CANNES: Jim Carrey Revs Up For Reliance

The Indian conglomerate says the comedian’s yet-to-be-announced project is one of several Hollywood movies it’s invested in filming soon. Carrey’s JC 23 Entertainment, which Reliance Big Entertainment has a first-look deal with, is based at Paramount. A George Clooney project, a big-budget movie from Nicholas Cage’s Saturn Films, and a video game/social network Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions are also revving engines.

Reliance has the option of financing up to 50% of any of these projects, “but not the obligation,” Reliance Big Entertainment chairman Amit Khana tells me.

In total, Reliance has 35 projects in development with directors and producers including Chris Columbus, Brad Pitt, Jay Roach, Jay Ratner and Brian Gazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.

However, Reliance is fully-financing the $45 million 3D reboot of Judge Dredd being developed by UK producer DNA Films. Alex Garland is scripting and Pete Travis directing. IM Global, which sales company which Reliance recently bought, is selling the comic-book action movie here in Cannes.

And Reliance is also fully-financing the sub-$10 million Julia Roberts-produced Jesus Henry Christ, written and to be directed by Dennis Lee (Fireflies in the Garden). Michael Sheen stars with Toni Collette. Roberts is making the film through her Red Om production company. Again, IM Global is selling.

Stuart Ford, CEO of IM Global, says part of the reason why Reliance wanted to buy his sales company was so that he could cast “a shrewd eye” over its indie filmmaking investments.

Over the coming 12 months Reliance plans to add another 50 screens to its 260-screen worldwide network of cinemas showing Indian films. Reliance operates screens in India, the Netherlands and the USA, where it’s planning to expand to Florida.

Its next Indian release will be Kites, which it’s releasing on 2,300 screens globally. Brett Ratner has cut a new version of the film, Kites: the Remix, which has its European premiere in London tomorrow.

Deepak Nyar, producer of Bend It Like Beckham, is working with former Icon distribution boss Nick Hill about setting up a British distribution arm for the Indian group. Mark Urman of Paladin is setting up a US releasing arm for Reliance.

Reliance declined to say how much money it has earmarked for Hollywood production over the next 12 months, saying it works on a film-by-film basis. Nor would it divulge any headline financials for the entire group, whose interests in India span telephony and post-production.

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