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Virgin Comics, 18 target India teens

Duo to develop films, graphic novels, games

Richard Branson’s Virgin Comics and Indian movie shingle Studio 18 have inked a deal to develop a slate of teen horror properties spanning films, TV and games.

Pair will first develop stories as graphic novels to be published worldwide by Virgin.

“The exploding youth demographics of India, coupled with the widespread expansion of theatrical chains have created a need for film diversification beyond traditional Bollywood films,” said Virgin Comics chief operating officer Sharad Devarajan.

Studio 18 was established last year as a division of the Network 18 Group and is making its Cannes debut with properties including “Little Zizou,” the English-language directorial debut of “Salaam Bombay,” and “The Namesake” scribe Sooni Taraporevala. Pic, which is now lensing, is exec produced by Mira Nair.

Network 18 is also parent of the Television 18 and Global Broadcast News, which have joint ventures with CNBC and Time Warner. Group is also seeking to launch a $110 million film fund via a flotation on the AIM-section of the London Stock Exchange.

Other Virgin Comics properties heading for the bigscreen include “The Secrets of the Seven Sounds” and “The Sadhu” with Nicolas Cage lined up to star.

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