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Columbia Pictures and Richard Pryor, one of the biggest...

HOLLYWOOD -- Columbia Pictures and Richard Pryor, one of the biggest box office draws in Hollywood, have agreed to a five-year, $40 million production deal.

The arrangement announced this week calls for Pryor to produce - although not necessarily star in -- four 'moderately' priced films over which he would have complete artistic control.

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Pryor will also star in a minimum of three Columbia motion pictures over the next five years. The deals are non-exclusive, meaning he is still free to work on other projects at other studios.

'We're looking for good scripts,' Pryor said. 'We have an open door and welcome anyone who wants to do quality films.'

Columbia Chairman Frank Price said, 'This (Pryor) company is for people who might be intimidated dealing with us (meaning the studio) directly.'

Pryor's first project for Columbia will be the long-planned 'Charlie Parker Story,' and he will re-team with Gene Wilder next spring in 'Double Whoopee,' based on an idea from Pryor turned into a script by Wilder.

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