You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

DeVon Franklin Nabs First-Look Producing Deal With Sony

DeVon Franklin will segue from his post as senior vice president of production for Columbia Pictures into a first-look production deal with Sony.

Encompassing both film and television, Franklin and his namesake production company, Franklin Entertainment, will develop projects that appeal to both faith-based and urban markets.

“This is a plan tailor-made for DeVon’s specific skill set and interests,” Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures told Variety. “It’s clear that his ambition was to get closer to the product and maintain his speaking and writing career.”

An ordained preacher, the exec has spent nine years at Sony, overseeing projects such as “Heaven Is for Real,” “The Karate Kid” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.” In that role, he developed and produced commercial material focused on those two markets.

He’s already slated to join Joe Roth as a producer on “Heaven Changes Everything,” the sequel to “Heaven Is for Real,” which was made for $12 million and has grossed roughly $95 million to date. Sony is working on obtaining the rights to the next chapter of the “Heaven” series of stories from writers Todd and Sonja Burpo.

Franklin will produce “Unleash the Mules” with Roth and his son Zack. He will also join Steve Tisch, Jason Blumenthal and Todd Black as a producer on “Masters of the Universe,” and Dana Brunetti on “Gran Turismo,” the film adaptation of the PlayStation videogame franchise.

Belgrad said Franklin will remain on the lot as a producer and the two of them have been in talks for the past two to three years on this transition, which Belgrad called “a natural evolution.”

Franklin, in addition to being a studio exec, is also a published author and motivational speaker who penned “Produced by Faith,” a self-help bestseller that tracked his success strategy through his tenure in the entertainment industry.

Religious themed films like “Noah,” (which grossed $360 million worldwide) “God’s Not Dead,” (made for $2 million and grossed $60 million domestic) and “Son of God,” the latter of which television super-producer Mark Burnett adapted from his History miniseries “The Bible,” have performed well at the box office, signaling to Hollywood that audiences are interested in faith-based content.

“This faith-based content matters to us, it’s a super profitable niche and DeVon with Sony has demonstrated leadership to that space,” Belgrad said.


More Biz

  • Smoke haze covers the Sydney Harbour

    Australia's Seven West to Merge With Affiliate Prime Media

    Australia’s Seven West Media has agreed a deal to acquire regional broadcast group Prime Media. The move is a further step in the consolidation of Australia’s traditional media industry. The two companies announced on Friday that Seven will make the acquisition entirely through the issue of new shares to the owners of Prime. Both companies [...]

  • Ron Meyer

    Ron Meyer Files $10 Million Suit Over Forged Rothko

    NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer has filed a $10 million suit against two art dealers, claiming they sold him a forged Mark Rothko painting in 2001. Meyer accuses Susan Seidel and Jaime Frankfort of duping him into buying the work. According to the suit, he was told that it would be included in an official [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein Seeks to Call Expert on 'Recovered' Memories at Rape Trial

    Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys are seeking to call an expert on “recovered memories” at his trial on rape and sexual assault charges. The defense has filed a motion asking to call Deborah Davis, a psychologist and professor at the University of Nevada at Reno. Davis is a frequent defense witness. She co-authored an article in 2006 [...]

  • Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime

    Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime and Rolling Stone

    Showtime Documentary Films today announced a new limited docuseries profiling controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine. Titled “SuperVillain” and inspired by the Rolling Stone feature written by Stephen Witt, the three-part series will trace how a New York City deli clerk named Daniel Hernandez became superstar rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine — who racked up 2.6 billion streams and [...]

  • Fader Label Logo

    Fader Label Signs Two New Acts, Boosts Staff

    The Fader Label, home to Clairo, Matt and Kim and others, announced two new signings today along with three new hires on its staff. Charlie Burg and Zachary Knowles have joined the label’s talent roster, while Carson Oberg has come aboard as general manager, Yasmine Panah as project manager and Josh Hymowitz as label coordinator. They [...]


    CBS-Viacom Merger Details Revealed, Shares to Trade on Nasdaq

    Negotiations between CBS and Viacom went down to the wire on the day the long-gestating transaction was finally sealed on Aug. 13. CBS Corp. and Viacom revealed the timeline of the merger talks in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday that runs more than 650 pages. Also Thursday, CBS and Viacom said the [...]

  • Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis

    Hipgnosis Songs Raises Another $295 Million

    Hot on the heels of its deal to acquire a catalog of 108 Timbaland copyrights, Hipgnosis Songs has raised another $295 million (£231 million) — putting its total to nearly $800 million to date. According to the announcement, a total of 231,000,000 C Shares have been placed by Nplus1 Singer Advisory LLP  and J.P. Morgan [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content