Black List Founder Franklin Leonard Exits Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment (Exclusive)

Black List founder Franklin Leonard joined the Sony-based production company almost two years ago

Black List founder Franklin Leonard has left his executive post at Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, two individuals with knowledge of the company told TheWrap.

It remains unclear what Leonard will do next, though he may return his focus to the Black List, which ranks the most popular unproduced scripts at the end of every year.

Getty ImagesLeonard has been at Overbrook close to two years, joining Smith’s Sony-based production company in November 2010 as VP of creative affairs. Since then, Smith has focused the company around his family, giving more sway to Caleeb Pinkett, younger brother of Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett.

Pinkett and Leonard hold the same title, but more work has gone through Pinkett.

Since Leonard joined Overbrook, the company has placed numerous projects into development but only made a few. Overbrook’s last film was the romantic spy comedy “This Means War,” which starred Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. 

Next up is “After Earth,” the ambitious sci-fi action film starring Will Smith, Isabelle Fuhrman and Smith’s son, Jaden. Pinkett is a producer on that project alongside Smith and James Lassiter, CEO of Overbrook.

Also Read: Jaden Smith Starring With Will Smith in Shyamalan's Sci-Fi Adventure

Though this power shift displaced Leonard, the departure is amicable, both individuals with knowledge of his plans told TheWrap.

A spokeswoman for Overbrook was not immediately available for comment.

Leonard came to Overbrook from Universal, where he served as director of development and worked on projects like “Fast Five” and “It’s Complicated.”

The Harvard graduate first registered on every studio's radar after founding the Black List in 2005 while at Appian Way. More than 100 films from the Black List have been produced and distributed, including major successes like "Juno," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Slumdog Millionaire."

The Black List team has been at work on expanding the list's website, in particular the paid membership model. For $20 a month, industry executives can look at a real-time list and get suggestions.