Monday Movie Report: Biopics of Sammy Davis Jr., Marvin Gaye in the works

Two biopics about legendary singers are taking shape in Hollywood. One of them will follow the life of Marvin Gaye while the other is about Sammy Davis, Jr.

According to Deadline, the latter is coming together under the leadership of Paramount Pictures and Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Deadline reports that plans are in place to hire a writer and director soon to push the project into production.

Much of the film, Deadline writes, will be based on the 1965 memoir “Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis, Jr.” That book was written by Davis, Jr., along with Jane and Burt Boyar.

In its article, Deadline states that Davis was born in Harlem and performed for soldiers during World War II. Helping him attain celebrity status in the music world, though, was his work with Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack.

In addition to his music career, Deadline reports that Davis was also an advocate for civil rights, which included his participation in the march from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King.

In addition to two NAACP awards, Davis received four Emmy nominations, three Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination and a Tony Award nomination. Davis, who died in 1990, also received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys and was inducted into their Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, Rapper and Producer Andre “Dr. Dre” Young is working to create a biopic about Marvin Gaye. Previously, Young was a producer on the 2015 film “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic that followed his own story in music, when he was a member of the N.W.A. The film went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for screenplay.

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According to Variety, the rights to Gaye’s music have been secured. However, Variety reports that while there have been attempts at other film projects, they haven’t been authorized by Gaye’s estate. More recently, Variety writes that Jamie Foxx approached the Gaye family for a short series in 2016, but the project didn’t move forward.

Gaye, who was shot and killed in 1984 during a dispute with his father, had three of his albums ranked in the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by the Rolling Stones magazine.

During his career he won multiple Grammy Awards and an American Music Award. He was also posthumously given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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At the box office this past weekend, it was “Incredibles 2” from Disney and Pixar taking the top spot by a massive margin. The long-awaited sequel to the 2004 picture earned a whopping $182 million opening weekend. The amount easily surpassed the previous animated opening record of $135 million by “Finding Dory.” Additionally, it’s now set as the eighth largest weekend opening of all time.

The full top five from the weekend was:
1. Incredibles 2 – $182,687,905
2. Ocean’s 8 – $18,968,184
3. Tag – $14,947,396
4. Solo – $10,001,056
5. Deadpool 2 – $8,681,501

For the upcoming weekend, meanwhile, the only new major release is “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” That movie will be the fifth in the “Jurassic Park” franchise.

For the small screen, home releases include:

  • Pacific Rim Uprising, My Rating: 1 out of 5, Large Association of Movie Blogs Rating: 2.5 out of 5, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 43%
  • Midnight Sun, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 18%
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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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