As sick as some people might be of Charles Dickens' the Christmas Carol, having Ice Cube play Scrooge might be the defining moment for this often told holiday classic. There is no one more suited for the role, and it might prove to be the best character of his long and storied career as an actor. Universal Pictures picked up the spec script for Humbug in a four-studio bidding war, and Ice Cube is set to headline this Christmas comedy.
Tim Story, who directed Ice Cube in such blockbuster hits as Barbershop and Ride Along, is locked in to helm this contemporary retelling of Charles Dickens' most told tale. In this modern version, Ice Cube will play a wealthy real estate mogul who is, in traditional fashion, shown the errors of his ways by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, leading him on a path to redemption.
MGM, New Line and Disney were all hot to get their hands on Humbug. We're not sure why Disney wanted the script, it's only been six years since Disney's a Christmas Carol hit theaters to yawns across America. Jim Carrey played Scrooge via Mo-Cap, along with a few other characters, in the Robert Zemeckis directed CGI animated holiday adventure. The Universal deal landed screenwriters Todd R Jones and Earl Richey Jones a high six figures against a low seven.
Humbug was originally set up at Relativity, but Todd R Jones and Earl Richey Jones got the script back once the studio filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The UTA agency repackaged the screenplay and took it back out to the studios, where it immediately garnered interest. Ice Cube will pull in an 8 figure salary for the movie once it gets made. He is producing alongside Jeff Kwatinetz.
Todd R Jones and Earl Richey Jones will serve as co-producers. The film is just one of many former Relativity projects that is getting a second chance elsewhere. Other films that have moved include Olympic comedy The Bronze starring The Big Bang Theory's Melissa Rauch, which went to Sony Pictures Classics. And Jane Got a Gun, which is now housed at The Weinstein Company.
Ice Cube and Tim Story most recently collaborated on the comedy sequel Ride Along 2, which co-stars Kevin Hart. The film will open Martin Luther King weekend 2016. Universal Pictures found much success in Ice Cube's summer biopic Straight Outta Compton, and were eager to reunite with the rapper-actor-producer. Humbug is aiming for a 2017 release date, but that is not yet set in stone. Ice Cube has one other Christmas comedy under his belt with The Friday After Next.