Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bollywood Shakes Hands With Hollywood

With Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks and Reliance inking a $500-600
million dollar infusement, they have been in the global news radar,
with every major media outlet covering this story. Why not, when there
are more and more marriages occuring between Bollywood and Hollywood

From the New York Times--
" Steven Spielberg and other top executives at DreamWorks SKG may get
a boost from an ambitious Bollywood player, but their planned alliance
could be less grandiose than dreams past.
After a drawn-out tussle with the boutique film studio's owner,
Paramount Pictures, one filled with perceived slights over respect and
credit, Mr. Spielberg and his partner, David Geffen, are now in
discussions with Reliance Big Entertainment of India about a cash
infusion of $500 million to $600 million, say several executives
briefed on the negotiations.
That investment, and access to a revolving credit line of about $400
million, would allow them to split from Paramount, a unit of Viacom,
and make about six major movies a year. Yet for all the turmoil, they
could conceivably remain in business with Paramount, by having it
distribute their movies.
Any deal is still at an early stage, these people cautioned, and it
may be several weeks before an agreement is signed, if at all. The
talks were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
While $500 million is not a lot of money in Hollywood, executives
briefed on the negotiations said the commitment was favorable to the
DreamWorks team. Reliance, without gaining much control over the
enterprise, would be paying for a grand introduction to the United
States movie business.
"Why the Indians? It is all about terms," said one of the executives
who had been briefed. "These people are willing to pay a lot of money
for little more than the right to go sit at a premiere with Steven

From the Economist--
"BOLLYWOOD'S songs are hummed in Morocco, its films are rented in
California and its stars are cast in wax at Madame Tussauds in London.
But India's new money has an appeal even its melodrama cannot match.
On June 17th the Wall Street Journal reported that one of India's
biggest conglomerates, Anil Ambani's Reliance group, was in talks to
form a film-making partnership with Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks
studio, owned by Viacom, a media giant. Mr Spielberg and David Geffen,
the studio's co-founders, want to regain their independence when their
contract with Viacom ends, and are looking for funding.
Reliance had already announced at the Cannes Film Festival in May that
it would provide funding to eight film-production houses headed by
some big Hollywood stars. It hopes to develop some 30 scripts, and put
perhaps ten into full production. "We are re-enfranchising the
talent," said Amit Khanna, chairman of Reliance's entertainment
division and a talented Bollywood songsmith, last month. "We will
allow full creative freedom, but we won't allow creative anarchy.
Sometimes they just go crazy.""

From AFP--
"India's Reliance-ADA Group is in talks with Steven Spielberg's
DreamWorks on a tie-up that could help the director break free of
Paramount and boost Bollywood's presence in Hollywood, a source said
on Thursday.
A deal would give Spielberg money to assist in financing DreamWorks
SKG's exit from Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures and refashion it as a
company that again owns the films it makes.
"It is well known Paramount and Spielberg have a problem. It is well
understood DreamWorks is looking for new partners," said the source
close to the discussions, saying the Indian company was looking to
invest "hundreds of millions of dollars."
The source declined to say when the talks between Reliance-ADAG, based
in India's entertainment and financial capital Mumbai, and DreamWorks
might conclude. Some reports have said a deal is near. But another
industry official with knowledge of the talks told AFP they were still
at a "preliminary stage."

Read the New York Times article at--

Read the full Economist article at--

Read the full AFP article at--

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