Sony Promotes Production Exec Devon Franklin to SVP

Franklin, who started his career as an intern to Will Smith, has overseen some of the actor's latest hits at Sony

Columbia Pictures has promoted Devon Franklin to the position of SVP of Production, the studio announced on Tuesday.

Franklin, an ordained minister who began his career as an intern for Will Smith, will develop and supervise projects geared towards both urban and faith-based markets through the Screen Gems and Affirm Films labels. Both are subsidiaries of Sony Pictures.

Franklin's next project will be an adaptation of New York Times bestseller “Heaven Is for Real,” and he will continue to work on franchises such as “The Karate Kid” and “Master of the Universe.”

“DeVon has been a huge contributor to our development and production team since joining the studio in 2005,” Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad said in a statement. "DeVon is positioned to capitalize on his unique skill set, experience and relationships and will further define Sony as an industry leader in telling stories for a diverse audience.”

Franklin joined the studio from MGM in 2005. At Sony, he has overseen a string of hits starring Smith, including “Hancock” and “Seven Pounds.”

“Sparkle,” the Whitney Houston vehicle which he also supervised, hits theaters Aug. 17.