Anil goes to Hollywood
A film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Anil Ambani? Well, this may soon become reality!
Riding high on the entertainment wave, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Big Entertainment Ltd (RBEL) has set eyes on big ticket deals in Hollywood.
After announcing a slew of Hollywood projects, including movie ventures with legends like Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Jim Carrey and George Clooney, Anil Ambani is all set to sign a deal with the famous Hollywood director Steven Spielberg.
“We have already signed eight Hollywood projects. Hollywood is the epicentre of global entertainment content and we see a great opportunity there,” Rajesh Sawhney, president, Reliance Entertainment, said on Wednesday.
The ADA Group will invest $600 million in Spielberg’s DreamWorks SKG, The Wall Street Journal had reported.
According to the newspaper, Ambani’s cash will allow Spielberg, the man behind several blockbusters like Jaws, Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park, and his partners Jeffrey Kaztenberg — the former Disney hotshot — and music baron David Geffen end their existing agreement with Paramount Pictures, which is owned by Viacom’s Sumner Redstone.
A tie-up with Spielberg would be a dream come true for Anil Ambani.
Can Anil Ambani woo the superstar director to join his league? While it will be a big break for Anil Ambani, for Spielberg it would mean more independence working with Ambani, especially when the others like NBC are also in talks with the director, say industry sources.
Media sources point out that “Anil Ambani has a long way to go to scale up and become a truly global player especially at a time when Hollywood financial deals are getting more complicated.”
So will Anil Ambani be able to convert his love for movies into big money spinners? Only time will tell…
Anil’s new game plan
The company’s foray into Hollywood marks a turning point for the entertainment savvy Anil Ambani. The company has been valued at over $3 billion after George Soros invested $100 million for a 3 per cent stake in the company in February, 2008.
The tie-ups with Hollywood biggies like George Clooney’s Smokehouse Productions, Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions, Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures and Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Productions are planned to scale up the company’s entertainment business.
The films are likely to have production budgets ranging from $25 million to $150 million. Reliance Entertainment plans to deal with around 30 projects and eyes big revenues from Hollywood blockbusters.
Industry sources say that this is Ambani’s strategic move to rake in profits in an industry that makes big budget hit films. The weekly collections of some of the new releases like The Incredible Hulk are examples of how lucrative the Hollywood business is. But rivals doubt the timing and financing of these Hollywood deals.
Ambani, unfazed by these naysayers, has big US plans…
From Bollywood to Hollywood
Reliance Entertainment has bought or leased out more than 200 cinema theatres in America for an undisclosed sum.
RBEL has entered the US market under the brand name ‘BIG’. The theatres are spread across 28 locations in North America, including New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, San Jose, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Seattle.
This is one of the biggest Indian ventures in the entertainment sector in the United States. Besides, Bollywood films, Reliance Entertainment will screen regional movies from the South and second-run Hollywood films in these theatres.
These theatres will screen Bollywood and regional language films from India and other Asian countries.
Reliance Entertainment will run the chain with the help of the Tennessee-based management company Phoenix Theatres.
Ambani’s Bollywood banner
The flamboyant face of Reliance, Anil Ambani, who is married to former Bollywood actress Tina Munium, has also announced the financing of over 69 Bollywood films.
Ambani made his first big entertainment deal with Adlabs soon after the split of the Reliance empire in 2005.
Reliance ADA Group acquired Adlabs Films Limited in 2005, one of the largest entertainment companies in India, which has interests in film processing, production, exhibition and digital cinema.
Today Adlabs processes almost 70 per cent of the films that are made in India, making it a clear leader in the market. It’s not just films Anil Ambani is keen on…
Reliance Entertainment is spearheading the ADAG’s foray into the media and entertainment space.
Reliance Entertainment’s core focus ‘is to build significant presence for Reliance in the entertainment ecosystem, across content and distribution platforms.’
Anil Ambani has touched every sphere of entertainment and is bracing ahead to tap the growing potential of each segment.
From movies, music, FM radio, sports, gaming, Internet, mobile portals, leading to direct opportunities in delivery across the emerging digital distribution platforms: digital cinema, IPTV, DTH and Mobile TV, RBEL is set to make its presence felt across the globe.
The group has picked up a stake in TV Today which runs Hindi channel Aaj Tak and the English news channel Headlines Today. It also has stakes in NDTV, Zee Enterprises and UTV Software.
And there is no limit to when it comes to the entertainment business. From FM radio to online gaming portal and home entertainment platform, the company has a good package in hand.
No full stops here…
ADAG’s BIG 92.7 FM has rolled out in several cities. It will soon be heard across 45 cities, 1,000 towns and 50,000 villages. Zapak.com, an online gaming portal has acquired more than 1 million registered users in the first four months of its launch. The current registered user base exceeds 3 million.
Another film venture is Bigflicks.com which offers movie rental and movie download services both to the domestic market as well as the NRI community. Besises, Internet-based services, the company has plans to open a chain of DVD stores.
And well, Bigadda.com is a social networking platform for Web and mobile.
Big Motion Pictures has a pipeline of over 40 films. And in animation space, AniRights, a digital animation content creation company based in Pune creates next-generation animation for theatre, television, direct-to-home and other platforms.
The company’s mobile games initiative is Jump Games. Big Music and Home Entertainment plans to focus on digital platforms such as the Internet and mobile and radio networks. It will also make its foray into events and live entertainment through talent management and conducting live events.
The show has just begun… the world is watching!