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‘Ride Along 2’ Premiere: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tim Story Talk Franchise Possibilities

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart took their talent to South Beach with the world premiere of “Ride Along 2” Wednesday in Miami. A little rain couldn’t dampen the spirits at the Regal Cinemas South Beach, with a tented and jam-packed red carpet.

Universal hosted a livestream via Facebook and Periscope, with fans commenting and interacting with the stars in real time. Even Universal’s chairman Jeff Shell got in on the fun during Hart’s interview, proclaiming, “Kevin Hart is a big star!” then crouching down below the 5-foot-4 comedian, “Look how big he is!”

Even before 2014’s “Ride Along” became a smashing success, grossing more than $130 million domestically, director Tim Story said they had an idea a sequel could be in the works. “The chemistry was too good between Cube and Kevin,” he said.

“Of course,” Cube agreed, “We’re in the midst of a franchise!”

The sequel brings the action to Miami as Hart and Cube team to bring down a drug lord, played by Benjamin Bratt. “They have the chemistry of guys who have been together for years and years, almost like a married couple, if not bickering brothers.” Bratt said of the odd couple duo. “They’re perfect foils for one another.”

Bratt also complimented the stars on their work ethic and their many projects. “They’re cottage industries in themselves,” he said. “They’ve diversified artists! Music, filmmaking, comedy. It’s admirable.”

Co-star Olivia Munn wasn’t sure she’d be able to fit filming “Ride Along 2” into her schedule, until she happened to meet Hart backstage at an awards show. Their connection was “instant,” she said, “we were connecting and laughing.” She called her agent and said, “We had to find a way to make it work.”

“Anytime you do a sequel, you gotta go big,” said producer Will Packer.

It helps when the stars really align. “Me and Cube picked up where we left off,” Hart said of the sequel.

“I really respect what he does, he really respects what I do,” Cube agreed. “We feed off each other, we make sure each other’s scenes are going. We can keep on going with these!”

Story also agreed that there are more adventures in store for these two. “Maybe take them overseas, blow up some more stuff, get in more trouble…”

Also in attendance were U’s Ron Meyer, Donna Langley and Jimmy Horowitz, co-stars Tika Sumpter, Ken Jeong and Nadine Velazquez, and Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr.

“Ride Along 2” hits theaters Jan. 15.

(Pictured: Tika Sumpter, Benjamin Bratt, Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Ken Jeong, Olivia Munn, Tim Story and Will Packer at the Miami premiere of “Ride Along 2”)

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