When Boyz n the Hood exploded onto American movie screens 25 15 (!) years ago, John Singleton instantly because one of the country's best-known black filmmakers. Though his later works have been of uneven quality, he nevertheless remains one of the faces of African-American cinema -- that said, the number of young black and Latino filmmakers is rising. According to the LA Times, however, the number of minorities among studio executives remains incredibly low -- their research found a single African-American or Latino executive at 20th Century Fox, New Line and Paramount, and none at Universal, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures.

Thanks to his new deal with Universal, though, Singleton is suddenly in a position to act as a sort of unofficial exec: He's financing and producing a series of five low-budget ($15 million or less) films on which he'll make "all the creative decisions." According to the terms of the deal, Universal (or their genre arms, Rogue and Focus) has already agreed to market and release the films, regardless of style or content. Um, wow. Though Singleton probably couldn't have scored this deal had he not financed and produced Hustle & Flow (and not know Universal Chairman Marc Shmuger from his days at Sony, where Shmuger worked on Boyz n the Hood), he's nevertheless being given what seems to be extraordinary power here -- it'll be fascinating to see the films that come out of the deal, and how successful they are (the first, Illegal Tender, is now filming). If the series makes money, look for other studios to suddenly become interested in young black and Latino audiences.

[via Hollywood Wiretap]
categories Movies, Cinematical