Tyler Perry has made a mint for Lionsgate as the director and star of his long series of Madea films, so I at least was suspecting that the studio would push hard to keep in the fold when he goes on to play the detective Alex Cross. Instead another mini-major has gotten there first-- according to Variety, Summit Entertainment has picked up the U.S. distribution rights to I, Alex Cross, the adaptation of the James Patterson novel that will star Perry with Rob Cohen directing.

Fans of detective movies will remember that Morgan Freeman first played Alex Cross on the screen, in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, which gives Perry some seriously large shoes to fill, Given that he's spent the last five years playing an obese grandmother in a housedress, and building up a filmmaking empire that's based in Atlanta, I guess the guy's not afraid of a challenge. Matthew Fox is set to co-star as Cross's nemesis Michael Sullivan, the murderer who killed Cross's wife. Shooting will start later this year with no release date set, though really, this seems like the kind of evergreen film that could fit in any spot on the release schedule. When Summit runs out of Twilight money they'll have the Alex Cross franchise in their back pocket.

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