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India's Reliance Big Entertainment in deals to fund Hollywood projects

MUMBAI (Thomson Financial) - Reliance Big Entertainment (RBE), part of the group controlled by Indian billionaire Anil Ambani, said it will provide development funds to eight Hollywood production companies.

RBE has signed deals with Nicolas Cage's Saturn Productions, Jim Carrey's JC 23 Entertainment, George Clooney's Smokehouse Productions, Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures, Tom Hanks' Playtone Productions, Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment, and Jay Roach's Everyman Pictures.

The deal provides for creation and implementation of scripts in collaboration with production entities and RBE will co-finance these projects, a company spokesperson said.

In a statement, the company said the deals secure Indian rights for films that it co-finances. Additionally, RBE said it expects to attract productions to India, where Reliance Entertainment is the largest film producer and owns physical studios and facility companies.

'I expect to have further such development deals in the near future,' said chairman Amit Khanna.

The company plans to develop 30 projects through these deals over a span of two years, of which eight to 10 projects are expected to go into production, RBE President Rajesh Sawhney told Thomson Financial News in a phone interview from the Cannes Film Festival in France, where the deals were announced on Sunday.

When asked if the company had set an investment target for the deals, Sawhney said: 'We don't have any targets. We will see as the opportunities unfold.'

Sawhney said the company did not have any upper limit on the budget. He said that a Hollywood movie typically costs $25 million to $150 million, so the investments will depend upon the kind of projects that go into production.

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