October 26, 2016
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Will Smith, Jay-Z confirm partnership, planned ‘Annie’ remake

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Media superstars Will Smith and Jay-Z made it official: Their respective companies will combine forces to develop and co-produce major motion pictures, one of which being an “Annie” remake with Willow Smith in the title role.

“The time is right to bring back ‘Annie’ to the big screen. Of course, we’re true believers in Willow’s talent and believe she will be perfect in this role,” said Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad. “Combining Willow with the Overbrook team that reimagined ‘Karate Kid’ and the spectacular Jay-Z makes this a dream project.”

More from the release:

The partnership began over dinner with Jada, Will, James Lassiter and JAY-Z, where they decided to co-invest in the now successful beauty products line Carol’s Daughter. They continued this partnership as co-producers of the successful Broadway production Fela!, which earned a total of eleven Tony Award nominations in 2010.

Additionally, Willow Smith, managed by OE Executive Miguel Melendez, signed onto JAY-Z’s record label, Roc Nation which produced her first single titled “Whip My Hair” has been certified Platinum. JAY-Z previously sampled the classic Annie song “It’s the Hard Knock Life” in his chart-busting single “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).”

“We are excited to partner together to develop and produce a wide variety of films with our longtime friend JAY-Z, with whom we share a common global vision, both commercially and philosophically, and look forward to collaborating once again with the incredibly talented executives at Sony,” said Overbrook Co-Founder James Lassiter.

Stated Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, “The Overbrook Entertainment family and I have a unified vision. We’ve already produced a Tony Award winning play and we’re developing a true superstar in WIllow. This venture into film development and production is a perfect next step with teams that are accomplished, creative, and innovative.”

Do you like this idea? What other projects would you like to see The Fresh Prince and Jay-Z collaborate on? More remakes, or something totally original? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Photo courtesy of PRPhotos.com.

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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