Holiday 99:Industry Buzz-You

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By Shelby J. Jones


Opening on only 1346 screens nationwide, The Best Man had the John Blaze this weekend as it toppled box-office champ Double Jeopardy and punched the disappointing Fight Club right in the jaw. Apparently, Hollywood is paying attention to the box office appeal of Black directors, actors and producers. The Best Man garnered $9,031, 660.00 at the box office followed by Double Jeopardy with $7,622,515.00 but get this - it was on 3002 screens. The Best Man won - see review and interviews from our October 99 edition.

Doug McHenry, founder of Elephant Walk Entertainment, will hit the director's chair again to direct a comedy from Fox Searchlight called, Kingdom Come. McHenry's last directing stint was the hit pic, Jason's Lyric.

Every since he had to run from Tupac as Pac was spraying bullets in Juice, Omar Epps has continually provided some memorable performances - Higher Learning, Scream, The Wood and now he will star in with Takeshi Kitano in Brother. Brother is a story about a Japanese gangster who relocates to LA. When in LA, Kitano hooks up with Omar and they will try to lock LA down. The east LA drug flow that is. This should be hype - no doubt. This is Kitano's first film outside his native Japan.

The Black Cinema Café DC hosted its second film on October 18th at the Zanzibar Restaurant in Southwest, Washington D.C. Hundred of people turned out to check out the very funny The Rev. Do Wrong Ain't Right. Check them out at The next film will be on Monday, November 16, 1999.

The networks must have taken the NAACP and Latino pressure tactics seriously. NBC has agreed to a series development deal with Marlon Wayans for the 2000-01 season. Show em what you got Marlon.

Damn! Can we catch a break? After SAG and AFSTRA issued a report indicating the poor representation of minorities in this business, Actors Equity now reports that minorities are even casted in low numbers on Broadway. People, do we not tear it up when we are allowed to perform and tell our story? Financiers and executives should play closer attention to what the "people" want as opposed to what some accountant or bean counter says. Diversity sells. No one wants to see the Brady Bunch anymore. People want diversity - it's diversity stupid!

P-Diddy Dot Com? Apparently the Bad Boy topper is considering jumping into cyberspace. We'll keep you posted on that one. For now, check out Bad Boy at

It's never too late to say thanks so we here at would like to thank Bob Daly and Terry Semel for their unprecedented performance as the dynamic duo for Warner Bros. During the years, Warner Bros. has lent a special hand to Black actors and the Black community. And your film record speaks for itself. Thanks and much peace in your days to come.

Laurence Fishburne and Keanu Reeves beat up James Cameron on DVD. Have y'all seen that? Well actually, The Matrix (see review) which those two starred, has beaten Titanic as the number one ordered film on the DVD format.

Here is the cast - Obba Babatunde, Billy Dee Williams, Phylicia Rashad, Hill Harper, Rae Dawn Chong and Marla Gibbs. What film? Check out the Visit at

Indian screenwriter/director, M. Night Shyamalan has been paid $5 million for a spec script according to the October 18th edition of the Hollywood Reporter. Disney paid the loot. Speaking of Disney, if you all get a chance, read Disney CEO Michael Eisner's book, Work In Progress from Hyperion. His knowledge of the film business is second to none. Trust me - read it.

In one of the first deals of its kind, Columbia Tri-Star Television has signed a long-term agreement with the NBA to produce sitcoms and other shows based on the star-packed league.

Not to be outdone by the NBA, Nike is sponsoring a new league called NBA Entertainment League - starring Woody Harrelson, Coolio, Jamie Foxx, Damon Wayons, Chris Tucker, Ray Liotta and others will play weekly games at a Burbank High School. The league will consist of 10 teams with 12 players each.

Lauryn Hill is back at it again. Hill will purportedly star and produce Sauce for New Line Cinema. It's a romantic comedy about a love affair between the children of rival barbecue sauce kingpins. Sounds funny.

The first time I heard NWA, I knew Ice Cube has something…what I didn't know but I knew the bro had something. Evidently, Artisan Entertainment thinks so as well. Ice Cube has just signed a second-look deal with Ice Cube's production company, Cube Vision. Who gets the first look? New Line Cinema.


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