LONDON and MUMBAI: BBC Earth, the global natural history brand for BBC Worldwide, and Indian entertainment giant, RELIANCE BIG ENTERTAINMENT, are to partner on three motion pictures. All three films will be distributed by RELIANCE’s international film sales and financing subsidiary, IM GLOBAL. The deal was jointly announced today by BBC Worldwide’s Managing Director of Global Brands, Marcus Arthur and IM Global Founder and CEO Stuart Ford
The first theatrical feature to be co-produced under the relationship will be the $65m 3D live action feature "WALKING WITH DINOSAURS 3D" inspired by the BBC’s landmark "WALKING WITH DINOSAURS" brand. The picture will be co-directed by Pierre De Lespinois of Los Angeles and Alaska based 3D studio Evergreen Films and BBC Earth’s Neil Nightingale (formerly the Head of the BBC Natural History Unit). BBC Earth and Evergreen Films will be working with Academy Award winning animation house ANIMAL LOGIC ("Happy Feet") and leading animation producer Jinko Gotoh ("9", "Finding Nemo") on the film.
The second co-production between the parties will be the $25m documentary feature "AFRICA 3D" which will be filmed alongside "AFRICA", the BBC’s forthcoming major landmark television series. "AFRICA 3D" will also be in partnership with Evergreen Films.
Global distribution for both films will be handled by indie sales and financing powerhouse IM GLOBAL which will begin international sales on “WALKING WITH DINOSAURS 3D” at the forthcoming American Film Market in Santa Monica. At AFM IM Global will also launch worldwide sales of BBC Earth’s documentary feature “LIFE” which is in post-production and will be released theatrically during 2011.
"LIFE" is an imaginative and vividly captured series of stories from the animal kingdom that follows the full cycle of animal life to the birth of the next generation. Co-Directed by Mike Gunton (“Yellowstone”, “Life on Air”) and Martha Holmes (“The Blue Planet”, “Life in the Freezer”) and produced by Magic Light Pictures’ Martin Pope and Michael Rose. The film is inspired by the award winning TV series of the same name which has been broadcast in 50 countries and in the U.S. garnered more than 75 million viewers. BBC Earth’s previous feature film “EARTH” grossed $119 million worldwide when it was released theatrically in 2007.
“WALKING WITH DINOSAURS” broke new ground when it was first broadcast in 1999, accumulating over 700 million viewers worldwide and followed by three subsequent specials. The franchise has since spawned over 70 licensed publications, consumer and educational products around the world including a live arena show that has grossed more than $200 million in the past three years. The narrative of the feature tells the heartwarming story of a migrating dinosaur family, torn apart and then reunited during the Cretaceous period 70 million years ago. The film will use groundbreaking LIDAR (Light, Detection and Ranging) technology to combine live action and animation in new ways, as well as groundbreaking 3D camera and pre-vis systems to create never before seen levels of invisibility between the live action and CGI worlds.
Marcus Arthur, BBC Worldwide’s Managing Director of Global Brands, said “By partnering with Reliance BIG Entertainment we have the opportunity to realise a long held ambition of making BBC Earth 3D feature films. ‘Earth’ demonstrated the huge appetite of audiences for quality natural history filmmaking and the 3D experience of ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ and ‘Africa’ will allow audiences to immerse themselves in our incredible content as never before.”
The deal was negotiated over several months by BBC Worldwide’s Managing Director, Global Brands Marcus Arthur and BBC Earth Director Amanda Hill across from IM Global CEO Stuart Ford and his board colleague Deepak Nayar on behalf of Reliance and IM Global. Miles Ketley, a partner in London law firm Wiggin & Co negotiated on behalf of BBC Worldwide and Reliance/IM Global were advised by Jackie Hurt a partner in London law firm Olswang.
About BBC Earth
BBC Earth is the global brand for all the BBC’s natural history content spanning the last 50 years. The BBC is the largest producer of natural history programming in the world and the BBC Earth brand highlights the vast scale of incredible content which is produced in this genre. Visible across all platforms; TV, DVD, licensing and digital, BBC Earth encourages engagement with current as well as classic programs such as Planet Earth and The Blue Planet. BBC Earth branding is only visible in the UK on commercial products, internationally the BBC Earth brand will appear across all platforms, including TV programmes. BBC Earth is from BBC Worldwide the main commercial arm and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
About BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide Limited is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company exists to maximise the value of the BBC’s assets for the benefit of the licence fee payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights. The company has seven core businesses: Channels, Content & Production, Digital Media, Sales & Distribution, Magazines, Home Entertainment and Global Brands. In 2008/09, BBC Worldwide generated profits of £102.6 million (before exceptionals) on sales of over £1 billion.
BBC Worldwide was awarded with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in April 2009. This prestigious award for International Trade recognised the company’s substantial growth in overseas earnings and its commercial success at outstanding levels, based on 3 years’ trading results, which benefit the UK creative industries and ultimately the licence fee payer.
About Reliance Big Entertainment
Reliance BIG Entertainment Ltd. (RBEL) is the flagship media and entertainment arm of India's Reliance Group, with a significant presence in film entertainment (film production, distribution, and exhibition), broadcasting and new media ventures.
RBEL's motion picture brand, Reliance BIG Pictures (www.reliancebigpictures.com) has built a impressive film production slate in Hindi, English & other Indian languages, which it markets and distributes worldwide. Following Reliance BIG Pictures’ association with IM Global, the company now benefits from an international sales team with an excellent reputation and global presence dedicated to selling its Bollywood and regional language slate. Going into production in November is the $45 million “Dredd”, which Reliance Big Entertainment is co-financing with IM Global.
In Hollywood, Reliance BIG Pictures has partnered with Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider on the formation of DreamWorks Studios and has development deals with Nicolas Cage's Saturn Films, 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, Jay Roach's Everyman Pictures, Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment, Julia Roberts’ Red Om Films and Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.
RBEL’s group company, Reliance MediaWorks Limited (www.reliancemediaworks.com) is India's largest film processing, exhibition and entertainment services company. It operates BIG Cinemas, India's premier cinema chain with over 515 screens, including over 200 screens in the United States and an exhibition presence in Malaysia and Netherlands. Furthermore, through Reliance MediaWorks’ Los Angeles-based subsidiary Lowry Digital and its Japan-based subsidiary Imagica the company has a comprehensive presence in Film Services including motion picture processing and DI; visual effects; film restoration and image enhancement; 2D to 3D conversion; digital mastering: studios and equipment rentals.
The Reliance Group (www.relianceada.com) is amongst India's top 3 business houses and has interests in telecommunications, energy, financial services, infrastructure and media and entertainment.
About IM Global
IM Global was founded in March 2007 by former Miramax International head Stuart Ford. The company quickly established itself as one of the leading sales agents in the international community handling a wide variety of mainstream commercial, arthouse and genre fare. The company is now comprised of five divisions: IM Global Opus for mainstream, commercial cinema targeted for the multiplex audience; IM Global Acclaim for critically acclaimed arthouse and specialty cinema driven by critical response, festival screenings and awards consideration; IM Global Anthem for the best of non-English language cinema from around the world; IM Global Octane, for modestly budgeted, branded genre films; and IM Global Apsara, a rights acquisition and distribution vehicle that serves the rapidly evolving Asian markets across growing theatrical, digital and VOD distribution platforms.
The company is one of the most prolific players in the international film sales arena. Four of its films had World Premieres at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival: Will Ferrell and Rebecca Hall starrer "Everything Must Go"; "Insidious" from "Saw" director James Wan, starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne; Brad Anderson’s “Vanishing on 7th Street”, starring Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo; and “Bunraku” starring Josh Hartnett, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Ron Perlman and Gackt. Soon to be released in the U.S. are John Wells’ "The Company Men" with Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones, “Skyline” from VFX wizards The Brothers Strause, and John Cusack thriller "The Factory". In active production are Halle Berry starrer "Dark Tide",$30 million Jason Statham starrer "Safe", Barry Levinson’s “The Bay”, and Madonna's directorial debut "W.E." Going into production in November is the $45 million “Dredd”, which IM Global is co-financing with parent company Reliance Big Entertainment.
About Evergreen Films
Evergreen Films integrates the vision of the artist with the ingenuity of the engineer; bringing great stories to life with the help of breakthrough technology. Evergreen Films owns and produces high-quality 3D feature films and television series.
Evergreen’s team of industry pioneers in digital filmmaking, CGI animation, and 3D production is backed by the best digital technology in the business. Fully equipped 3D production studios in Los Angeles and Anchorage put Evergreen in the heart of Hollywood while simultaneously allowing the company to grow the film industry in Alaska.
Evergreen's web site: www.evergreenfilms.com.
BBC Worldwide: Emma Finlay
Tel: +44 8433 2536
IM Global: Guido Gotz MPRM Communications
Tel: (323) 933 3399