EXCLUSIVE: MGM is reviving its Barbershop franchise. The film company is negotiating a mid-seven-figure deal with Ice Cube to reprise his role as the catalyst for Barbershop 3. They are about to start talking to writers and I’m told the hope is to re-enlist Cedric the Entertainer and Queen Latifah as well. The 2002 original cost $12 million and grossed $75 million domestic while the 2004 sequel cost $30 million and grossed $65 million. MGM, whose late good fortunes are driven primarily by the 007 and Hobbit franchises, have clearly made franchise building a priority. There is a second Hot Tub Time Machine coming through Paramount at year’s end, Hercules has sequel aspirations, and there is the revival of the Poltergeist series. MGM is also working on the animated version of The Addams Family.
Cube has been thriving in franchise work. He reprises in Sony’s 22 Jump Street, which Sony releases June 13 with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reprising their roles as bumbling narcs. And after Universal saw Ride Along gross $146 million worldwide on a $25 million budget, the studio has greenlit the sequel to start production in late June with Cube and Kevin Hart reprising. Cube is separately producing Straight Outta Compton, the F. Gary Gray-directed adaptation of the formation of NWA, the hip-hop ensemble that launched the careers of Cube, Easy E and Dr. Dre. He’s producing that with Dre, Easy E’s widow Tomika Wright and Matt Alvarez. Universal is casting and production is to begin this summer.
Cube will produce Barbershop 3 with Alvarez, Bob Teitel and George Tillman Jr. Cube’s repped by UTA, Prospect Park’s Jeff Kwatinetz and attorney Matt Johnson.