Obstacles prevent Indian co. from closing deal

It’s the most overly reported deal of the year, but it never seems to close.

Indian company Reliance apparently still intends to invest half a billion dollars in DreamWorks, but obstacles keep presenting themselves, and the deal, which was supposed to close weeks ago, is still weeks off.

Insiders insist the basic deal remains intact, but the devil is in the details. Especially the banking details.

The delays are causing problems on several levels. Paramount’s future slate is still in shadows. The distribution and marketing machines of companies like Fox and Universal, which conceivably could end up with DreamWorks product, are left hanging

Then there’s Steven Spielberg: His involvement in the Reliance situation seems to have cast doubt over his own directing plans. Will he focus on “Tin Tin,” a project he was planning to hatch with Peter Jackson, or will other properties now attract his attention?

The DreamWorks development mechanism under Stacey Snider continues to move ahead at company offices (which happen to be at Universal). On a limited basis, that is. Studio isn’t spending any additional money buying new scripts or projects to adapt until the Reliance deal closes. It’s also holding off on any new hires, like scribes to tackle new or even existing scripts.

So until the deal’s done, lingering concerns about DreamWorks’ destiny will continue to cause ever-growing angst.

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