EXCLUSIVE: You can always tell if a studio is bullish over the tracking of an upcoming film by whether they start the wheels moving on the sequel before the film even comes out. I’ve heard of two cases on upcoming buddy cop-genre films where this is true, The Heat and Ride Along. The Heat, the Paul Feig-directed comedy that stars Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock is sequel bound. Chernin Entertainment and Fox have already made a pricey deal with Katie Dippold to script the sequel. I told you recently about another deal they made with Dippold for an edgy mother/daughter comedy vehicle for Feig, but evidently that deal included an assignment for her to write the sequel. Dippold wrote The Heat, about mismatched female FBI agents in Boston, with ads that look like they are going to continue McCarthy’s ascension as a top physical comedienne, grounded by Bullock’s prudish counterpart. Dippold’s repped by WME and 3 Arts.
Another one in the sequel fast land is Ride Along, the Tim Story-directed comedy that will be released by Universal next January. Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, who were among several scribes who worked on the original, are in preliminary discussions about scripting a sequel that could be put into production months after the first film opens. This one stars Ice Cube as a tough cop who takes his sister’s future security guard husband (Kevin Hart) on a 24-hour ride-along which the cop hopes will scare the guy out of marrying his sister. The scribes are repped by UTA.
Obviously, if either film tanks it could stop sequel activity in its tracks, but these are both high concept comedies made with solid elements at a price, just the kind of films that are ripe to grow into tent poles. Both of these seem to have those qualities.
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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 »
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