Cannes, May 14th 2009. In the 12 months since Reliance Big Entertainment, the flagship media and entertainment arm of Indian conglomerate, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG), first introduced its innovative development/production financing deals, called Creative Partnerships, more than twenty individual projects have been approved.
The initial seven deals, with Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Films, 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 Reliance Big Entertainment Chairman Amit Khanna and President Rajesh Sawhney. These were followed by deals with Julia Roberts’ Red Om Films and Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment.
Among the highlights of the development slate are:
- Saturn Films: ‘Voodoo Child’ with writer John Collee.
- JC 23 Entertainment: ‘O’Gunn’ with writers Ed Cannistraci and Fred Seton.
- 1492 Pictures: ‘Things They Left Behind’, the Stephen King short story about 9/11 survivors, has been optioned. As has Thurston Clarke’s
book, ‘The Last Campaign’, and David Dorfman’s script, ‘It’s A Miserable Life’.
- Rat Entertainment: ‘Youngblood’ based on Rob Liefeld’s iconic graphic novel, ‘Infinity’ with writer John Collee; and ‘John Delorean Project’
with James Toback
- Red Om Films: ‘Dan Eldon Project’.
Amit Khanna commented, ‘It has been a very active and satisfactory first year and we have been delighted by the quality of the individual projects being presented to us for development financing. There are many others in the evaluation/ negotiation stages and I’m confident of moving into the filmmaking stage on several projects before the end of the year’.
Khanna continued ‘These creative partnerships call for Reliance to co-finance production the US Studio where existing first-look deals are in place. From the conversations to date, we know that the respective studios welcome our development silos and our subsequent co-financing ability. We have broken completely new ground by empowering some of the best talent in Hollywood’.
All nine deals provide for the creation of a development fund silo for each of the production entities and the possibility that Reliance may also co-finance projects that emanate from these development deals. For any greenlit projects utilizing Reliance co-financing, the filmmakers will enjoy ownership of their content as well as full creative and fiscal freedom.
Reliance Big Entertainment, as it focuses 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 Reliance Big Entertainment, 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 Reliance co-finances. Additionally, Reliance expects to attract suitable productions, with appropriate incentives, to India, where BIG Pictures, a division of Reliance Big Entertainment is the largest film producer and owns physical studios and facility companies.
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 industries in the world but which remains a challenge for non indigenous product.
Reliance Big Entertainment continues to launch Indian and international initiatives across different media and entertainment verticals.
Creative Artists Agency (CAA) was instrumental in brokering the deals and is advising Reliance Big Entertainment on its Hollywood strategy.