Columbia Pictures has committed to distribute director Darnell Martin’s “Blackout,” which is scheduled to go into production July 6.

Budgeted at $ 5 million-$ 6 million, “Blackout” will mark Martin’s directorial debut.

The picture will be produced by Lane Janger and Anne Carli under the aegis of N.Y.-based Think Again Prods.

“Blackout” lands at Colpix after a lengthy development cycle at Universal Pictures. U was close to moving the project forward with Spike Lee attached as executive producer, but reportedly balked at the $ 5 million pricetag.

At Col, the movie will be exec produced by Wendy Finerman, who originally brought the project into the studio fold. Studio veepee of production Stephanie Allain was the corporate champion of the project.

“Blackout” is about a housewife who takes a job at a record company after her husband is incarcerated for looting during a blackout. When the husband is released, he discovers that a stronger woman has emerged from the crisis.

Film is targeted to be distributed in spring or late summer 1994.

Martin’s previous credentials include a stint as assistant cameraperson on “Do the Right Thing.” She has also worked on music videos and commercials for such products as Nike sneakers and 501 jeans.

Martin said she wrote “Blackout” because she has a large number of friends who are Latino actors, and “she wanted to write something for them.”

William Morris Agency veepee Bobbi Thompson and motion picture agent Jeff Field negotiated the “Blackout” deal on behalf of Martin, Janger and Carli.

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