MUMBAI: Warner Bros. Entertainment along with Abu Dhabi’s leading and fully integrated real estate developer ALDAR and the newly established Abu Dhabi Media Company have formed a long-term alliance calling for the creation of a theme park and hotel, jointly owned multiplex cinemas, a co-finance agreement covering feature film production and the development and publication of videogames, and the build-out of the infrastructure for Abu Dhabi’s digital transformation.
The deal was unveiled by Warner Bros chairman and CEO Barry Meyer, Warner Bros president and COO Alan Horn, ALDAR chairman and CEO Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh and Ronald Barrott respectively, Abu Dhabi Media Co chairman and CEO Riyad Al Mubarak Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei respectively.
Hunt Lowry, who brought the two parties together will serve as the CEO of the yet-to-be-named film company formed by this venture.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with ALDAR and the Abu Dhabi Media Company on these exciting endeavors and look forward to a very long, mutually beneficial relationship. We are so impressed by ALDAR’s mission and philosophy. It is a first-rate company, led by first-rate executives. We look forward to working alongside ALDAR and the Abu Dhabi Media Company to not only create an exciting and unique cultural destination in
“This strategic announcement demonstrates the depth of our commitment to building
“This is such a unique deal and really the beginning, albeit a grand beginning, of a partnership that will allow our companies to embark on a multitude of projects on a multitude of entertainment platforms. I echo Barry’s sentiments that we could not have chosen better partners than ALDAR and Abu Dhabi Media Company, particularly as their commitments to universal cultural values and the environment is so closely aligned with ours,” added Horn.
“This strategic alliance marks a significant step in Time Warner’s commitment to grow its businesses internationally. Working with its partners ALDAR and the Abu Dhabi Media Company, Warner Bros. continues to capitalize on its world-class brands and expertise to grow its international business in creative and collaborative ways,” said Time Warner president and COO Jeff Bewkes.
“I think it is crucial that
“In my very first discussions with Ahmed, I knew
“This is a great opportunity for us to expand our local language film production business to a new region, developing talent both in front of and behind the camera. As is our practice around the globe, we’ll work closely with our partners each step of the way to impart our filmmaking experience and expertise, making sure that we’re respectful and supportive of local customs and mores, both in our local film production and across all of these in-territory businesses,” said Warner Bros executive vice president, international Richard Fox.
For the hotel and theme park project, Warner Bros. Entertainment will rely on its experience in character and brand marketing and licensing, drawing on select properties from its live-action and animated libraries, to provide themes for the overall project as well as individual attractions. Warner Bros. will also help develop and design the theme park based on its history in that arena, which includes the development, ownership and management of Warner Bros. Movie World theme parks on Australia’s Gold Coast, in Madrid, Spain and in Bottrop, Germany and previous ownership of and ongoing licensing agreement with Six Flags theme parks in the United States. ALDAR will coordinate and oversee physical construction of both the theme park and hotel. Groundbreaking on the theme park and hotel is expected in 2009.
Warner Bros. International Cinemas will develop, design and manage jointly owned multiplex cinemas in
Since its founding, WBIC has become the premiere Western exhibitor building multiplexes throughout the world in underscreened territories and has been responsible for the creation of more than 170 cinemas and almost 1,600 screens in 11 countries internationally. WBIC currently operates cinemas in
The film production fund, a 50-50 venture, calls for the development and production of mutually agreed-upon, broad-appeal films, with Warner Bros. retaining worldwide distribution options/rights. Separate from this arrangement, Warner Bros. Pictures International will work with Abu Dhabi Media Company to develop and produce a slate of Arabic-language films for local and pan-Arabic distribution.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group will combine its expertise in all aspects of content with the Abu Dhabi Media Company’s resources and capabilities to build
In addition, under the interactive games part of this deal which will be overseen by WBHEG, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will serve as publisher and hold worldwide distribution rights on all gaming properties (based on both Warner Bros.-owned brands and titles and third-party properties) created under this first-of-its-kind fund. Approximately a dozen game are currently in various stages of development and publishing as part of the agreement; the first games published as part of the deal are Looney Tunes: ACME Arsenal for X-Box 360, Wii and PlayStation 2 and the accompanying Duck Amuck on Nintendo DS with a domestic release date of 9 October and distribution throughout the EMEA region on 30 November, 2007.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution, interactive entertainment-videogames, direct-to-DVD production, technical operations and anti-piracy businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. WBHEG is responsible for the global distribution of content through DVD, electronic sell-through and transactional VOD, and delivery of theatrical content to wireless and online channels, and is also a significant worldwide publisher of videogame titles.
Beyond the businesses specifically outlined in Warner Bros.’ initial agreement with ALDAR and Abu Dhabi Media Company, the companies will discuss and explore additional areas in which they can work together, including such ventures as production facilities, digital content distribution and retail opportunities in the Gulf region.
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