BREAKING: Will Packer, who produced the $123.1M-to-date grosser Ride Along with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube and currently has two pictures in the box office Top 10 with About Last Night (also a Hart vehicle that has grossed $38M in two weeks), has set up his next film with Universal Pictures via his Will Packer Productions banner. It’s a comedy, Girls Trip, with Best Man’s Holiday helmer Malcolm D. Lee set to direct. It has yet to set a writer. Ride Along 2 will be Packer’s next picture with Tim Story at the helm, it was just confirmed. Ice Cube and Kevin Hart recently closed a deal to reprise their roles as the quick-witted security guard (Hart) who has his eye on his partner’s (Cube’s) sister. The sequel will start shooting a week after Think Like A Man 2 opens on June 20, 2014.
Related: ‘Ride Along 2′ Gets Rolling, Tim Story To Direct
Lee, of course, recently directed Best Man Holiday for Universal which has grossed over $71.6M worldwide. Details of the new project are being kept under wraps. Packer has risen as a formidable producer in recent years, earning him the nickname, Will “Power” Packer. His buddy comedy Ride Along opened to a record $48.6M over the four-day Martin Luther King holiday weekend this year for Universal. Sony then scheduled his The Wedding Ringer, which he is producing with Adam Fields, for the MLK holiday in 2015. Wedding Ringer is a Jeremy Garelick-written and -directed comedy starring Hart again. The bankable Packer also produced Think Like a Man, which grossed $96M worldwide.
Related: Universal Makes First-Look Pact With Producer Will Packer
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Check out Deadline’s top film stories of the week:
‘Ride Along 2′ Gets Rolling
By Anita Busch – EXCLUSIVE: It was inevitable after the huge success of Ride Along that 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.
BOX OFFICE: ‘Lego’ Is Lord Of Business, Costner’s ’3 Days To Kill’ No. 2 Buries ‘Pompeii’; ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Now 10th Highest Domestic Grosser Ever
By Anita Busch – All pictures played out pretty much as expected as the dust cleared this morning with Warner Bros.’ The Lego Movie continuing to hold onto audiences to take in far and above any other offering with a $31.4M estimated gross.
Ebersols Aboard To Produce And Script Warner Bros’ ‘Space Jam 2′ As A Starring Vehicle For LeBron James
By Anita Busch – After he recovers from the injury suffered in last night’s game, NBA MVP LeBron James will be ready for his close-up — with Bugs Bunny.
Warner Bros Sets ‘Lego Movie’ Sequel For May 2017
By The Deadline Team – The Lego Movie to date has made $151.7 domestically after two weeks in release and now it is getting a sequel.
UPDATE: Open Road Says It Will Still Release ‘Midnight Rider’; Female Crew Member Killed In On-Set Train Accident Identified
By Anita Busch – We were told that the distributor was close to announcing its plans to pull out before yesterday’s tragic accident during production in Wayne County, GA, in which a female crew member was killed and seven others were injured when they were hit by a train while filming. So time will tell. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It was inevitable after the huge success of Ride Along that 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 »