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12 items from 2007


Perry's success has black films in fashion

17 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- Tyler Perry's triumph at the boxoffice last weekend with Why Did I Get Married has heartened the growing number of studios looking to crack the market for black films.

But those studios also could face an unlikely problem: Tyler Perry.

The number of distributors and producers making movies that star and target blacks is climbing at an unprecedented clip. They're reversing a pattern of studio indifference that for years allowed smaller players like Lionsgate, which has seen a boxoffice gross of about $145 million from the three previous Perry films it has distributed, to enjoy a windfall.

"There's probably not one new story to tell that hasn't been told about white people," said Sony Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper, whose label is opening two black-targeted comedies in the next three months: the holiday pic This Christmas and the Ice Cube starrer First Sunday. "But there are so many stories that haven't been told yet about people with brown and black faces."

For all the carping about how Hollywood doesn't give Perry respect -- though of course he often gets respect in articles about how he doesn't get respect -- it's also a fertile time for black movies.

At Our Stories Films, the Weinstein Co.'s co-venture with BET founder Robert Johnson, several projects are in development, while sister unit Dimension is prepping Comeback, a sports dramedy with Ice Cube.

Even specialty divisions are getting in on the act. Fox Searchlight may have had a disappointing result with Chris Rock's I Think I Love My Wife, but it's still casting in New York for a potential Notorious B.I.G. biopic. »

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Sykes, Izzard, Engvall join Vegas Comedy Fest

5 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

New York -- Performers added to the lineup of this year's The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas now include Wanda Sykes, Eddie Izzard, Bill Engvall, John Oliver, Bill Burr , Marc Maron, Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Kennedy & Nick Swardson, Artie Lange, The Sopranos star Steve Schirripa and The Kims of Comedy.

They join previously announced comedy stars Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Ellen DeGeneres at the festival, organized by HBO and Aeg Live and scheduled to take place Nov. 14-17.

In a conference call Tuesday, Seinfeld and Rock said they hope comedy will continue going strong despite the current lack of new sitcom break-outs. They also discussed how technology has changed performers' lives.

Rock said he's preparing a brand-new standup show for Vegas, which he called "a work in progress," with Seinfeld saying he feels the standup scene overall is "pretty good."

The two cited such talent as Louis Ck, Jim Norton and Katt Williams as strong performers with possible further upside.

"We're hoping there's a future", Seinfeld said when asked about the state of comedy and whether comedians will have to switch into reality TV to survive. »

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Rock Not the Daddy

7 August 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Funnyman Chris Rock has lashed out at the woman who went public with claims he was the father of her teenage lovechild, after a DNA test proved the comedian is not the daddy. Rock has been keen to keep his comments to himself ever since Kali Bowyer accused the comic of fathering her 13-year-old son earlier this year, but now he has released a statement after test results proved Bowyer picked the wrong man to go after. In the statement, signed off by Rock and his wife Malaak, the couple states, "Though we prefer to keep our private life out of the media, we feel that it is necessary to respond to the many grossly inaccurate media reports that were sold to the tabloids by Kali Bowyer who falsely claimed that Chris Rock fathered her 13-year-old son. After multiple lies, including that Chris refused to establish paternity and after finding out that Ms. Bowyer has an extensive criminal record, we personally asked the court to help us establish paternity so that we could put this harassment to rest. We have spent a tremendous sum to litigate this case and are asking our attorney to pursue all legal remedies against her (Bowyer). Additionally, we would like for any monies Ms. Bowyer has taken from the tabloid media, based on this false story to be donated to charities for the benefit of disadvantaged boys and girls. We also express our deepest prayers for the welfare of Ms. Bowyer's son who has been continuously embarrassed and exposed in the media by his mother... We are happy that this has come to an end." Rock has been married to Malaak for 11 years. The couple has two children. »

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Rock, Seinfeld headlining Comedy Festival

6 June 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- The third annual edition of HBO's and AEG Live's the Comedy Festival in Las Vegas in November will feature Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld headlining back-to-back shows at the Colosseum, organizers said Tuesday.

The festival is set to take place Nov. 14-17 at Caesars Palace, with TBS returning as title sponsor.

The organizers said in a statement that TCF will continue its tradition of presenting comedy's biggest stars and cutting-edge talent. Multiartist performances, tributes, stand-up and sketch comedy as well as televised specials will all be part of the program lineup again.

Further talent and show announcements will come in the next month.

"With the support of our partners, the enthusiasm of the comedy community and a little bit of 'Lady Luck,' the Comedy Festival has found a great long-term home at Caesars Palace," TCF CEO Bob Crestani said. "Chris and Jerry's stand-up performances capture the energy and standard of excellence that our audiences demand and we are thrilled to present."

In its first two years, more than 100,000 people attended TCF, according to the organizers. »

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Seinfeld Jumps From Cannes Hotel Roof

18 May 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld took a huge leap of faith to promote his new film Bee Movie at the Cannes Film Festival in France yesterday - by jumping from a hotel roof, dressed as an insect. The Seinfeld star, dressed in a yellow-and-black bee suit, dived from a hotel and swung out over the Carlton Hotel Pier as photographers took shots way below him. The comedian joked, "They tell me Scorsese did the same thing last year for The Departed." Bee Movie, set to be released this fall by DreamWorks, features the voices of Seinfeld, Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick and Chris Rock, among others. »

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Rock Gets Serious About His Acting

4 May 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Comedian Chris Rock was so determined to act the part in his new movie I Think I Love My Wife he hired Nicole Kidman's acting teacher to help him perfect his skills. The funnyman admits he had never before sought out acting advice, but now he wants his roles in comedies to be taken more seriously. He says, "This is the first time I had an acting coach on set every day and she's the same one who works with Nicole Kidman. In a sense she would direct me. I put myself in her hands, except when it came to something funny. I liked playing a grown-up for a change. I think most guys play guys that won't grow up. That's easier." »

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Rock To Take DNA Test

18 April 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Funnyman Chris Rock is getting serious about charges he fathered a journalist's teenage son - he has filed papers in Georgia in response to her claims. Kali Bowyer took her story to the US tabloids last month, alleging her 13-year-old son Jordan is the result of a romance she had with the comedian in the early 1990s. Bowyer is asking Rock to take a DNA test because she thinks his genetic history will help doctors determine why her son suffers from seizures. The journalist, 35, went to the tabloids after 10 years of appealing to Rock fell on deaf ears - and it looks like her latest actions have done the trick. The 42-year-old comic, who has two children with his wife Malaak Compton, is not only going to take a DNA test to establish paternity, but has also filed papers to establish child support and visitation rights if he's found to be the teen's father, according to US news show Entertainment Tonight. »

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Empire of '300' still intact

19 March 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Warner Bros. Pictures' "300" fell a precipitous 56% in its second weekend in release, but with an estimated $127 million in boxoffice receipts after only 10 days, the CG-heavy spectacle had one soft landing, remaining at No. 1 overall for the frame with an estimated $31 million.

Hollywood's new releases had more trouble gaining traction at the North American boxoffice.

Sony Pictures' Sandra Bullock starrer Premonition grossed solidly, with an estimated $18 million for a third-place finish, but Fox Searchlight had difficulty luring in Chris Rock fans for his second directorial effort, I Think I Love My Wife; the remake of the French comedy Chloe in the Afternoon grossed an estimated $5.7 million, good for fifth place.

Universal Pictures also struggled with Dead Silence. The horror film from Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell grossed an estimated $7.7 million for the three-day frame, finishing No. 4 overall.

Still, the boxoffice held off last year at this time by a solid 10% margin. The top 12 films grossed an estimated $102.4 million for the frame compared with $92.7 million last year, when Warners bowed V for Vendetta.

Meanwhile, Buena Vista Pictures wins the title of lowest drops for the frame with both of its top-10 pictures. The road-trip comedy Wild Hogs fell close to 32% its third weekend in release to earn the No. 2 slot.; the ensemble featuring John Travolta, William H. Macy, Martin Lawrence and Tim Allen has crossed the coveted $100 million mark with an estimated $104 million overall.

Even more impressively, Walden Media's Bridge to Terabithia fell just 24% in its fifth weekend. The family-friendly film finished sixth for the frame, grossing an additional $5.1 million to put its cume at $74.9 million. Terabithia is on track to outgross Walden's previous film, Charlotte's Web, which topped out this year at $82 million.

Paramount Pictures might have had some tough luck with its two most recent openings. »

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Comedian Richard Jeni Dies in Apparent Suicide

12 March 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Comedian Richard Jeni, who appeared frequently on the Tonight show and headlined a number of HBO comedy specials, died Saturday in Los Angeles in what appeared to be a suicide; he was 49. Jeni died of a gunshot wound to the head, an hour after police responded to a 911 call from the comedian's girlfriend and he was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Hospital. A final confirmation of suicide was still pending Monday morning, after further investigation of the incident and an autopsy. Born Richard John Colangelo in Brooklyn, Jeni found national fame in 1990 with his first Showtime cable TV special, The Boy From New York City, which won three Cable ACE awards. He followed up two years later with Crazy From the Heat, which became Showtime's highest-rated comedy stand-up show at the time. In 1992, Jeni moved from Showtime to HBO, starring in Platypus Man, a special which won another Cable ACE award and nabbed him a sitcom deal with the fledgling UPN network. In the early 90s Jeni also began making numerous appearances on the Tonight show, first with Johnny Carson and then with Jay Leno hosting, and toured nationally with his stand-up act. In addition to his stand-up comedy work, Jeni appeared in a number of films, including The Mask alongside Jim Carrey and the recent documentary The Aristocrats. A friend of comedian Chris Rock, Jeni also appeared on Rock's UPN sitcom Everyone Hates Chris and wrote material for Rock's hosting job for the 2005 Academy Awards; his most recent TV special was A Big Steaming Pile of Me, which aired in 2005 on HBO. --Mark Englehart, IMDb staff »

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Rock Slams Break-Up Rumors

2 March 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Funnyman Chris Rock is getting deadly serious with media reports his marriage is in trouble. A day after his publicist denied New York news reports about a rumored break-up between Rock and his wife Malaak, the comic has launched his own attack on the publications who are running the incorrect reports. In a statement Rock, who appeared on pal Oprah Winfrey's TV show on Wednesday with his wife and their two daughters, fumes, "Though we have tried in the past to take the high road and not comment on the tabloid media, we find it necessary to express on record how unfortunate it is that the Daily News, specifically, and other tabloid outlets have chosen to print untrue rumors and lies about our family and marriage. It is extremely hurtful to us, our children, and our extended family. We remain, as always, very happy and committed to our marriage and the beautiful family that we have built." The comedian/actor refused to comment on reports from late last year, which stated that he had begun divorce proceedings. Meanwhile, Rock, who wed Malaak in 1996, told Winfrey, "Now that I have children, I realize taking care of my children is more fun than anything in the whole world." »

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CW picks up 'Chris' for fall

19 January 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

The CW has made its first series pickup for fall, giving an early full-season order to the sophomore comedy Everybody Hates Chris.

The announcement is set to be made today at CW's portion of the Television Critics Assn. winter press tour in Pasadena.

"Under the creative guidance of Chris Rock and Ali LeRoi and performances from an incredibly talented cast, 'Everybody Hates Chris' has consistently proven itself to be one of the best comedies on television," CW entertainment president Dawn Ostroff said. "Producing one great episode after another, this is a show that we want viewers to associate with the CW."

Created by Rock and LeRoi and narrated by Rock, Chris is inspired by the comedian's childhood experiences growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., during the early 1980s. Tyler James Williams stars as Rock.

Chris is a production of CBS Paramount Network Television Inc. in association with Chris Rock Enterprises Inc. and 3 Arts Entertainment.

Chris launched on UPN as one of the most buzzworthy new series of the 2005-06 season. »

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Stars Ditch Globes Bashes to Party with Prince

17 January 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Celebrity couples Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony and Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher joined Posh Spice Victoria Beckham at the glitzy party Prince threw after the Golden Globe Awards on Monday night. The quirky pop superstar, who claimed the Best Song prize for his Happy Feet tune "The Song Of The Heart," performed at the Forbes Penthouse inside the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons hotel - and the stars came out to see him. Even Justin Timberlake, who had mocked the pint-sized singer's height while accepting the honor on behalf of the absent Prince, was invited, along with ex-girlfriend Cameron Diaz. Other stars spotted at the lavish party included Penelope Cruz, Lindsay Lohan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Drew Barrymore, Sienna Miller and Jamie Foxx. The party continued well into the night and Beckham fueled rumors she's planning a clothing line with Lopez when she left the glitzy bash with the singer/actress and her husband. »

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12 items from 2007


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