Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) company, has acquired the rights to the popular Flyy Girl book trilogy written by New York Times bestselling author Omar Tyree.
This captivating trilogy is a coming of age story that explores the journey of a young woman motivated by the material life who plunges into a fast-paced world of gratuitous sex, violence and heartbreak in an attempt to find herself and to assess her goals in life during the modern Hip-Hop era. The second book in the series, "For the Love of Money" won an NAACP Image Award (2001, Outstanding Book, Fiction).
Tyree's books have been read by over 8 million people worldwide, and have grossed more than $30 million for publishing giant Simon & Schuster. His brand is one of the most talked about in the urban community, and his products can be found in 12 countries.
"Omar Tyree has created a franchise with an incredible story that connects with audiences worldwide," said Codeblack Films President Jeff Clanagan. "Codeblack is excited to have the film rights for these books which have been a staple in the African-American community for more than 20 years. We're thrilled to have the chance to finally bring these stories to screen."
Codeblack Films' General Manager Quincy Newell brokered the deal with Global Renaissance Entertainment Group's CEO/Owner Arthur Wylie and Chief Operating Officer Dale Godboldo. Jean Chi, Lionsgate's SVP of Business & Legal Affairs, business executive Greg Snodgrass of Business Affairs Inc. and Jeffrey Miles, attorney for Global Renaissance Entertainment Group, handled legal duties.
"I couldn't be happier to embark on this journey with Codeblack Films and Global Renaissance Entertainment Group," states Omar Tyree. "I have every confidence that my brand has found the perfect home with one of the most effective machines in Hollywood."
"Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain," featuring one of America's hottest young comedic talents, was released nationwide on July 3 by Summit Entertainment in conjunction with Hartbeat Productions and Codeblack Films, opening to an impressive $17.4 million and grossing more than $26 million at the domestic box office to date. Codeblack Films has recently unveiled an upcoming slate that includes the suspenseful thriller "Repentance," starring Forest Whitaker, Anthony Mackie and Sanaa Lathan, the romantic drama "Things Never Said," starring Omari Hardwick and Shanola Hampton, and George Tillman, Jr.'s "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete," starring Academy Award® winner Jennifer Hudson and executive produced by multiplatinum recording artist and Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 08:00
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Rolling Out will debut its newly developed web series "Celebrity Refresh" in the summer of 2013. This home improvement series showcases Rolling Out going behind the scenes into top celebrities' homes to highlight how they approach home improvement projects that reveal their personal style and décor tastes. The first celebrity home improvement project features recording artist Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, from the group TLC. Nestled in one of Georgia's most historic neighborhoods, Chilli shows viewers how she takes great pride in the beautiful home she designed and purchased more than fifteen years ago.
"I had a great experience with Celebrity Refresh," said Chilli. "My backyard is one of my favorite places to relax and entertain during the spring and summer. I love lying out by the pool with my son and his friends, and entertaining friends and family on the back patio for barbecues or cookouts. I usually re-do the flowers and color scheme in the spring so Rolling Out's Celebrity Refresh was right on time."
Rolling Out's team, along with Chilli and her property manager, Shawn Beasely, assessed the property and came up with a plan to refresh her backyard and pool with bright floral arrangements, tiki lamps, lawn furniture and even a stone waterfall provided by The Home Depot, a partner on the show. Chilli was more than pleased with the outcome and invited her close friends and family over for the big reveal.
"This is one of those shows that demonstrates how celebrities are just like the rest of us, with home improvement projects as well," said Munson Steed, Rolling Out publisher and CEO. "I'm excited about the launch of the online web series and working with additional celebs and key influencers. People will want to tune in to get ideas for their own refresh projects. This is another opportunity for us to educate and inspire in a different medium."
To see pictures and a sneak preview of "Celebrity Refresh" with Chilli and more celebs, visit: www.rollingout.com/celebrityrefresh and follow Rolling Out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 12:25
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Singer Chris Brown (L., with attorney Mark Geragos) attends a probation progress hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court Monday - to find out his probation from his 2009 assault case against Rihanna was revoked.
A Los Angeles judge has revoked Chris Brown’s probation, but the singer was not ordered to jail. Brown’s lawyer suggested Monday that perhaps the matter will be resolved informally without a major probation hearing.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 13:16
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
In 2004, Fantasia sang a song on “American Idol” that riveted viewers to the screen, touched hearts and brought tears.
Ironically, Fantasia said she had never heard “Summertime” before, yet she sang the classic George Gershwin composition, that she somehow felt a connection to, with a passion that was stunning.
The performance was so outstanding that it all but guaranteed that the 20-year-old from High Point, North Carolina, would win the singing competition with its massive audience.
From 12 finalists it had been narrowed down to two (Jennifer Hudson was also a finalist) and the other girl was clearly not even in the same league as the victor. Had Fantasia not won, it would have been a travesty.
“I WASN’T even in it for the prize,” said Fantasia. “I was like, ‘Hey, I’m going to sing.’ I think my purpose (in life) is to just to get out there and sing. But I had never been in a competition before.”
Another performance that warmed hearts and made people marvel at the depth of Fantasia’s delivery was the lovely “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” — a song closely associated with Barbra Streisand. “Idol” judge Paula Abdul cried all the way through.
But as Smokey Robinson said in one of his compositions, recorded by the Marvelettes, “You’ve got to take the bitter with the sweet.”
The first “sweets” were making it to the semi-finals, then the finals, then the top 12. But already there was something “bitter.”
Fantasia was an unwed mother, having given birth to her daughter, Zion, when she was 16.
The “American Idol” producers “gently suggested” that it might be a good idea, for the sake of her chances of winning — and for the show — to not say anything about her daughter.
BUT FANTASIA wasn’t having it. Not only did she not keep Zion a secret, she brought her on the show, proudly identifying her as “a miracle.”
Tongues wagged, but so what!
The second “bitter” came in the form of Zion’s father, Brandel Shouse, who had done nothing for Zion or Fantasia, suddenly reappearing, hoping to start “relationships.” The “American Idol” winner allowed him to talk to Zion on the phone, but nothing more.
The public was eagerly awaiting Fantasia’s first album. “Free Yourself,” released in 2004, did not disappoint, artistically or in terms of sales. It reached the million mark, thus earning Platinum certification from the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA). There were also three Grammy nominations.
Fantasia won an NAACP Award that year as Outstanding Female Vocalist.
The follow-up album, “Fantasia,” featuring the No. 1 single “When I See U,” didn’t quite make it to Platinum but achieved Gold certification from the RIAA when it hit the 500,000 sales mark. Plus, there were three more Grammy nominations.
Fantasia was ecstatic about all this success, but with success can come the problem of “mooching relatives.”
She bought a large house and made the mistake of inviting numerous relatives to live there, but they stayed too long, not to mention some living from her paychecks. Eventually something had to be done. Call it “tough love.”
IN 2006, Fantasia starred in a film made for Lifetime Television based on her autobiography, “Life Is Not A Dream.” She played herself in “The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale.”
Fantasia again demonstrated how extensive her talents are when she took on the role of Celie in the Broadway musical “The Color Purple.” The show was a huge success at the box office and won raves from many of the most seasoned critics.
“Back to Me,” Fantasia’s third album, was released in the summer of 2010. Like the albums that came before, it was greeted warmly by the public and radio programers.
By this time Fantasia had become known for clothes and hairstyles that in some cases could be described as outlandish and unflattering. But she always seems to be having a good time with it, perhaps enjoying the raised eyebrows.
FANTASIA HAD found herself facing financial difficulties by 2008, a low point being her expansive lakefront home in Charlotte, North Carolina, going into foreclosure and put up for auction. But a complicated, legality-fused “eleventh-hour deal” resulted in her being able to keep the house.
There was plenty of gossip in 2010 when Fantasia Barrino began an affair with a man by the name of Antwaun Cook. He was married, but Fantasia says the couple was separated when she and Cook began dating.
The wife, Paula Cook, had planned on suing Fantasia, but a judge in North Carolina ruled in the singer’s favor because according to him, Fantasia and Cook did indeed start their relationship after the separation.
Fantasia got pregnant by Cook, but chose to have an abortion. The following year she gave birth to a son, Dallas Xavier Barrino. However, she would not reveal who the father was, sparking still more gossip.
She asked publicly that people not be judgmental and, more importantly, refrain from getting into her personal business.
But it all comes back to music.
“When I’m out on the stage, it gives me this rush,” said Fantasia. “Anything that’s on my mind and everything I’m going through are forgotten.”
Most people agree that she is at her best when she forgoes the “soul screaming” which can be very distracting.
Fantasia’s current album is “Side Effects of You,” which finds her taking a more aggressive stance in several songs.
It, like Fantasia Barrino, is doing well.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 10:19
Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures Announce The Casting of Chinese Entertainer Han Geng in Transformers 4
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures jointly announced today that Chinese entertainer Han Geng has been cast in "TRANSFORMERS 4." Among Asia's top stars, Han Geng has conquered the worlds of music, television and feature film to become one of the most influential entertainers in China.
He joins Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz, Sophia Myles, TJ Miller and Chinese actress Li Bingbing in the fourth installment in the hit series of movies based on the best-selling Hasbro toyline. Paramount Pictures will release the film on June 27th, 2014.
"Han Geng has been a sensation in China and we are happy to have him in our movie," said Michael Bay.
Making his debut in 2005 as a member of the hugely popular group Super Junior, Han Geng later turned to a solo career, releasing his first album "Geng Xin" in 2010, which went on to sell over a million copies. His most recent album "Hope in the Darkness" was released in 2012 and has earned Han Geng a number of hit singles.
Han Geng has appeared on both the big and small screen, with roles that have shown his range as an actor. In 2008, Han Geng appeared in CCTV's "Stage of Youth," a 12-episode drama that drew incredible ratings. Among his big screen roles, he had a cameo appearance in the 2010 feature film "The Founding Party," along with other A-list Chinese celebrities and later that year had his first starring role on the silver screen in the action movie "My Kingdom". The multi-hyphen entertainer has subsequently starred in the films "Beginning Of The Great Revival," and "The First President." His most recent starring role was in "So Young", a major box office hit in China, having earned more the $115 million (over 700 million yuan) since its release in May of 2013.
Han Geng has extraordinary popularity on the internet in China. When his albums or films are released his name and movies typically top the charts as the "most searched" and accumulate the most hits. "TRANSFORMERS 4" marks Han Geng's debut in an English language production.
Paramount, China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises announced this past April a Cooperation Agreement regarding the production of "TRANSFORMERS 4" in China. Under the agreement, China Movie Channel, under the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRT), will cooperate with Paramount in broad-based support of the production of the film in China.
"TRANSFORMERS 4" is expected to be released in China on or about June 27, 2014. The parties are working in cooperation on a number of other areas related to "TRANSFORMERS 4", including the selection of filming sites within China, and theatrical promotion. This agreement represents the first time that China Movie Channel will work with a western studio in the production of a major motion picture.
Shooting in multiple locations in the U.S. and China throughout the summer, the film is directed by Bay and re-unites the filmmaking team from the hit franchise, including producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy & Tom DeSanto and Ian Bryce; and executive producers Steven Spielberg, Bay, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. "TRANSFORMERS 4" is written by Ehren Kruger, based on Hasbro's Transformers™ Action Figures.
The third, and most recent installment of the franchise, "TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON," is the fifth highest global grossing film of all time with $1.124 billion dollars of worldwide box office success. The "TRANSFORMERS" movies are among the most popular films ever released in China, and Michael Bay is among the most popular directors with Chinese audiences. "TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON," released theatrically in 2011, grossed $165 million in China and more than $1.1 billion worldwide.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 11:30
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!