LeBron James inks landark TV, movie and digital deal with Warner Bros. fresh …

23 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

LeBron James Partnering with Warner Bros. for TV, Film and Digital Projects.

Now that I’ve got the “taking his talents” joke out of the way in the headline, The Wrap is reporting that NBA star LeBron James has signed a production deal with Warner Bros. to develop movies, TV shows and digital content for the studio. Warner Bros. announced that it inked the 30-year-old James and his company, SpringHill Entertainment, to a historic first-look deal spanning TV, film and original digital content. “Connecting with my fans and telling meaningful stories have always been my passion,” James said in a statement. “In everything I’ve done, from Nike commercials to (video project) ‘Uninterrupted’ and (the Starz comedy he produces) ‘Survivor’s Remorse,’ it’s always about connecting with people of all ages and providing unique content they can all enjoy.” The studio is landing James at the top of this game.The basketball icon and co-star of the newly released movie “Trainwreck” is forming a production partnership with Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. You would not be remiss in getting excited (or feeling trepidation) about the possibility of an update to , staring James and some of his closest NBA friends.

We’re excited to welcome LeBron and Maverick to the Warner Bros. family and look forward to partnering on incredible projects that will connect with consumers across a variety of platforms.” James has drawn nearly universal raves — Charles Barkley excepted — for his performance in the recently released “Trainwreck,” and there has long been speculation that he’ll appear in a reboot of “Space Jam,” the 1996 movie in which Michael Jordan was out-acted by both Bill Murray and Bugs Bunny. The company is behind the television show Survivor’s Remorse, of which James is an executive producer. “LeBron James has one of the most powerful, well-known brands in the world and we are excited to be in business with him and his partner, Maverick Carter, and SpringHill Entertainment,” said Kevin Tsujihara, the chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. “The combination of LeBron’s global media presence and Warner Bros.’ unmatched production and distribution expertise is a big win for fans everywhere.” James recently showed off his acting skills in the Judd Apatow-directed and Amy Schumer-written movie Trainwreck, for which he is getting rave reviews. The trademarks cover just about everything peripheral to a movie besides the actual movie, which isn’t a problem—Warner Brothers already owns that Space Jam trademark. A Space Jam sequel has been rumored for a while, and a Deadline report from February 2014 went so far as to claim a producer and screenwriter had gotten attached.

The report may have been premature—James immediately denied his involvement—but it’s clear that Warner wants to do this. 1990s nostalgia is in full swing, and James is as popular as any American athlete has been since Michael Jordan in his prime. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara. “Warner Bros. always needs to be thinking about bringing fresh perspectives and diverse voices into the company.” Neither company would disclose specifics of the deal, but according to people familiar with the matter Warner Bros. will retain full ownership of the copyright of any SpringHill content made as part of the agreement while SpringHill will share in the profits. SpringHill produces “Uninterrupted” for Bleacher Report, the sports-centric digital platform that is a unit of Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting. After appearing in four consecutive NBA Finals with the Miami Heat and winning two championships, James returned to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers and led them to the Finals once again, but he will still do his best to deliver a long-awaited title to Cleveland before the end of his playing days.

James —but that isn’t the priority. “If it’s the right script and it’s authentic to who I am then I’m not afraid to show my face on camera and try it,” he said. Athletes have long been making the transition from sports to entertainment, from swimmer-turned “Tarzan” star Johnny Weissmuller to football greats such as Jim Brown and Alex Karras, who enjoyed successful acting careers. NBA stars have appeared in some forgettable flicks, such as “Space Jam,” which featured Michael Jordan alongside Looney Tunes characters, and “Kazaam,” with Shaquille O’Neal. He has hobnobbed with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and has attended the Allen & Co. annual gathering of business titans in Sun Valley, joking at the time that he was “the small guy” in the room.

More established producers often have deals that include a fund to develop projects for movies and television and top tier producers have what is known as a “first-look fee” in which the studio pays for the right to have first crack at new material, usually before there is even a script. Among SpringHill’s current roster of shows is the comedy “Survivor’s Remorse” for the pay-TV channel Starz, about a rookie adjusting to life in the NBA and all the potential pitfalls that come with that.

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