Par takes rap with ‘Fade’ pickup

Studio will distrib Jay-Z concert pic

Paramount Classics has picked up worldwide rights to the Jay-Z concert pic “Fade to Black,” which will go out on 150 screens Nov. 5.

Shot at Madison Square Garden last November, the film documents the final live show of Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z, as a solo performer, as well as the recording process behind the rapper’s “The Black Album.”

The film includes guest performances by Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott and R. Kelly.

Pic reps the first acquisition for Par Classics since the exit of Par co-head and Viacom Entertainment chairman Jonathan Dolgen June 2.

It’s also something of a departure from the label’s prior buys. Other recent titles include “Mean Creek” and “The Machinist,” both purchased out of the Sundance Film Festival in January, and “Winter Solstice,” which Par Classics co-prexys Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein bought in May, shortly after its world preem in the Tribeca Film Festival.

New Viacom entertainment co-prexy and co-chief operating officer Tom Freston told an investment conference Sept. 28 that the Classics arm will be beefed up and broadened as part of Par’s push for riskier and more creative fare that will appeal to younger viewers.

Pat Paulson and Michael John Warren directed “Fade to Black,” which is billed as a Shawn Carter film and a production of and Marcy Projects. Bob Ezrin, Rich Kleiman and Justin Wilkes produced the film, with Carter, John Meneilly, Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma as exec producers.

Credits for include Errol Morris’ “Fog of War,” which won this year’s Academy Award for feature documentary, as well as “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” from Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofksy.

In addition to 10 multiplatinum albums and his film producing label, Marcy Projects, Jay-Z’s business interests include 40/40 restaurants, Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc-A-Wear.

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