“Miracles From Heaven,” “The Star”
Franklin Entertainment, Franklin’s producing shingle, may only be two years old, but this is far from his first trip to Hollywood. He started interning for Will Smith when he was just 18 and worked behind the scenes as a Columbia exec for 10 years before striking out on his own. (The young producer is moving his deal from Sony to Fox.)
The Oakland, Calif., native says he’s always wanted to make movies, but got pushback at home. “People were like, ‘You want to go to Hollywood? That’s not a good thing for a Christian boy to do,’” he recalls. But in his freshman year at USC, where he studied business administration, he was already interning alongside Smith and James Lassiter, who is now Smith’s producing partner.
It was a quick bounce from there to MGM and finally Sony/Columbia, but he’s never left his faith-based film interests behind. “It’s always been my passion to make films that uplift and inspire; as an executive I almost created my own business within the structure,” he says.
Most recently, Franklin’s $13 million-budgeted “Miracles From Heaven” went on to earn over $73 million at the box office, and though his latest projects — a remake of “Cooley High” and reboot of “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” franchise — might seem to fall outside those faith outlines, he’s happy to disagree: “People think ‘faith’ and think ‘niche’ or ‘small,’ and I think ‘mainstream,’” he says. “Content that moves an audience in films, where you get repeat business, has an inspirational element. I just look for that element in any project I touch.” — Randee Dawn
In his words: “People think ‘faith’ and think ‘niche’ or ‘small,’ and I think ‘mainstream.’”
(Photo by Jay Lawrence Goldman)