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Artisan warms up to Ice Cube

Pact exclu second-look

Artisan Entertainment has entered into an exclusive second-look pact with producer-director-actor Ice Cube and his production company, Cube Vision.

The two-year agreement, which supplements Ice Cube’s first-look deal with New Line Cinema, encompasses films with budgets of $3 million or less, for which Ice Cube will develop and produce along with Matt Alvarez of Cube Vision.

The Artisan pics will aim for a niche market, with a particular emphasis on cross-collaterializing music potential in the films.

“At Artisan, we hope to use Ice Cube’s name as a brand. We feel he represents a significant cultural presence,” said Aaron Ray, who is Ice Cube’s manager at management company The Firm.

‘Kings’ card

Ice Cube currently co-stars in Warner Bros.’ “Three Kings” with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. Last year he wrote, directed and starred in New Line’s “The Player’s Club,” for which he produced and recorded music for the soundtrack.

At Artisan, Ice Cube — who is not under contract to star in the films he develops — hopes to attract and develop new and established talent.

The pact also calls for Ice Cube and The Firm to produce the soundtracks associated with projects produced and distributed by Artisan. The joint-venture soundtrack deal could expand to include projects outside of The Firm and Cube Vision’s involvement.

Cube Vision has been pumping up its TV and film slate: Upcoming projects include “Shadow Man,” “Pimp” and “Next Friday,” the sequel to New Line’s “Friday” slated for theatrical release this Christmas.

‘Peace’ looms

Ice Cube’s “Peace” disc of his double album “War and Peace” is due out in January (“War” was released earlier this year). He made his acting debut in the Academy Award-nominated “Boyz N the Hood,” from director John Singleton. Since then, he has appeared in such films as “The Glass Shield,” “Higher Learning” and “Dangerous Ground.”

Ice Cube’s deal was handled by his managers at The Firm and his agent, CAA.

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