Reliance Big deals yield dividends


India's Reliance Big Entertainment has approved more than 20 movie projects developed through the "silos" it unveiled this time last year with an array of top Hollywood talent.

The company, which has gone on to be the equity finance partner of the new-look DreamWorks, said it has pushed forward projects including "Voodoo Child" from Nicolas Cage's Saturn Films and "O' Gunn" from Jim Carrey's JC23 Entertainment.

Reliance's silo arrangements provide initial development money to the talent-controlled production labels and give Reliance the option to co-finance emerging projects alongside the talent's U.S. studio partner, if first-look deals are in place. Reliance takes Indian rights for the films it co-finances and aims to attract suitable productions to shoot in India.

In addition to the funding element, the attraction of silo deals for the talent is that the filmmakers enjoy ownership of their content.

"From the conversations to date, we know that the respective studios welcome our development silos and our subsequent co-financing ability," Reliance Big Entertainment chairman Amit Khanna said. "We have broken completely new ground by empowering some of the best talent in Hollywood."

With Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures, the silo has optioned "Things They Left Behind," a Stephen King short story about 9/11 survivors; Thurston Clarke's book "The Last Campaign"; and David Dorfman's script "It's a Miserable Life."

With Brett Ratner's Rat Entertainment, silo funding has been approved for "Youngblood," based on Rob Liefeld's iconic graphic novel; "Infinity," from writer John Collee; and the "John Delorean Project," with James Toback. The "Dan Eldon Project," from Julia Roberts' Red Om Films, also received funding.

At Cannes last year, Reliance unveiled deals with 1492 Pictures, Saturn Films, JC23 Entertainment, George Clooney's Smokehouse Prods., Tom Hanks' Playtone Prods., Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment and Jay Roach's Everyman Pictures. Subsequent deals were announced with Red Om and Rat. (partialdiff)