Ice Cube Pitch ‘Rocky Mountain High’ To Universal After 5-Studio Bidding Battle

EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: A spirited bidding battle has concluded with a deal for Universal Pictures to acquire the Ice Cube comic vehicle Rocky Mountain High. They got this done right before Yom Kippur, and it’s an aggressive deal with progress-to-production language. They are keeping the logline under wraps, but it is a high-concept, big-idea comedy set in Colorado. They’ll hire a writer immediately and will shoot the film by the middle of 2015, with Cube starring and producing with his longtime manager Jeff Kwatinetz and Beau Flynn. Just as I reported yesterday, this went down to the wire with Relativity, Paramount, MGM and New Line all bidding.

Cube has history with most of those studios, but weighing in favor on behalf of Donna Langley is that she took on Ride Along after it was dropped by New Line, and she also greenlit Cube’s passion biopic, Straight Outta Compton, which New Line also was not able to make because it didn’t fall into the kind of films mandated by Warner Bros under Jeff Robinov. The five-page treatment by Cube and Kwatinetz brought six figures, but this is a whopping 7-figure deal, counting Cube’s salary and the fees being paid to the producer, and there is backend that is significant. But the budget is reasonable, in keeping with most of Cube’s films, and this is likely to hatch another franchise. Cube has many of those, from Friday and  Barbershop to Are We There Yet? and Ride Along, and though he didn’t launch it, he’s an increasingly important part of the 21 Jump Street franchise. UTA closed this deal with Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park and attorney Matt Johnson. FlynnPictureCo also has San Andreas for New Line and Warner Bros with Dwayne Johnson, an earthquake movie that hits June 5.

EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, October 1, 3:31 pm PST: There is a five-studio bidding battle over Rocky Mountain High, an original pitch that Ice Cube will star in and produce. Universal, Relativity, Paramount, MGM and New Line are all vying for this treatment that Cube hatched and will topline. The film has a reasonable budget and could spark a franchise. Cube will produce with Jeff Kwatinetz and Beau Flynn.

This comes as Cube is having the best year of his career. Ride Along and 22 Jump Street were both big hits; he just wrapped Ride Along 2 with Kevin Hart, and he is producing his life story, Straight Outta Compton, at Universal; Cube lends his voice in his first animated film in The Book Of Life; and he is prepping another Barbershop movie at MGM. I’ll let you know how this works out — it should be decided by tonight.

Cube is repped by UTA, Kwatinetz and attorney Matt Johnson.

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