Viacom 18 to handle Par pics

Indian distribution pact kicks off July 1

Viacom 18 Motion Pictures will handle the release of Paramount pics in India.

Pact with Paramount Pictures Intl., announced Wednesday, kicks off July 1 with helmer Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

Other upcoming titles include director J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8,” produced by Steven Spielberg, and Brad Bird’s “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.”

PPI prexy Andrew Cripps said: “This is a step change for Paramount in one of the fastest-growing and most exciting markets internationally.”

Par pics were previously distribbed by Paramount Pictures India, the local affil of UIP, Paramount’s and Universal’s company that puts out their films in 18 countries. Viacom 18, which will also release Par pics in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, is an equal joint venture of India’s Network 18 and Viacom, which also owns Paramount Pictures Intl.

Viacom 18 operates several TV channels, including CNN-IBN, Colors, CNBC TV 18 and MTV India, and also produces Indian films.