Hollywood re-assessing attitude towards India: Variety

Mumbai, March 22 (IANS) Hollywood investors are now "reassessing their previous cool attitude" towards India and major players like Viacom, Universal, Dream Works and Warner Bros. prefer to invest in the Indian entertainment industry compared to China, says Hollywood trade magazine Variety.

Although India started the process of economic reforms rather belatedly as compared to China, but it has since opened up to the world much faster than the Chinese have done as far as the entertainment business is concerned, it says.

While China is still wary of allowing foreign companies a stake of any significant size in its entertainment sector, Indian entertainment corporate entities are welcoming foreign direct investment (FDI) and entering into joint business deals with their foreign counterparts with a vengeance.

A report in Variety said: "Although China is too big and growing too fast to ignore, it's India that comes out on top when attracting coin from financial investors and industry alike."

With the Korean film industry losing its shine of late, that of Japan being too steady to welcome new moves at this stage and the Chinese proving to be un-accommodative, Hollywood investors, according to Variety, are now "reassessing their previous cool attitudes" towards India.

Major Hollywood studios, like Viacom, NBC, Universal, Dream Works, besides Warner Bros., Sony and Disney, have already made sizeable investments in India's entertainment sector.

Warner Bros., for example, recently called off a deal it had signed with a Chinese production firm.

Variety quoted Ashok Amritraj as saying that while his Hyde Park Entertainment was close to launching local production deals in India, Korea and Japan, he "could not figure how to do this in China yet".

Media baron, Rupert Murdoch, put it succinctly when he told Variety: "Trying to build an entertainment business in China is simply too hard."

Incidentally, Weinstein Co., which controls US $285 million Asian movie fund, recently had to call off the shooting of its period production "Shanghai" because the Chinese authorities did not like the script, especially the insinuations about Chinese-Japanese collaboration.

And this after the production team had already built a US $3- million set in the city of Shanghai for the movie.

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