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Reliance Big Entertainment (RBE) today announced it had expanded its media invesments in Hollywood by signing two separate development deals with Julia Roberts' Red Om Films ad Brett Ratner's Rat Entertainment.
RBE is the media and entertainment company of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. It has so far established such creative partnerships with nine leading production entities.
The earlier seven deals, with Nicolas Cage's Saturn Productions, Jim Carrey's JC 23 Entertainment, George Clooney's Smokehouse Productions, Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures, Tom Hanks' Playtone Productions, Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment, and Jay Roach's Everyman Pictures were announced during the Cannes Film Festival 2008 by RBE Chairman Amit Khanna and President Rajesh Sawhney.
All nine deals provide for the creation of a development silo for each of the production entities and the possibility of RBE co-financing projects that emanate from these development deals. For any green lit projects utilizing RBE co-financing, the filmmakers will enjoy full creative and fiscal freedom, a statement by the company said.
Eight of the partnerships have had development projects approved and there is already a handpicked slate in excess of twenty projects and it is anticipated that most will generate content during 2009, it said.
In announcing the new partnerships, Khanna commented, "Our innovative foray into Hollywood has proven very productive on the development front and we are now looking forward to moving into the filmmaking stage over the coming months. We were immediately impressed by both Julia's and Brett's enthusiasm for our creative partnership plan."
Sawhney added, "These creative partnerships will lead to Reliance Big Entertainment co-financing with the majority of the major US Studios as we are totally respectful of the existing first-look deals that each of our partners enjoys. From the conversations to date, we know that the respective studios will welcome our development silos and our subsequent co-financing ability. We have broken completely new ground by empowering some of the best talent in the global industry."
For the U.S. studios, the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group provides a partner with expertise in India, which has one of the most successful domestic filmed entertainment businesses in the world but which remains a challenge for non indigenous product.
BIG Pictures, the division of RBE that will focus on media investments outside of India, sees the development deals as the first major building block in the creation of a virtual studio, or new-generation media company. They are part of RBE's long-term strategy for media investments in Hollywood, as it continues to build a fully integrated movie company with substantial holdings in production, distribution and exhibition.
The deals also secure Indian rights for the films which RBE co-finances. Additionally, RBE expects to attract suitable productions, with appropriate incentives, to India, where it is the largest film producer and owns physical studios and facility companies.