Sony Buys Pure Flix Streaming Service

In a move to expand its reach with Christian audiences, Sony Pictures is buying a streaming service launched by the makers of the “God’s Not Dead” film franchise.

The Culver City-based studio on Thursday said it has agreed to purchase the faith-based subscription video service Pure Flix, which charges viewers $13 a month (or $84 a year) to stream evangelical-friendly movies and TV shows.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Following the transaction, the Pure Flix service will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Affirm Entertainment, which is the sister company of Affirm Films, the Sony Pictures division responsible for producing, distributing and marketing faith-based films including “War Room,” “Heaven Is for Real” and “Miracles From Heaven.”

The deal is the latest move by the studio, owned by Tokyo electronics giant Sony Corp., to tap the often lucrative audience for movies and television programming aimed at churchgoers. Sony expanded its Affirm Films unit, run by Executive Vice President Rich Peluso, by launching a television arm in December.

Affirm’s films, which tend to carry modest production budgets, have proved reliably profitable for Sony by broadening what’s often considered a niche genre to more mainstream audiences.

“Miracles From Heaven,” a $13-million inspirational movie starring Jennifer Garner, generated $74 million in global box office ticket sales in 2016. Last year’s sports drama “Overcomer,” the latest from Christian film stalwarts Alex and Stephen Kendrick, grossed $38 million on a budget of $5 million. Affirm also played a key role in promoting Marielle Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, to Christian moviegoers.

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SOURCE: LA Times, Ryan Faughnder

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