Cannes: Relativity Strikes $100 Million Joint Venture in India

Ryan Kavanaugh and Ishan Saksena

The deal with B4U gives Relativity access to the thriving market for its own titles and co-productions aimed at Bollywood, including a remake of the untitled Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis armored car comedy.

CANNES – Relativity Media and leading Bollywood film and television network B4U have struck a joint venture to produce entertainment and sports content to be distributed across myriad platforms.

The deal includes a production fund of $100 million.

Teaming with B4U gives Ryan Kavanaugh's Los Angeles-based company access to one of the world's most lucrative markets, both for its own films and Hindi-language co-productions. The Indian film and television markets are expected to reach revenues of $3.5 billion and $15.3 billion, respectively, by 2017, according to Relativity.

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The first Relativity title to be distributed by B4U in India and surrounding territories will be the romantic drama The Best of Me, based on the best-selling book by Nicholas Sparks and starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan. The films hits theaters there on Oct. 17.

B4U and Relativity will also remake the untitled Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis armored car comedy for Bollywood audiences.

“This strategic partnership represents an exciting opportunity for Relativity to significantly expand our presence in this vibrant and growing marketplace while creating a bridge for developing and sharing content between Hollywood and Bollywood,” Kavanaugh said upon announcing the deal at the Cannes Film Festival.

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“By 2020, India is set to become the world’s youngest country, and its citizens are adopting new technology platforms -- from smartphones to smart TVs -- at a dramatic rate," he continued.

Added B4U CEO Ishan Saksena: “B4U has always been at the helm for delivering Bollywood content in India and internationally.  This joint venture with Relativity is the natural step in our progression to build a creative film studio and unique technology platform."

Saksena will manage the joint venture, which also includes the creation of a new pay television channel in India focused on Hollywood content in both English and Hindi and RelaTV, a new digital streaming platform.

Relativity and B4U will each have two seats on a yet-to-be named board of directors.