EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate won an auction and is paying north of $1 million and under $2 million for Black Collar, a heist thriller pitch to be written by William N. Collage and produced by Kenya Barris through his Khalabo Ink Society banner. Lionsgate took it off the table as bidders were circling. It is one of the biggest pitch deals of the year.
Specific plot under wraps, but this is a globe trotting suspense action heist adventure said to be reminiscent of hits like The Thomas Crown Affair and Inside Man, but with a fresh contemporary way in with timely themes. Collage scripted Emancipation, which became a $4 million spec script that sold to Apple for a film currently in production starring Will Smith and directed by Antoine Fuqua. Collage also scripted Exodus, Assassin’s Creed, the final installment of Divergent, and the ABC series Of Kings and Prophets among his credits. Collage is exec producing.
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Barris’ Khalabo Ink Society continues to broaden, with an Audible podcast deal and the launch of the Interscope-based Khalabo Music. Barris co-wrote a film with Jonah Hill and will direct. with Hill starring; he’s writing, directing and producing a film about comic icon Richard Pryor, has an animated film inspired by the songs and music of Bob Marley, and is working on a remake of White men Can’t Jump. He’s also got Blood Brothers, a docu about the friendship between Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, which Netflix launches September 9.
Lionsgate’s James Myers will oversee and the deal was negotiated by Lionsgate’s Robert Melnik. Barris and Collage are repped by CAA, which packaged the deal. Barris is managed by Artists First and lawyered by Gregg Gellman, and Collage is managed by Syndicate’s Cliff Roberts — who is exec producing Black Collar — and his attorney is Jeff Frankel.
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