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:
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has made a three-year first-look producing deal with Will Packer, who has displayed a golden touch for generating modestly priced urban-flavored comedies that do strong domestic box office business. Packer is forming a new film label, Will Packer Productions, which will be moving to the Universal lot. He will begin staffing up right away and soon will name an exec to head his company. And he will become an active buyer of pitches and specs, not only in comedy but dramas and thrillers. While he built his business with urban-themed fare, Packer will get the chance to broaden those horizons at Universal. All this comes after Packer worked with the studio for the first time on Ride Along, the mismatched-buddy comedy that stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart which the studio releases January 17. Packer produced the film with Cube, Matt Alvarez and Larry Brezner. Universal is already hard at work on the sequel, and Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley snatched him up.
Packer, whose television company is already at Universal Television in a two-year deal he signed in July, is one of the few non-writing African-American producers to have been set in an overall deal with a major studio. He never had an overall at Screen Gems, but there, Packer produced four films that opened in the top weekend slot in U.S. box office: Stomp The Yard, Takers, Obsessed and Think Like A Man.
Jen Yamato is a Deadline contributor.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will make its official debut at the Sundance Film Festival with an event featuring new member Will Packer, producer of such films as last year’s Think Like A Man, 2007’s Stomp The Yard and the 2009 Beyonce Knowles starrer Obsessed. Co-presented with The Blackhouse Foundation, an organization that promotes black filmmakers at festivals around the country, the inaugural Sundance edition of “Academy Conversations” will take place at 3:30 PM January 19 at Park City’s Buona Vita. Blackhouse Foundation chairman Brickson Diamond will moderate the discussion. In addition to the aforementioned Sony/Screen Gems movies, Packer’s Rainforest Films produced and self-distributed successful urban titles including 2000’s thriller Trois, which spawned two sequels and launched the feature directing career of Stomp The Yard’s Sylvain White. Saturday’s event will be followed by a reception “addressing such initiatives as Awards qualification rules, filmmaker engagement, educational programs, festival grants and membership” with Academy execs Randy Haberkamp, Patrick Harrison and Torene Svitil in attendance.
Kevin Hart will star in Think Like A Man, the Screen Gems comedy based on Steve Harvey’s bestselling 2009 book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. The book is a male-perspective self-help manual for relationships, with topics that included everything from why men cheat, to why men are in the fixing business and not in the talking business, to how to get the wedding ring and why independent women should reconnect with their girlish side to make their men feel necessary. Like I said, it’s from a male perspective. In the film, Hart will play a self-professed relationship expert who is quick to give advice to his crew of friends, even as he watched his own marriage crater and head toward divorce. The comedy’s scripted by Keith Merryman & David A. Newman, and Screen Gems’ Clint Culpepper is out to directors for a July production start. Will Packer’s producing through his Rainforest Films banner and Harvey is exec producing with Rushion McDonald and Rob Hardy.