Lionsgate Sets First-Look Deal With 'I Can Only Imagine' Team

Mike Kubeisy
From left: Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin and Kevin Downes

Brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin and Kevin Downes will develop, produce and direct faith-based movie and TV projects for the Hollywood studio.

Moving deeper into the faith-based content market, Lionsgate on Thursday unveiled a first-look film and TV deal with Andrew and Jon Erwin and producing partner Kevin Downes, the creative force behind the box-office hit I Can Only Imagine.

Dennis Quaid and Cloris Leachman starred in the Erwin brothers-directed drama, which Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions released. As part of the multiyear agreement, the Erwin brothers and Downes will develop, produce and direct film and TV projects for the studio under their newly created Kingdom banner.

The announcement was made by Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake and Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs. "We’re proud to expand our relationship with Andrew, Jon and Kevin through this exciting and collaborative, cross-divisional partnership,” Drake and Beggs said in a statement.

Lionsgate had earlier box-office success in the faith-based arena with the Oscar winner Hacksaw Ridge and The Shack. I Can Only Imagine, which follows the true story of Bart Millard, lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe, and how he wrote what is now the most-played radio single in Christian music history, is the highest-grossing movie ever for Roadside Attractions.

The Erwin brothers' other faith-based credits include Woodlawn.

"We look forward to working with the Erwin brothers and Kevin on film and television projects that resonate not only with the faith-based community but with viewers everywhere," added Drake and Beggs.

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Jason Constantine, Eda Kowan, Bonnie Stylides and Adrian Lopez. The Erwin brothers and Downes are repped by WME’s Dave Wirtschafter and Matthew Johnson at Ziffren, Brittenham.