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 with 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 over $120M worldwide as of this weekend.
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 dem0s. 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 from domestic. Likewise, the bankable Think Like a Man also had 95% of its box office coming from the U.S. Executive vp of production, Scott Bernstein, will oversee the project for the studio. Larry Brezner is also producing.
Story, who directed Fantastic Four and its sequel Silver Surfer, is finishing up Think Like A Man Too with Hart, Michael Ealy and Packer which is scheduled to open June 20. Jeremy Garelick, who also directed Hart in Packers’ next year MLK holiday offering The Wedding Ringer, directed. Hart and Ealy starred together in this past weekend’s opener About Last Night which grossed roughly $28M (it’s an estimate and will update soon with the real number) over the weekend for a solid No. 2 opening. All — and I mean, very surprisingly ALL, are repped by UTA.
Hart is also starring with Will Ferrell in Warner Bros.’ Get Hard to play the streetwise mentor to investment banker Ferrell who is trying to harden up before he starts serving a sentence in a maximum security prison for a crime he didn’t commit. That project’s schedule is from March to May with Joe Etan Cohen at the helm in what sounds like a pairing not unlike the good ol days of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder. One can hope for the same winning results.
The question is when these will all be scheduled. The aforementioned The Wedding Ringer, another Kevin Hart-starring/Will Packer-produced comedy, wrapped last November for Screen Gems/Miramax. Sony already announced the Martin Luther King holiday next year for The Wedding Ringer so it will be interesting to see when they decide to schedule Ride Along 2 and Get Hard.