Tag: Lionsgate

Common’s Freedom Road Productions and Lionsgate to Bring Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Barracoon’ to TV

Zora Neale Hurston (l), Cudjo Lewis (r) [photo via blackyouthproject.com]
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Deadline.com, hip hop artist and Academy-Award winner Common‘s Freedom Road Productions in conjunction with Lionsgate Entertainment, has optioned the rights to Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’, the recently discovered book by Zora Neale Hurston, to develop as a limited television event series.

Barracoon centers on 86-year-old Cudjo Lewis, who Hurston identified as the last known formerly enslaved person to survive the Middle Passage.

Hurston’s book chronicles Cudjo’s time of slavery and the profound complexities of reconstruction and freedom after the Atlantic slave trade was abolished.

This is the second project to emerge from Lionsgate and Freedom Road’s TV deal. They are already developing the Saturday Night Knife and Gun Club TV adaptation starring and produced by Common.

Tyler Perry’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” Tops Tom Cruise’s ‘Jack Reacher 2’ at Box Office with $27.6 Million

TYLER PERRY'S BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN
Tyler Perry in “Boo! A Madea Halloween” (PHOTO COURTESY OF LIONSGATE)

article by Brent Lang via Variety.com

It was a battle of the sequels at the multiplexes this weekend, as “Boo! A Madea Halloween” narrowly edged out “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” to claim first place at the domestic box office.

The latest film in the long-running Madea series racked up $27.6 million. Comedian Chris Rock may be entitled to a percentage of the gross. Creator Tyler Perry was inspired to take his pistol-packing grandma trick-or-treating after Rock’s comedian character in 2014’s “Top Five” joked that his latest movie, a passion project about a slave revolt, was going head-to-head at the box office with “Boo! A Madea Halloween.” What was once intended as satire eventually became a seasonally appropriate reality.

“This isn’t the end of the series, it’s just the beginning,” said Jeff Bock, box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, who noted that Perry also scored with 2013’s “A Madea Christmas.” “There are so many holidays left. There’s Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and he hasn’t even done a Thanksgiving one yet.”

Don’t look for “Boo!” to end up in the Oscar race or on many reviewers’ “ten best” lists, but the Halloween comedy is a hit for distributor Lionsgate and reaffirms Perry’s star power. Despite being routinely derided by critics, the film series has an extremely loyal fan base. Collectively they’ve earned nearly $380 million. The latest Madea cost $20 million to make, and attracted a more diverse crowd. Typically the films have an audience that’s between 80% and 90% African-American, but this installment’s crowd was only 60% African-American, with the rest of ticket buyers made up largely of Caucasians and Hispanic movie-goers.

“The film crossed over and it expanded the audience,” said David Spitz, co-president of domestic distribution at Lionsgate. “Madea is such a beloved character and the timing helped. There are not many comedies in the marketplace right now and Halloween is right around the corner.”

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/box-office-madea-halloween-edges-out-jack-reacher-2-with-27-6-million-1201898150/

Kevin Hart Partners With Lionsgate on “Laugh Out Loud” Streaming Service, Comedy Central for Two Series

Kevin Hart VOD Service
(Comedian Kevin Hart) ERIC CHARBONNEAU/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com

Lionsgate has formed a partnership with Kevin Hart and his Hartbeat Digital to launch the Laugh Out Loud video-on-demand service in the fall.

The new over-the-top service will operate 24-7 and serve as the exclusive home for all content created by Hart outside his theatrical and live touring activities and include original series starring Hart — such as a hidden-camera premium original series in which Hart stars as an undercover Lyft driver.

“Lionsgate has always been a great partner of mine, and I’m more than excited to take our business and creative relationship to new levels,” said Hart. “I understand the direction in which the television business is headed, and I see this big new space toward which audiences are starting to gravitate. I believe that launching this venture together now puts us ahead of the pack.”

Laugh Out Loud will also showcase content curated by Hart along with shows featuring social-media stars and up-and-coming comedians. That will include a series starring social media personality Logan Paul, who generated 300 million video views on Facebook last month along with nearly 4 billion loops on Vine.

Codeblack CEO Jeff Clanagan, who has served as Hart’s business partner for the past decade, has been named president of Laugh Out Loud and president of Hartbeat Digital.

Clanagan told Variety that the idea of forming a digital content partnership with Lionsgate had been in the works for several months as vehicle to leverage Hart’s growing worldwide popularity as a stand-up comedy performer. He performed Wednesday in Cape Town, South Africa, for a crowd of 11,000, and was due to appear in Dubai on Friday at a 5,000-seat arena — the final performance in the “What Now” tour.

“Kevin has a worldwide appeal that transcends cultures, particularly in the 18-to-30-year-old demographic,” Clanagan noted. “And they all have smart phones so it makes sense for us to provide them with more comedy content.”

Clanagan also said that the tour, which saw two London shows draw 100,000 attendees, has afforded the Laugh Out venture to start making content deals with up-and-coming comedians from an array of markets.

The alliance will also include Lionsgate teaming with Hart and game developer Fifth Journey to create a social adventure mobile game starring and written in collaboration with Hart. The game will allow players to become comedic rock stars with Hart as their mentor and include touring the country, starring in movies, hosting award shows and more.

Continue reading “Kevin Hart Partners With Lionsgate on “Laugh Out Loud” Streaming Service, Comedy Central for Two Series”

Hulu Picks Up Comedy Pilot “Crushed” from Tina Gordon Chism Starring Regina Hall

Regina Hall
Regina Hall (photo via blogs.indiewire.com)

Hulu has picked up a comedy pilot from “Peebles” director Tina Gordon Chism, titled “Crushed,” with Regina Hall attached to star.

Tina Gordon Chism
Tina Gordon Chism (photo via blogs.indiewire.com)

Produced by Chris Selak, “Crushed” is about an African American family who stumbles into a successful wine business in Napa. Described as a “fish-out-of-water story,” the series will follow the family’s unorthodox approach to wine making and their unique life style.

The project was initially set up at HBO in 2013 but the network didn’t pick it up. Lionsgate Television, who are producing, then shopped it elsewhere, with Hulu eventually snapping it up, ordering a pilot.

“Crushed” joins other new original projects in development for Hulu – the Netflix and Amazon Prime competitor co-owned by Disney, Fox, and NBCUniversal.

article by Tambay A. Obenson via blogs.indiewire.com

Jamie Foxx Joins Cast as Little John in Lionsgate’s ‘Robin Hood: Origins’

Jamie Foxx (photo via blackamericaweb.com)

Jamie Foxx is set to play Little John in “Robin Hood: Origins,” Lionsgate’s update of the story about the archer-thief who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Taron Egerton will play Robin Hood and Eve Hewson will suit up as Maid Marian.

Little John was Robin’s right-hand man and known to fight with a staff.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way is producing the project, which will be directed by Otto Bathurst.

Foxx is coming off of “Sleepless Night,” the remake of the 2011 thriller “Nuit Blanche” and is in prep to appear in Edgar Wright’s thriller “Baby Driver” with Ansel Elgort and Lily James.

article via blackamericaweb.com

Sanaa Lathan Executive Producing and Starring in “Flyy Girl’ Movie Adaptation

Sanaa Lathan
Sanaa Lathan (TIBRINA HOBSON/FILMMAGIC)

Sanaa Lathan will star in and executive produce the movie adaptation of Omar Tyree’s “Flyy Girl” book trilogy for Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films.  Lathan will portray the film’s protagonist, Tracy Ellison — a successful businesswoman and workaholic who believes that money is always the key to happiness.

Lathan will also star in Lionsgate’s “Now You See Me 2″ and the upcoming production of “The Best Man Wedding.”  “So many people have grown up on this series and I’m looking forward to bringing Tracy Ellison’s story to life through film,” Lathan said. “It’s my hope to continue to help bring diverse stories to the big screen.”

Geoffrey Fletcher (“Precious”) will write the script.

“Lathan’s star power paired with Fletcher’s nuanced script work — we’re confident that ‘Flyy Girl’ will prove to be a classic,” Codeblack Films President Jeff Clanagan said.

Lathan’s credits iclude “Brown Sugar,” “Best Man’s Holiday” and “Love and Basketball.”

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com

Sundance Award-Winning Writer/Director Justin Simien’s Film “Dear White People” Acquired by Lionsgate, Roadside

Dear White People Sundance

Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to Dear White People, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  Written and directed by Justin Simien, Dear White People follows the stories of four black students at Winchester University, where a riot breaks out over a popular ‘African American’ themed party thrown by a white fraternity.

The comedy, Co-starring Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) and Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars), won the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at Sundance.  “Justin Simien is a funny, fresh and current voice with his finger on the Millennials’ pulse,” said Roadside’s co-president Howard Cohen.

article via Variety.com

“Ride Along” Tops Box Office for 2nd Week in a Row with $21.2M Take

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube

According to Variety.com, while Lionsgate’s I, Frankenstein failed to spark audience interest, delivering only an estimated $8.3 million in three days, the domestic box office still saw signs of life, thanks to solid holds from such films as the Kevin Hart/Ice Cube comedy Ride Along and the Mark Wahlberg-starrer Lone Survivor, which led with $21.2 million and $12.6 million, respectively.

In its second outing, Ride Along fell just 49%, lifting its Stateside totals to a sizable $75.4 million; while Lone Survivor, which dropped just 43% in its fifth frame, reached $93.6 million domestically.

The full list of this weekend’s Top 10 follows below:

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-theater average; Cume*; Percentage change

  1. Ride Along (2): $21.2; 2,759; $7,670; $75.4; -49%
  2. Lone Survivor (5): $12.6; 3,162; $3,985; $93.6; -43%
  3. The Nut Job (2): $12.3; 3,472; $3,547; $40.3; -37%
  4. Frozen (10): $9.0; 2,757; $3,277; $347.8; -23%
  5. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2): $8.8; 3,387; $2,598; $30.2; -43%
  6. I, Frankenstein (1): $8.3; 2,753; $3,006; $8.3; –
  7. American Hustle (7): $7.1; 2,304; $3,082; $127.0; -28%
  8. August: Osage County (5): $5.0; 2,411; $2,091; $26.5; -32%
  9. The Wolf of Wall Street (5): $5.0; 1,804; $2,772; $98.0; -29%
  10. Devil’s Due (2): $2.8; 2,544; $1,081; $12.9; -67%

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

’12 Years a Slave’ Opens No. 1 in U.K. in First Big Overseas Box-Office Test

’12 Years a Slave’ Opens No. 1 in U.K. in First Big Overseas Box-Office Test

Slavery saga 12 Years a Slave opened at No. 1 in the United Kingdom this weekend, in the Oscar frontrunner’s first major overseas test. 12 Years a Slave took in $4.2 million from 208 screens, an encouraging number for Lionsgate, which is distributing in nearly every foreign territory. It’s currently playing in 16 international markets and has taken in $5 million, with most of its significant openings yet to come.  The R-rated “12 Years a Slave” is directed by Steve McQueen stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. It has grossed nearly $39 million in the U.S., where Fox Searchlight is distributing.

article via thewrap.com

Author Zane: The Hardest-Working Woman in Adult Fiction

Author Zane
Author Zane attends the panel discussion during the TV One presentation at the 2005 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 17, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

James Brown may forever be known as the hardest working man in show business; but, when it comes to bestselling authors, the intrepid business woman behind the nom de plume Zane might very well be the hardest working woman in erotic fiction.

With her newest title, Busy Bodies (an anthology of steamy short stories) set for release on July 16, two seasons of the Cinemax series Zane’s Sex Chronicles under her belt, and the Lionsgate adaptation of her second novel Addicted wrapped and awaiting a premiere date, you might wonder when Zane sleeps!

Between work on her formidable list of upcoming projects, theGrio caught up with the plucky author, whose faithful following of readers has landed her on the New York Times bestseller list an astounding 26 times.

Zane shared her personal recipe for success, advice for young, black writers and her top tips for entrepreneurs.

How a research assistant became “Zane”

You might be surprised to learn the mega-author (who assumed her pseudonym when she was a part-time research assistant for her theologian father) got her start sharing a few short stories on AOL chat rooms.

“I had always loved books and had a very vivid imagination as a child, but as far as becoming ‘Zane,’ that wasn’t until November 1997,” Zane told theGrio. “I wrote a short story and shared it with a few people I’d met online. I self-published three more stories online and got about 8,000 hits by word of mouth alone.”  Over the next three years, Zane’s popularity grew online and she was contacted by several major publishers, offering book deals she ultimately turned down.

Continue reading “Author Zane: The Hardest-Working Woman in Adult Fiction”