New post production houses are on the cards for Mumbai and London following a tie-up between Indian media giant Reliance MediaWorks and Los Angeles visual effects masters Digital Domain.
The new facilities, to be owned by Reliance and managed by Digital Domain, will service the TV, film and advertising industry. The Mumbai studio will reportedly provide jobs for up to 650 staff.
The deal marks the first foray in India for the James Cameron-founded Digital Domain, although competitors Technicolor and Rhythm & Hues already have bases in the South Asian nation.
The Anil Ambani-owned Reliance, meanwhile, already has post production facilities in both cities, along with a chain of US theatres (Big Cinemas) and what was Lowry Digital, an image processing centre in Burbank, California. Not to mention a financial interest in the production companies run by Hollywood stars Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Tom Hanks.
“From our perspective, ...it's a game changer. The advantage of working with Digital Domain is that we can take on the large US$100 million projects,” Anil Arjun, chief executive, Reliance MediaWorks, told Reuters.
Currently the Indian conglomerate provides shots for films, rather than taking on an entire movie. This now looks set to change and, according to Mr Arjun, the joint venture plans to work on four or five large projects in its first year of multi-site operation, starting this August.
The deal looks set to further boost India’s animation and visual effects industry, which analysts at KPMG already forecast will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19%, to reach INR 55.9 billion by 2015.
“Filmmaking has become a global enterprise,'' said Cliff Plumer, chief executive of Digital Domain Productions. A partnership with Reliance MediaWorks will allow our clients to realize the benefits of a digital production pipeline that makes efficient use of resources and talent located around the world."
Digital Domain also has a post production house in Vancouver, Canada, a base in Florida and, along with providing the visual effects for Transformers: Dark of the Moon, has recently been exploring the 3D conversion business. In May the company filed a preliminary prospectus for a US$115 million initial public offering with US regulators.
Shares of Reliance MediaWorks, which the market values at $133.01, rose as much as 2.1% to INR 130.65 in reaction to the news on Tuesday (12 July).