'Let Me Explain' will play against 'Lone Ranger,' 'Despicable Me 2'

Lionsgate will release stand-up comedy movie “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain” on July 4 via its partnership with Codeblack Films.

Move comes eight months after Lionsgate and Codeblack formed a multi-year partnership with Codeblack Enterprises founder Jeff Clanagan with Clanagan aiming to produce two to three features per year.

“Let Me Explain” is being positioned as counter-programming on a pair of tentpoles opening the day before — Disney’s “Lone Ranger” and UIniversal’s “Despicable Me 2.” “Let Me Explain” is financed and executive produced by Hart and his Hartbeat Productions banner and produced by Clanagan. The 2012 “Let Me Explain” concert tour included 10 countries and 80 cities with over $32 million in ticket sales, concluding on New Year’s Eve at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Codeblack’s “Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain” grossed $7.7 million at the domestic box office in limited release in September 2011.

Hart’s recent feature film acting credits include “Think Like a Man,” “the Five-Year Engagement” and “Death at a Funeral.”

Clanagan told Variety when he formed the partnership that he had been in discussions with two other studios but opted for Lionsgate, citing its track record in handling African American-themed pics such as the Tyler Perry films, “Precious,” “Akeelah and the Bee” and “Civil Brand,” which Clanagan exec produced.

He also pointed to the box office success of Screen Gems’ “Think Like a Man,” which grossed $91 million domestically, as an indicator that the urban audience is hungry for more.

CodeBlack worked on standup comedy specials for Steve Harvey, Cedric The Entertainer and Mo’Nique.

Hart is represented by UTA and 3 Arts. The deal was negotiated by Clanagan and Marc Danon and Jean Chi for Lionsgate.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more