Grazer, Howard ink first-look pact with India-based conglom

Imagine Entertainment partners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard have become the 10th production company to form a first-look alliance with Reliance Big Entertainment.

Grazer and Howard join the list of superstar production companies who’ve aligned with India-based Reliance, which previously formed deals with the production companies of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Nicolas Cage, Brett Ratner, Chris Columbus, Jay Roach, Jim Carrey, Julia Roberts, and Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman.

The Imagine deal, which was first revealed in Sunday’s weekly Variety, kicks off with the acquisition of “MOFOs,” a comedy script by Josh Berghaus and Jay Shore about two twentysomething best friends who are unemployed and strapped for cash. They become L.A.’s most unlikely male escorts. Imagine’s Karen Kehela Sherwood and Sarah Bowen will steer the project.

Reliance, whose topper Amit Khanna announced the first batch of first-look deals at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, has acquired about 20 projects and will put two to four films into production next year, continuing that pace for the next several years. Reliance’s goal is to co-finance the films with studios. Many of the participants have first-look deals and long relationships with majors. Grazer and Howard have been cornerstone producers at Universal for years.

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