Reliance BIG Picture to provide development funds to Hollywood biggies

CANNES: Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s (ADAG) Reliance Big Entertainment will be providing development funds to creative forces in Hollywood namely Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Chris Columbus, and Jay Roach.

Reliance Big Entertainment chairman Amit Khanna announced these separate development deals with Hanks’ Playtone Productions, Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, Cage’s Saturn Productions, Carrey’s JC 23 Entertainment, Clooney’s Smokehouse Productions, Columbus’ 1492 Pictures and Roach’s Everyman Pictures.

With a keen eye on the Indian market, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) approached Reliance ADAG for this partnership. CAA is instrumental in brokering these deals and is advising Reliance Big Entertainment on its Hollywood strategy.

"The aim is to roll out at least 30 films under this deal over the next two years, out of which 10 will go on floors soon. This is just the beginning of our relationship with Hollywood," informed Khanna.

The deals provide for the creation of a development silo for each of the production entities and the possibility of Reliance co-financing projects that emanate from these development deals. Each deal will be customised to suit the needs of the partner and project.

For any green lit projects utilizing Reliance co-financing, the filmmakers will enjoy full creative and fiscal freedom. For US studios, Reliance ADAG provides a partner with expertise in India.

When queried as to the investment that the company had planned to infuse into these films, Reliance Big Entertainment president Rajesh Sawhney said, "It is a substantial investment, however due to a non-disclosure clause, we won’t be able to share the same."

Khanna added that the film slate that will be churned out will have a value of at least $1 billion.

Reliance Big Picture, the division of Reliance Big Entertainment 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 Reliance Entertainment’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 all Indian rights (including theatrical, home video, IPTV, DTH, PPV amongst others) for resulting films, which Reliance co-finances. Additionally, Reliance expects to attract suitable productions, with appropriate incentives, to India.

Khanna said, "We need to extend our footprint to Hollywood. We are pleased to have devised this unique method of investing, whereby Reliance Big Picture can help advance the goals of several of the most important creators in the global industry. We wish to collaborate with the Hollywood majors and not compete with them."

Sawhney added, "We are totally respectful of the existing first-look deals that each of our partners enjoys, and are confident that the respective studios will welcome our development silos and our subsequent co-financing ability. We are breaking completely new ground and not just as an Indian-based company."

Elaborating further on the deal CAAs Emanuel Nunez said, "Since most artists have a contract with studios, the first right of refusal towards script development and funding for any project will lie with the studios."

Reliance Entertainment is also planning to launch several international initiatives across different media and entertainment verticals. "I expect to have further such development deals in the near future," Khanna added.