He topped the Billboard album chart for nine weeks this year, but can Usher top the weekend box office chart? Paramount thinks he can. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the studio will distribute a movie, to be produced by MTV Films, that will give the R&B heartthrob (full name: Usher Raymond) his first leading film role. There's no title yet, and the plot remains secret, but MTV has dropped a plan for a movie that would have been called ''Confessions,'' after the singer's current top-selling CD (at nearly 5 million copies sold, it's 2004's biggest seller so far).
The 25-year-old's filmography to date has consisted of supporting parts in such movies as ''The Faculty,'' ''Light It Up,'' and ''Texas Rangers.'' He'll be seen this fall in ''Ray,'' the Ray Charles biopic, as soul legend Jackie Wilson. No word on when production will begin, but Usher has a busy couple of months ahead, with a concert tour planned from early August through early October.