Sony Moves Into Theater, Signs Deal With Scott Sanders to Adapt Studio’s Films

Scott Sanders, who adapated "The Color Purple" for Broadway, will bring some of Sony's box office hits to the stage

Sony, the studio behind franchises like “Men in Black” and “The Karate Kid,” has agreed to a five-year deal with Scott Sanders Theatrical Productions to turn some of those beloved films into stage productions.

As part of the deal, Sony has purchased a 20 percent stake in Sanders’ company, which he founded in 2007. Sanders has a long history in production for film, television and theater, including bringing “The Color Purple” to Broadway (Sanders pictured above with co-producer Oprah Winfrey).

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“Expanding our successful relationship with Scott Sanders was the natural next step that provides the studio with a talented Broadway partner to help bring our film and TV libraries to the stage, and further diversify the studio’s entertainment offerings,” Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in a statement.

Concurrent to this agreement, Lia Vollack, SPE’s president of worldwide music, will also assume the title of EVP, theatrical. She will oversee the studio’s theatrical productions and serve as its liaison with Sanders’ company.

Vollack started her career in the theater, working as designer throughout much of the 1980s. By the early 1990s, she was working in Hollywood and this gives her an opportunity to both reengage with the theater and expand Sony’s efforts in the area.

“Over the years, we’ve never really focused on this part of the business,” Vollack told TheWrap. “We’ve occasionally licensed out piecemeal, and we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s an arena we’d like to be in. We have really strong properties.”

Sony has already begun to target certain projects, such as the 1982 comedy "Tootsie," but as the deal was just consummated discussing any of them would be premature.

Sanders has hired Sandy Block as a producer and VP, who will work with he and Carol Fineman on developing the projects.