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US crisis hits ADAG's Hollywood classic venture

By Raghavendra Kamath in Mumbai
November 04, 2008 10:33 IST
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The Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group company Reliance Big Entertainment's plan to set up a facility to restore Hollywood classic movies has been delayed due to financial crisis in the US, according to sources with knowledge of the development.

The company is setting up a 1,50,000-square-feet back-office at Airoli in Navi Mumbai, which is aimed at restoring Hollywood classics and then beaming them from the group's 400 movie halls in India, the US, Malaysia and Mauritus.

Though the company did not announce the launch date of the new operations, sources said the unveiling was scheduled this year-end, which is now likely to happen in 2009.

The facility was envisaged after Reliance Big acquired the digital images business of US-based DTS Digital Images, popularly known as Lowry Digital Images, in April this year, helping it get a foothold into the digital restoration and enhancement business in America.

"The launch of film restoration operations will be delayed by a couple of months due to turmoil in the US markets. We will launch it in 2009,'' a top company source said.

Reliance Big Entertainment officials did not respond to queries sent on the delay in the launch of the restoration business.

The ADAG venture will help Hollywood studios in correcting original footage of their classics and rerendering of 2D footage into 3D format.

The company has already hired and trained 300 people, while the unit will have a total employee base of 1,500, sources said.

The group's film production and exhibition arm, Big Cinemas, (earlier Adlabs Films) is mainly involved in the project. Once the Airoli facility is ready, the company also has plans to set up similar units in Bangalore, Hyderabad and other leading cities, sources added.

Reliance Big has already set up a company -- AAA Infrastructure Investment -- for running the Airoli unit in the Millennium Business Park behind Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City, which houses Reliance Communications' offices and units.

DDI, part of Reliance Big, works with Walt Disney, Paramount Pictures, MGM and 20th Century Fox and entertainment leaders like George Lucas and James Cameron.

It has restored more than 300 of the world's most recognised feature films with output to DVD, HiDef, 35mm film, Digital Cinema, and IMAX. 

Their body of work includes Casablanca, Singing in the Rain, Sunset Boulevard, Indiana Jones trilogy, Star Wars trilogy, James Bond films and numerous Disney classics such as Cinderella, Bambi, 101 Dalmatians and Lady And The Tramp.
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Raghavendra Kamath in Mumbai
Source: source

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