Sony Pictures Animation is developing “The Lamb,” an animated movie inspired by the Nativity story that DeVon Franklin will produce under his newly-minted company Franklin Entertainment.
Based on an original pitch by Tom Sheridan, the film will feature both laughs and heart, as well as an all-animal cast.
Sony Animation intends to produce an inspiring, respectful and entertaining take on the famous Nativity story while remaining accessible to a broad audiences.
Sony Pictures Animation’s Michelle Raimo Kouyate, Jenny Marchick and Daniel Inkeles will oversee the project for the studio.
Franklin previously told TheWrap he believes that “entertainment absolutely has the power to heal,” and cited the increasing success of faith-based films and growing need for such content. “There is a desire for more uplifting content, and content that can inspire and challenge people in a way that makes us think more about our purpose, more about our destiny, and more about our history,” said Franklin, who is also a well-respected motivational speaker and Christian preacher.
The market for faith-based entertainment has been as big as ever this year, as evidenced by Darren Aronofsky‘s “Noah” ($359 million worldwide), Sony’s “Heaven Is For Real” ($100 million worldwide), Mark Burnett and Roma Downey‘s “Son of God” (nearly $60 million in the U.S.), the Kevin Sorbo movie “God’s Not Dead” ($60 million in the U.S. on a $2 million production budget”) and the Christian-themed football film “When the Game Stands Tall,” which is also expected to turn a profit.
With renewed interest in family-friendly, faith-based stories, it was only a matter of time before a major animation studio would take advantage of the trend and target younger audiences.
DreamWorks Animation tried its hand at a Biblical animated movie in 1998 with “The Prince of Egypt,” which grossed $218 million worldwide. So far, that has been the only faith-based film from a major animation studio, though it should be noted that “Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie” grossed $25 million in the U.S. on a reported production budget of $14 million.
Since graduating from UCLA’s MFA screenwriting program, Sheridan has written “The Honey Bees” for Nickelodeon TV Movies. He also sold an original feature pitch to Paramount Animation and has been hired to rewrite “Chilly Willy” for Universal.
Franklin is represented by CAA, while Sheridan is represented by APA, manager Jonathan Hung, and attorney Mike Castrillo.