‘Flamin’ Hot’ Producer DeVon Franklin Navigates New Distribution Routes in Film and TV: ‘Getting the Movie Made is the Win’

Producer DeVon Franklin has been cutting his own path through Hollywood for more than two decades.

He’s made a career as a producer out of pursuing inspirational and faith-infused movies and now TV shows. On the latest episode of Variety podcast “Strictly Business,” Franklin explains that he is unabashedly on a mission to use movies and now TV shows to provide inspiration and uplift to the audience.

He feels the faith-based genre is broadly defined enough to include his latest project, the spicy Cheetos origin story “Flamin’ Hot,” directed by Eva Longoria. The by-the-bootstraps business story from Searchlight premieres June 9 on Hulu. Franklin notes that the film’s business trajectory began as a theatrical film. When Hulu came into the picture for a streaming debut, Franklin didn’t balk.

“When I originally sold the project, I sold it as a theatrical,” Franklin says. “And then as we were getting closer to making the film Searchlight said they wanted to bring in Hulu. And so that seemed to make sense. I could have been upset initially, but I said, you know, I want to be pragmatic and I want to stay agnostic about how these films come to the world because if I was financing the films and I was in control of distribution then I get to say, but I’m not. OK? So those that are have a point of view and I’m going to respect that. So with ‘Flamin’ Hot, when the time came to go to streaming, I was like, alright. Now we’re going to be on Hulu and Disney+, which is great.”

The job of producing a feel-good story a la “Flamin’ Hot” doesn’t change at all depending on the size of its first-window screen. Whether it is released for theatrical distribution or streaming, “I’m still going to make a high-quality movie. I’m still going to put the movie together in the best way possible, still hire great filmmakers, you know, great actors. So for me, getting the movie made is the win. And how it ultimately gets distributed — it’s just a part of the process for me.”

In a candid interview, Franklin discusses his work as a motivational author and speaker and how he insisted that his spiritual life and Christian faith was intertwined with his work as a film executive at Sony Pictures and as a producer (and occasional actor) with a range of studios and independent distributors. Franklin also has a surprising choice as his pick for the most successful faith-based franchise of all time.

“Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. New episodes debut every Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

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