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5/07/2005

 
Stars Ving Rhames and Ja Rule Put New Spin on Classic Tale With Explosive Urban Drama 'Back In The Day'

Worldwide Premiere on BET Set for Friday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on BET; DVD Hits Stores on May 24th

LOS ANGELES, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- What do you do when your past catches up with you? It's the question at the heart of this new-school classic depicting a young man at life's crossroads. Emmy Award(R) and Golden Globe(R) winner Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible, Don King: Only In America) and platinum-selling rapper Ja Rule (Assault on Precinct 13) star in the complex urban drama BACK IN THE DAY, making its worldwide broadcast premiere on BET on Friday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT. In addition, the BACK IN THE DAY DVD will debut in stores on May 24. Directed by James Hunter, this gritty tale of love and redemption features an all-star ensemble cast including Pam Grier (The L Word), Frank Langella (Unscripted), Tatyana Ali (The Brothers), Giancarlo Esposito, (Law & Order), Tia Carrere (Supernova), Debi Morgan (Eve's Bayou), and Joe Morton (Ali). Hunter shares co-screenwriting credits on BACK IN THE DAY with Michael Ruffanello.

In BACK IN THE DAY, Ja Rule portrays Reggie Cooper, a young man from the rough side of the tracks who lives with his divorced, affluent father (Esposito) in order to avoid the gang activity that almost claimed his teenage life in his mother's neighborhood (Grier). When Reggie reconnects with a recently paroled friend from his past (Rhames), he slips back into a life of crime with fatal consequences. Reggie becomes involved in the murder of a local preacher (Morton) and in the aftermath of this crime, he falls in love with the preacher's daughter (Ali). Ultimately, he must choose between losing everything he cares about and his lifelong loyalty to his oldest friend. BACK IN THE DAY chronicles the powerful story of one man's search for personal redemption.

"BET is very excited about this relationship with DEJ Productions on BACK IN THE DAY, a film that depicts urban life with dramatic realism and emotional depth," said Herbert Niles, BET Vice President of Film Development & Program Acquisitions. "The performances by Ving Rhames and Ja Rule are compelling and unforgettable, and BET is pleased to have the opportunity to introduce this riveting and unique story on our network."

BACK IN THE DAY was produced by DEJ Productions, a subsidiary of Blockbuster, Inc. and is distributed by First Look Home Entertainment. Marketing support for the DVD release includes trailers on premium DEJ and First Look titles, an extensive BET on-air and online promotional campaign, as well as national radio promotions in Top 30 markets.

ABOUT BET

BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE:VIA) (NYSE:and) (NYSE:VIA.B) , is the nation's leading television network providing quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs programming for the African-American audience. The BET Network reaches more than 80 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is a dominant consumer brand in the urban marketplace with a diverse group of branded businesses: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks -- BET Jazz, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, specializing in a full range of event production services, including event management, venue selection, talent recruitment, sound, lighting and stage production; and BET Books, the nation's leading publisher of African-American themed romance novels under the Arabesque imprint which also publishes compelling fiction under the Sepia imprint and inspirational fiction and nonfiction under the New Spirit imprint.

ABOUT DEJ PRODUCTIONS

DEJ Productions Inc. is a leading independent entertainment company that acquires and distributes product in the theatrical, home entertainment and television arenas. DEJ Productions is a wholly owned subsidiary of Blockbuster Inc. Since its inception in 1999, DEJ Productions has commanded one of the largest acquisitions and distribution infrastructures in independent film, with an average of 35 films a year. Among them, DEJ Productions acquired all English-speaking rights, including those in North America, to the 2003 Academy Award(R) winning film Monster, starring Charlize Theron. DEJ also co-financed and produced Crash with Stratus Films, written and directed by Paul Haggis, which will be released by Lions Gate Films later this year. DEJ Productions Inc. is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

ABOUT FIRST LOOK HOME ENTERTAINMENT

First Look Home Entertainment, a division of First Look Media, specializes in diverse independent films and special interest programs that include First Look Pictures theatrical art house and foreign releases, as well as video premieres and genre-specific films. These diverse titles have helped First Look Home Entertainment grow rapidly. Revenues since inception of the division have increased on average 77% per year. The current home entertainment release schedule includes the upcoming Sundance hit, September Tapes, National Lampoons Blackball (starring Vince Vaughn), and the recently released charming romantic comedy, Perfect Opposites (starring Piper Perabo, Martin Hendersen, Jennifer Tilly, Artie Lange), First Look Pictures' theatrical release, Mayor of the Sunset Strip (starring Rodney Bingenheimer, and featuring Coldplay, No Doubt, Cher, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Oasis, Courtney Love, to name a few), the 15 year television series hit, Unsolved Mysteries (featuring acclaimed host, Robert Stack), Stateside (starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Jonathan Tucker, Val Kilmer, Carrie Fisher, Joe Mantegna), and The Last Sign (starring Andie MacDowell and Tim Roth).
Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050506/NYF043
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com

Source: Black Entertainment Television, Inc.

CONTACT: Tosha Whitten-Griggs, +1-818-655-6712,
Tosha.whitten-griggs@bet.net, Zabrina Horton +1-818-655-6737,
Zabrina.horton@bet.net, both of BET; Ava DuVernay, ava@dvapr.com, Ellene
Miles, ellene@dvapr.com, both of The DuVernay Agency for BET, +1-323-860-7060

Web site: http://www.bet.com/




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