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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fox in Bollywood venture with Star


By Matthew Garrahan in Los Angeles

Published: October 4 2008 03:00 | Last updated: October 4 2008 03:00

Twentieth Century Fox has struck a deal with one of Indian cinema's most successful producers, signalling Hollywood's willingness to reach new audiences by investing in international film production.

The News Corporation-owned studio has formed Fox Star Studios with its sister company, Star, the Asian broadcaster.

Fox Star has signed a multi-film deal with Vipul Amrutlal Shah, producer of several Bollywood hits, including Singh is Kinng and Namastey London .

Under the deal, Fox Star will produce two of Mr Shah's forthcoming films with an option to make more. It comes as Hollywood studios are looking to strike deals with producers and distributors in Asia.

Walt Disney and Sony Pictures Entertainment have struck similar production deals in India and, like Fox Star, want to share in the success of local language film production.

Disney is producing a Bollywood version of its High School Musical film while Sony recently released Saawariya , its first stab at a three-hour Bollywood epic.

With growth slowing in the US film industry, Hollywood studios are looking to new markets such as India, South Korea and Russia.

"While most of the international markets tend to have Hollywood movies, increasingly a large portion of these local markets is made up of local films," Jim Gianopulos, chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, said.

"We felt we could make a contribution to the [local] market . . . by bringing our expertise in marketing and distribution."

Mr Shah said the deal with Fox Star gave him a chance to "create films that will appeal to audiences around the globe . . We have to partner with the best technical and creative talent while keeping the Indian soul in our films intact".

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

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