Red Om Films, Rat Ent. ink development deals

Reliance Big Entertainment, the media arm of Indian conglom Reliance ADA Group, keeps on getting bigger.

The company has inked development deals with Julia Roberts’ Red Om Films and Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment.

That takes the group’s current tally of development deals to nine, following the announcement at Cannes last year of pacts with Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Prods., Jim Carrey’s JC 23 Entertainment, George Clooney’s Smokehouse Prods., Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures, Tom Hanks’ Playtone Prods., Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, and Jay Roach’s Everyman Pictures.

The latest announcement was made in Berlin by Reliance Big Entertainment’s chairman Amit Khanna and prexy Rajesh Sawhney.

The deals, which were brokered by CAA, sees Reliance providing development coin to enable the Hollywood talent to acquire or nurture new projects before taking them to the studios with which they have existing first-look deals.

Reliance execs have been savvy in avoiding any potential conflict of interest between their growing roster of Hollywood talent and the studios.

“Our idea is to complement rather than compete with the Hollywood majors,” said Amit Khanna. “We’re looking for a symbiotic relationship with Hollywood. We want to work together rather than work against anyone.”

Reliance execs also confirmed that they were happy with progress at Dreamworks 2.0.

“Everything is on track,” said Khanna. “There are 17 projects in active development and we would expect Stacey (Snider) and Steven (Spielberg) to begin active production in the next couple of months.”

That number refers to the 17 projects Dreamworks acquired from former owner Paramount this past January to keep under its fold.

Reliance originally pledged to invest up to $550 million in equity for the post-Paramount incarnation, with DreamWorks expected to match that amount in debt raised through its bankers at J.P. Morgan. That figure has since been brought down to $325 million after DreamWorks toppers Spielberg and Snider faced difficulty assembling financing given the weakness of global credit markets.

Reliance execs are expecting to make a raft of announcements on projects emanating out of the development silos in time for Cannes, although they did state that both Ratner and Cage had projects at an advanced stage.

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