I remember Omar Tyree's announcement in late 2009, that he'd formed a production company to see his novels adapted to film, and TV, with Leslie, being the first novel to get screen treatment.
At the time, Tyree seemed thoroughly excited about the possibilities that his novels and those of other black writers, presented, that Hollywood just wasn't, and still really isn't exploiting, and that he planned to essentially, take matters into his own hands, and make things happen.
I should also note that, in the last 18 months, we've seen Tracey Edmonds of Edmonds Entertainment announce a multi-picture deal to develop the extensive library of novels by E. Lynn Harris into feature films; and also Jeff Clanagan of Codeblack Entertainment announced a 7-picture deal with author Mary “HoneyB” Morrison.
So there's clearly a movement to get these best-selling novels adapted to screen, so we continue to wait and watch to see what develops.
In the meantime, speaking of Clanagan, Codeblack, and Tyree, here's some related news we received today, via press release.
Codeblack Films (a Lionsgate company), has acquired the rights to the New York Times best-selling Flyy Girl book trilogy written by Tyree.
This captivating trilogy is a coming of age story that explores the journey of a young woman motivated by the material life who plunges into a fast-paced world of gratuitous sex, violence and heartbreak in an attempt to find herself and to assess her goals in life during the modern Hip-Hop era. The second book in the series, “For the Love of Money” won an NAACP Image Award (2001, Outstanding Book, Fiction).
Tyree’s books have been read by over 8 million people worldwide, and have grossed more than $30 million for publishing giant Simon & Schuster. His brand is one of the most talked about in the urban community, and his products can be found in 12 countries.
“Omar Tyree has created a franchise with an incredible story that connects with audiences worldwide,” said Codeblack Films President Jeff Clanagan. “Codeblack is excited to have the film rights for these books which have been a staple in the African-American community for more than 20 years. We’re thrilled to have the chance to finally bring these stories to screen.”
Codeblack Films’ General Manager Quincy Newell brokered the deal with Global Renaissance Entertainment Group’s CEO/Owner Arthur Wylie and Chief Operating Officer Dale Godboldo. Jean Chi, Lionsgate’s SVP of Business & Legal Affairs, business executive Greg Snodgrass of Business Affairs Inc. and Jeffrey Miles, attorney for Global Renaissance Entertainment Group, handled legal duties.
"I couldn't be happier to embark on this journey with Codeblack Films and Global Renaissance Entertainment Group," states Omar Tyree. "I have every confidence that my brand has found the perfect home with one of the most effective machines in Hollywood."
Since moving into Lionsgate HQ, Clanagan's Codeblack has been quite aggressive with its pickups, seeing early box office success most recently with Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, which has already grossed close to $30 million after just over 2 weeks in release.
The company also recently acquired US distribution rights to Forest Whitaker‘s thriller Repentance (previously titled Vipaka).
The southern gothic, psychological thriller stars Whitaker, Anthony Mackie, Sanaa Lathan, Nicole Ari Parker and Mike Epps.
It made its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, UT earlier this year, and was the opening night movie for the Pan African Film Festival in February.
And then there's George Tillman Jr.'s The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete, which stars Jennifer Hudson, Skylan Brooks, Anthony Mackie, Jordin Sparks, Jeffrey Wright, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, in a drama that sees Jennifer Hudson as a drug addict mother whose arrest forces her son and his best friend to fend for themselves.
The script was penned by Michael Starrbury, and by co-produced by Alicia Keys.
Expect an early 2014 release.
And also there's Charles Murray's feature debut, Things Never Said, which stars Shanola Hampton, Omari Hardwick, Elimu Nelson, Tamala Jones, Dorian Missick and Michael Beach.