Sony Pictures to release faith-based Nativity film, 'The Lamb,' with all-animal cast

DeVon Franklin, SVP of Production at Columbia PictureDeVon Franklin/Facebook

A new film based on the Nativity will be coming to theatres this Christmas.

Outspoken Christian and Hollywood executive DeVon Franklin will release "The Lamb" under his Franklin Entertainment imprint, in conjunction with Sony Pictures Animation.

The film is based on a script by Tom Sheridan, and features an animated, all-animal cast. Franklin, a Seventh-day Adventist minister, said that he believes in the healing power of entertainment, and discussed the increasing popularity of faith-based films.

"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," he told The Wrap.

Franklin completed UCLA's MFA screenwriting programme, and wrote the Nickelodeon television movie "The Honey Bees." He has also been tapped to rewrite the animated short "Chilly Willy" for Universal Pictures, and stars on the OWN series "Super Soul Sunday." Franklin is also the author of "Produced by Faith," and is married to veteran actress Megan Good.

Faith-based films have proved a hit for studios this year, with movies like "God's Not Dead," "Noah," and "Son of God" exceeding box-office expectations.

In the coming months, "Exodus: Gods and Kings," a remake of "Ben-Hur," and other religious movies will come to the big screen.

Faith-based television specials have also broken records this year.

"Survivor" creator Mark Burnett and his wife, actress Roma Downey created "The Bible" miniseries for the History Channel in 2013, and the ten-episode airing at times beat out "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones."

The couple also used footage from the Jesus portion of "The Bible" miniseries and turned it into the feature-length film "Son of God," which grossed $60 million domestically.

Although media interest may ebb and flow, NBC's president of late-night and alternative programming, Paul Telegdy, said that religious stories will always be popular with viewers.

"There are not a lot of books being read these days," he told Forbes. "But there is one that's being read and reread, and that's the Bible."