EXCLUSIVE: Universal is setting Alan Cohen and Alan Freedland, the Emmy-winning King Of The Hill scribes who made their feature splash with the Todd Phillips-directed Due Date, to script Rocky Mountain High. That’s the project the studio won in a heated bidding battle that ended with a progress-to-production deal for a five-page pitch from Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz that Cube will star in. He will produce with Kwatinetz and Beau Flynn. They have been keeping the plot under wraps, but I’m persuaded that the title has something to do with the ingestion of substances that recently have been decriminalized in Colorado.

The scribes are repped by WME and Cube by UTA and attorney Matt Johnson. Jon Mone and Sara Scott will oversee for Universal. This is a priority project for the studio, which is aiming for a mid-2015 start date, for which Cube has cleared a slot in his schedule. Universal, helped by Donna Langley rescuing Cube’s Ride Along and Straight Outta Compton from turnaround, won the deal over four other studios.

Image (2) ride-along-trailer-0712013-133659__140118152845.jpg for post 668727As happened with Ride Along — word is the studio’s already is figuring out Ride Along 3 — Universal is banking on the idea that Cube will deliver another moderately budget comedy that will grow into a franchise. Even Ray Kroc would say Cube has launched more than his share of those, including Friday, Barbershop and Are We There Yet? before Ride Along. And though he didn’t launch it, Cube has become an integral part of the 21 Jump Street franchise. Don’t let the perpetual scowl fool you: All this action propelled Cube to his most successful year yet.