Hollywood director Steven Spielberg’s and his fellow principals at Dreamworks SKG are close to a deal with Anil Ambani’s Reliance ADA Group that will provide them with $500 million-$600 million to create a new movie venture, according to Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
Although a new comer to the entertainment business, Reliance ADA Group has quickly built up a significant presence in Bollywood (India’s Mumbai-based film industry and a factory for mostly crappy Hindi movies) through its various ventures like Adlabs Films, Reliance Big Entertainment,Â BigFlicks,Â Big Motion Pictures and Big Animation.
Reliance ADA Group Chairman Anil Ambani’s wife Tina Munim is a former Bollywood actress.
Here’s an excerpt from the WSJ’s Front Page story:
Mumbai-based Reliance ADA Group would provide Mr. Spielberg and company with $500 million to $600 million in equity, moving them one step closer to ending one of Hollywood’s most contentious and closely watched battles [between Spielberg et al and the Paramount bosses]. In Reliance, the DreamWorks team also would have an unusual and ambitious partner in the film business: an Indian firm with interests in telecommunications, financial services and entertainment that wants to build a media empire by financing Hollywood pictures.
The deal amounts to a marriage of some of the biggest names in the Hollywood and Indian business worlds, with Reliance getting a large stake in the new company. DreamWorks, which makes live-action films that have included last year’s “Blades of Glory” and “Dreamgirls” in 2006, would likely seek another $500 million or so in debt financing elsewhere to give its new venture enough money to make a slate of about six films a year. The company would then choose a studio to distribute the films, which is still an open question. General Electric Co.’s Universal Pictures, where Mr. Spielberg began his career, is thought to be the director’s preference to release his future works, but News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox also is thought to be a serious contender. (News Corp. is the owner of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.)
Boy, we sincerely hope that Steven Spielberg et al take only the money from India and leave behind Bollywood’s pathetic quality and cheap practices like plagiarism.
Although India produces a record number of movies every year in Hindi, Tamil and other local languages to cater to a movie-hungry populace in the country and the vast diaspora outside, majority of Indian movies in Hindi and Tamil are unwatchable horror-shows.
If Spielberg wins an Oscar in the future, we are sure that the Indians will be jumping with joy that they’ve won an Oscar because Reliance ADA Group has provided the capital.
Or will Spielberg be a contender for the Filmfare Awards next year?
Then Kamal Haasan and Amitabh Bachchan can boast that India is producing quality movies and top American directors are vieing for Indian awards. Scary thought, eh?
P.S: Is it just us or do you also think Anil Ambani’s Reliance ADA Group is close to the Wall Street Journal while his elder brother Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited is closer to the New York Times. In case you were hiding or meditating under some rock and missed out on what’s happening in the world, the NYT had a fawning profile on Mukesh Ambani on Sunday. The two brothers are estranged.