STX Entertainment and Kevin Hart developing two new comedies
Following the surprise box office success of The Upside, STX Entertainment and Kevin Hart will reteam to develop two new comedies from Hart’s HartBeat Productions, with Hart expected to also star in both projects.
STX approached Hart and John Cheng, President of Film/TV for HartBeat, with two pitches for a body-switching comedy entitled Black Friday based on a story by Doan La and an international romantic comedy that is still searching for a writer. Hart and Cheng are attached to produce both projects while HartBeat’s Carli Haney and STX’s Drew Simon will oversee them for their respective studios.
“It’s crystal clear audiences love Kevin and they want to see him in a variety of roles,” Chairman of STXfilms Adam Fogelson said. “This partnership allows STXfilms to take the successful collaboration we started with The Upside and extend it to new projects that further build on our mission to work with the best in the business to grow our profitable business model.”
The dramedy remake, which stars Hart and Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston as an ex-convict and a quadriplegic who, after the former is hired to be the latter’s caretaker, develop a unique bond, received a wide theatrical release from STX on January 11 and despite receiving mixed reviews from critics proved to be an early box office hit, dethroning Aquaman from the number one spot at the box office and already having grossed over $50 million against a budget of $37.5 million, falling to second place in its sophomore weekend to the thriller Glass.
“STX has a proven ability to tell crowd-pleasing, globally appealing stories in the mid-budget sweet spot,” Cheng said. “When they approached Kevin and me with pitches that we felt we could creatively sink our teeth into, we recognized we were in good hands with an innovative partner that would help us produce two funny and original films with the potential to reach audiences around the world.”
Aside from the controversy surrounding his Oscars hosting position, audiences seem to be finding a better appreciation for Hart in films once again, with the 39-year-old comedian finding large critical and commercial success in the past few years with the animated film adaptation of the children’s novel series Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, the animated family adventure The Secret Life of Pets, which will see him reprise his role of Snowball in the upcoming sequel slated for a June 7 release.
“STX came in to make The Upside the success it is; their strategy, execution and collaborative approach are perfectly aligned with HartBeat Productions’ values,” Hart said. “It was an easy ‘yes’ when they pitched us two new ideas to produce together.”
Hart has also found major success in his collaborations with action heavyweight Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the 2010 modest action comedy hit Central Intelligence and the 2017 fantasy comedy adventure Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which proved to be a surprise smash for critics and audiences alike, grossing nearly $1 billion globally and spawning a third film that is currently in production and is slated for a December 13 release.