. Here’s the first full trailer for Ride Along, which Universal opens January 17:
Kevin Hart and Ice Cube headline the Tim Story-directed Ride Along, an action-comedy from Universal. Ice Cube stars as tough APD detective James who takes his sister’s future security guard husband Ben (Hart) on a 24-hour ride-along to prove that he deserves his future bride. But when the wild night leads them to the most notorious criminal in the city, James finds that his new partner’s rapid-fire mouth is just as dangerous as the bullets speeding at it. John Leguizamo and Laurence Fishburne also star. Ride Along is produced by Will Packer (Think Like A Man), Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez (Barbershop) and Larry Brezner (Good Morning, Vietnam). The pic bows wide on January 17, 2014. Check out the teaser trailer that just dropped:
EXCLUSIVE:Universal Pictures has acquired Ride Along out of turnaround from New Line and the studio has set a late October production start with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube starring, and Tim Story directing. The comedy, which has drafts from scribes that include The Dictator co-star Jason Mantzoukas, will get a rewrite from the scribe team of Matt Manfredi & Phil Hay.
The film will be produced by Cube Vision’s Ice Cube, LBI Entertainment’s Matt Alvarez with Rainforest Films’ Will Packer, and by Larry Brezner. The project had languished at New Line, partly over trying to figure out the leads, but Universal was ready to move quickly in reteaming Story, Hart and Packer after Think Like A Man, a sleeper hit that has grossed $91 million domestic for Screen Gems. Hart will play a second-grade teacher who is ready to get married, but first he must survive a Training Day-like ride-along experience with his fiancee’s tough cop brother, who doesn’t want the marriage to happen and tries to scare off the suitor. Read More »
BREAKING: As Deadline revealed earlier today, F. Gary Gray is in final talks to helm Straight Outta Compton. That’s the New Line project that traces the formation of seminal hip hop group NWA, which launched careers including Eazy E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren and DJ Yella. The group branded itself with volatile songs like Fuck tha Police and politically charges songs that reflected the growing ire of urban youth in the 1980s and set the tone for gangsta Los Angeles rap culture. The film was set up at New Line by Cube’s Cube Vision. Gray last directed Law Abiding Citizen, Be Cool and The Italian Job. He has also directed music videos for Ice Cube. Gray is repped by UTA and Principato-Young.
EXCLUSIVE: In what would be his first TV starring vehicle, Ice Cube is set to topline and executive produce Eye For An Eye, a drama series project in development at FX. The project hails from Ice Cube’s company Cube Vision and Jeff Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park, which developed the idea together.Eye For An Eye centers on a complex man, played by Ice Cube, who is a veteran paramedic. After too many years of leaving the scenes of violent crimes with a victim struggling to live in the back of his ambulance, he snaps and starts going eye for an eye. When his thirst for revenge proves addictive, his personal life spirals out of control as he tries to reconcile it with his newfound life as a vigilante. Cube and his Cube Vision partner Matt Alvarez are executive producing with Kwatinetz and Prospect Park’s TV partner Josh Barry. A search is underway for a writer to pen the script. In TV, Ice Cube is executive producing the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet? based on his 2005 movie. UTA-repped Ice Cube recurs on the series, which has a 100-episode order. On the film side, he is working with New Line on a new installment in his hit Friday franchise. He next stars in Rampart and 21 Jump Street. Both Ice Cube and Prospect Park have a relationship at FX: Ice Cube … Read More »
Oren Moverman’s corrupt LA cop drama Rampart stars Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. Millennium Entertainment plans to launch Best Actor, Director and Screenplay campaigns for Harrelson and Moverman.
New Line Cinema is in talks with Ice Cube to write, produce and star in another installment of the Friday series. Cube could be in line to direct it as well, but all that is being worked out. A TMZ report says that Chris Tucker as being in serious talks to reprise his role in the film. They have had discussions and Cube wants him, I’m told, but it’s unclear whether that part is a reality. For one thing, when I interviewed Tucker several years ago for Playboy, he told me that because of his religion, he was reticent to be depicted in the pot smoking mode as his character Smokey was in the original film. He went as far as to say that he probably now wouldn’t have taken that memorable stint in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, because of the verbal explosion of profanity and liberal use of the “N” word. Stay tuned.
Some of us are not sure what to make of this red band trailer for 21 Jump Street with Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Ice Cube in the movification of a long-ago Fox TV series about young cops going undercover in high school. The late ’80s TV show starred Johnny Depp.
EXCLUSIVE: Millennium Entertainment is putting Woody Harrelson into the Best Actor Oscar race this year, closing a $2 million U.S. rights acquisition of Rampart. That is the Oren Moverman-directed police corruption drama that Moverman wrote with L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy. The plan is to open in 20 cities and launch campaigns for Harrelson and for Moverman for Best Director and Screenplay. A deal for Canadian rights is expected to close shortly. Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee made the deal, and Millennium Films’ Mark Gill will be a consultant on this and get to roll up his sleeves and wage an awards-season campaign for Harrelson, who drew raves at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival for his portrayal of a corrupt cop in a drama that also stars Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. The 1990s Los Angeles police family drama explores the dark soul and misadventures of an LAPD cop whose past finally catches up with him in a department-wide corruption scandal. Read More »
Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.
Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Disney and Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil are teaming up on two new projects: a feature version of the ’70s TV movie The Night Stalker, and a drama about the Midnight Ride made by Paul Revere to warn Colonial militia of the impending British invasion. Depp is the potential star of both films, and he and his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski will produce.
Like many, Dembrowski and Depp had fond memories of the ABC telepic and series The Night Stalker, and they got Disney’s Rich Ross and Sean Bailey sparked on a pitch for Depp to potentially play tabloid reporter Carl Kolchak. Originated by Darren McGavin, Kolchak was the dogged journalist first seen in the 1972 telepic (where he hunted a killer who was draining the blood of beautiful girls on the Las Vegas strip) and later in the ABC series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Kolchak’s investigations always seemed to lead him to the doorstep of vampires, zombies, werewolves and aliens. For its time, it was pretty scary stuff. The studio will go out to writers shortly. David Kennedy will be exec producer.
Dembrowski and Depp set up the Paul Revere film at Disney with Batman Forever scribes Lee and Janet Batchler writing the screenplay. The film will focus on the Boston silversmith and that 24-hour period in which he made the risky “midnight ride” from Charlestown to Lexington, becoming a seminal figure in the American Revolutionary War. Jon Brown and Infinitum Nihil’s Margaret French-Isaac will be executive producers.
It is a coup for Disney’s Ross and Bailey to be back in business with Depp, right after Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tidescracked the $1 billion mark in worldwide gross. It’s the third time that the studio has reached the billion-dollar milestone on a film with Depp in the lead role, after Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Alice In Wonderland. Depp next saddles up for the studio with Armie Hammer in the Gore Verbinski-directed The Lone Ranger.Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Disney is negotiating to finance and distribute Chrome and Paint, a gritty Boyz N’ The Hood-style drama that Ice Cube will direct and star in, based on a script he co-wrote with Eva Vives. The film is a drama about the custom car culture of South Central Los Angeles. Cube will produce with his Cube Vision partner Matt Alvarez.
Cube, who directed the 2010 Oakland Raiders documentary Straight Outta L.A. for ESPN, hasn’t directed a narrative feature since 1998′s The Players Club, which he also wrote. In Chrome and Paint, Cube uses the subculture of tricked out Mercedes, BMW and Low Rider cars to frame a drama about the temptation to place materialism above all else. The film has elements of Saturday Night Fever and American Graffiti. Disney’s interest came out of a general meeting with Cube. Disney exec Louanne Brickhouse, herself a car enthusiast, took an interest in the project as did production president Sean Bailey. Universal also showed interest in the film but has a similarly-themed project percolating.
To make it work for Disney, Cube will bring it in as a PG-13, even though he originally co-wrote it as an R-rated feature. The plan is to shoot by the end of summer after Vives does some rewrite while Cube stars in 21 Jump Street (starring with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, with Johnny Depp doing a cameo) for Sony Pictures. Cube, who most recently wrapped the Oren Moverman-directed … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Brie Larson has landed the coveted lead role of Molly in Sony Pictures’ 21 Jump Street, starring opposite Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube. Neil Moritz is producing. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are directing.
Larson, best known for playing Toni Collette’s rebellious daughter in the Showtime series United States of Tara, recently wrapped the Oren Moverman-directed cop drama Rampart, which also starred Cube, along with Woody Harrelson, Robin Wright and Ben Foster. Larson’s other recent film credits include Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Greenberg. The third season of United States of Tara starts this month. Larson is repped by Gersh and Roar.
Ice Cube is negotiating to join Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street. He is also preparing to shop Chrome and Paint, a gritty Boyz N’ The Hood-style drama that Cube wrote with Eva Vives as a starring and directing vehicle that focuses on custom car culture of South Central Los Angeles. In 21 Jump Street, Cube will play the precinct captain role originated by Steven Williams in the TV series that launched the career of Johnny Depp. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are directing the pic for Sony Pictures. Cube livens up the cast, but if they are planning to replicate the series plot about undercover cops that infiltrate schools, I’m still waiting to see if they cast anybody that remotely looks like they might be proofed in a bar. Depp was a baby-faced 24 when he started the series: Tatum is 30 and Hill is 27. Shooting begins in late April and Neal Moritz is producing.
Cube will jump into that film after he finishes a role in the New Line romancer New Year’s Eve, matched with Hilary Swank. Cube, who directed the 2010 Oakland Raiders documentary Straight Outta L.A. for ESPN, hasn’t directed a narrative feature since 1998′s The Players Club, which he also wrote. In Chrome and Paint, Cube uses the subculture of tricked out Mercedes, BMW and Low Rider cars to frame a drama about the temptation to place materialism above all else. Cube’s … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Katherine Heigl, not Halle Berry, will be the one smooching Jon Bon Jovi in New Line’s ensemble romantic comedy New Year’s Eve. I’m told Berry has dropped out of the picture, which is just getting underway. Heigl was available because she recently withdrew from Adaline, a film that was supposed to shoot in March from Lakeshore and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. Her reps said Heigl, who recently adopted her first child, didn’t want to go back to work right away. New Year’s Eve is the perfect job then, because it’s a true ensemble that won’t require a long production commitment from the actress. Heigl had been in early talks for the original film, the Marshall-directed Valentine’s Day, but a deal was never consummated. Losing Berry is a blow, but Heigl’s certainly a draw in the romantic comedy genre. The Garry Marshall-directed film stars Robert De Niro, Sofia Vergara, Russell Peters, Hilary Swank, Ice Cube, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Josh Duhamel, Sarah Jessica Parker, Abigail Breslin, Seth Meyers, Jessica Biel and Til Schweiger. Mike Karz and Wayne Rice are producing.