Eros International and Lionsgate ink joint venture deal

CANNES: Eros International and independent filmed entertainment studio Lionsgate have agreed on a deal to form a joint venture for distribution of Lionsgate and other English language content in original as well as dubbed language versions within South Asia including India, across all distribution formats such as cinemas, home entertainment, television and new media.

The joint venture company will be called Eros Lionsgate and will be seperate entity. The announcement was made today (20 May) at the Cannes Film Festival by Eros International chairman and CEO Kishore Lulla and Lionsgate co-chairman and CEO Jon Feltheimer.

The JV is designed to combine the respective strengths of the two partners by allowing Lionsgate to monetize its valuable library and new films within South Asia using the established distribution network and infrastructure of Eros International. The partners intend the joint venture to become a leading aggregator of Western content for the booming Indian market.

Additionally the two companies will also be looking at re-making some of Lionsgate and third-party film catalogues and create crossover films. Speaking to, Feltheimer said, "We are looking at remaking films like Dirty Dancing for the Indian market. We have chalked out a number of films that can be remade to suit Indian sensibilities."

Besides remakes, the venture will also explore the production of Indian formats that will tap into India’s local language market as well as wider audiences outside of India.

Apart from this, Lionsgate will also acquire North American home entertainment distribution rights to 20 films including Om Shanti Om, Eklavya, Gandhi My Father, Bollywood Calling, Cheeni Kum amongst others from Eros’s library for a wide mainstream release in North America.

Lulla added, "With this exciting joint venture with Lionsgate, we can now leverage our respective distribution networks and help monetize and unlock value from our deep content libraries. We believe that Eros’s initiative in aggregating and distributing Western content, particularly format and remake rights custom-tailored to Indian consumers, will give us a distinct competitive advantage in the South Asian marketplace and allow us to benefit from the growing box office, home entertainment, television market and digital new media opportunities. This also demonstrates our commitment to our content partners to showcase the best of Indian entertainment to as wide an audience as possible in North America through this alliance."

Feltheimer said, "This venture reflects Lionsgate’s growth strategy on two levels — it continues the process of leveraging content already paid for into new distribution platforms, digital and traditional, around the world, and it extends our commitment to partnering with some of the top content owners and distributors around the globe."

Lionsgate executive vice president of international business development Paul Presburger commented, "This is the next logical step in building out our international business. Having set up self-distribution throughout the English-speaking territories and strengthened our international sales and distribution operations, we are now focusing on key territories worldwide with the greatest growth potential. No territory could be more exciting than India, and no partner could be more valuable in reaching India’s consumers than Eros."

Eros group COO and commercial director Jyoti Deshpande added, "Our alliance with Lionsgate is a step in our vision to become the gateway for Indian content worldwide and Western content into India. We are delighted that Lionsgate chose Eros as their exclusive partners for South Asia. Also while Indian films have crossed over to various non-English speaking markets around the worlds like Germany, Poland, Russia, Malaysia and Indonesia, we believe this alliance will help market Indian films to a wider audience in North America."

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