Market Insight

Reliance increases Dreamworks investment

April 16, 2012

David Hancock David Hancock Director – Research and Analysis, Cinema & Home Entertainment, IHS Markit

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India's Reliance Group has taken up an option to extend its investment into Dreamworks SKG, following its initial stake in 2009.  Dreamworks is now looking to reduce its overall output by one title a year, from four to six films a year to three to five titles a year. The company is also thought to be focusing on larger titles, moving away from recent mid-range titles such as War Horse and into the world of Roboapocalypse, co-financed with Fox. The studio has also acquired rights to its own fantasy franchise, Dark Fever. Dreamworks Animation was spun off in 2004 and is a stand-alone publicly listed company. The additional investment ensures Reliance retains Indian rights to all Dreamworks titles.

Reliance made its initial investment after a year of negotiations and raising finance. Dreamworks was taken out of out of Paramount, which had acquired the studio in 2006, and Disney was given rights to distribute all its titles in the US market and internationally, except in cases of co-financing. The original deal saw Reliance invest around $325m, and a larger debt financing portion to create a joint venture company between Reliance and Dreamworks principals, Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider. The recent investment is reported to be $200m.

Reliance has extensive Indian and international media interests, including BIG Cinemas (present in the USA), and has a series of development deals with production houses owned by A-list actors, such as George Clooney's Smokehouse Productions and Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment. 

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