×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lions Gate puts ‘Bee’ in its bonnet

Atchison to helm Fishburne starrer

Lions Gate Films has teamed with Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner’s 2929 Entertainment to co-finance and distribute “Akeelah and the Bee.”

Pic, to star Laurence Fishburne and Keke Palmer, concerns an 11-year-old from South Los Angeles whose journey to compete in the National Spelling Bee unites her community.

Doug Atchison will direct from his own script, which won the Nicholl Fellowship in 2000.

Atchison first developed the idea after seeing ESPN’s inaugural broadcast of the Scripps Howard Spelling Bee and observing that few inner-city children participated in the competition.

Sid Ganis’ Out of the Blue Entertainment and Michael Romersa’s Reactor Films will produce with Nancy Hult Ganis and Danny Llewelyn.

Wagner, Cuban and 2929’s Marc Butan will exec produce with Helen Sugland of Landmark Artists Management.

Pic is being fast-tracked for a production start in late January in Los Angeles, with some second-unit work to lense in Washington, D.C.

Lions Gate prexy of production Mike Paseornek and senior VP of production Donna Sloan oversee the project. VP Jonathan Ruiz will act as the project’s production exec.

“Akeelah comes from an environment where many kids feel like the Spelling Bee is for someone else,” Atchison said. “In order to compete, Akeelah must first overcome her feelings of inadequacy. It’s the quintessential underdog story.”

“Bee” marks the second collaboration between Lions Gate and 2929 Entertainment after the Robert De Niro thriller “Godsend,” which 2929 produced and Lions Gate released.

Butan was a Lions Gate exec before becoming head of 2929 Prods.

More Film

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

  • Ventana Sur Debates Gender Parity in

    Ventana Sur Debates Gender’s 50/50 in 2020 for Argentina Film Industry

    BUENOS AIRES — Despite recent gains, namely the equality pledge towards 50/50-2020 signed at the Mar del Plata Film Festival on Nov. 12, producer Magalí Nieva, pointed out that no representative from INCAA was present following the apparent resignation of its vice-president Fernando Juan Lima. “We are left without an interlocutor to discuss gender policies [...]

  • Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass

    Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass Attendance, Structural Growth

    BUENOS AIRES — Celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge hike in attendance to over 4,000 accredited delegates, the 2018 Ventana Sur will go down in history on multiple counts: Sales and pick-ups on movies which combined social comment and entertainment value, increasingly the new foreign-language movie standard; new sections, led by a Proyecta co-production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content