Co. commits $15 million to rights acquisitions

India’s film and TV conglom UTV has teamed with local shingle Palador Pictures to launch the Olive Collection, a world cinema initiative that spans theatrical releasing, video and the launch of a movie channel.

UTV has committed $15 million to rights acquisitions that will give the Olive Collection a 1,000-title catalog. It already has spent $3 million to pick up rights from 20 countries, including from the old Miramax catalog.

While India has many movie channels dedicated to Bollywood and a handful for Hollywood, Olive is the first given over entirely to “world cinema.”

“Currently 95% of non-local films don’t make it to Indian theatrical or TV screens,” UTV topper Ronnie Screwvala said. “But our research suggests there is a huge potential for world cinema in the Indian subcontinent.”

UTV Palador has inked partnerships with exhib chains Adlabs and Sathyam to create screens in their multiplexes that exclusively show non-Indian, non-English-language fare. Company says it will release up to 100 per year.

First theatrical release is set for April and will be the Fernando Meirelles-helmed “City of God.”

At Hong Kong’s FilMart last week, Japan’s Kadokawa licensed all four pics in the Japanese-language “Ring” franchise and the original Hideo Nakata-helmed “Dark Water” to the venture.

Palador managing director Gautam Shiknis said that UTV Palador is typically acquiring 10-year licenses to rights that span a South Asian footprint including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives.

Video titles will be released to the retail and rental sectors under the Olive Collection label.

Channel launch is skedded for the end of this year, when satellite and cable carriage deals have been completed.

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