Spielberg wins funds to launch new studio

LOS ANGELES: The new DreamWorks Studios run by Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider announced it had finalized an 825-million-dollar deal with Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA Group.

DreamWorks said it had secured the final piece of financing for its plan to shoot about six films a year, which came in the form of 325 million dollars provided by J.P. Morgan Securities and other banks.

Walt Disney Studios, which will handle marketing and distribution for the new studio except in India, is also set to extend a loan for an amount that was not disclosed but the Los Angeles Times reported amounted to 175 million dollars.

Along with the J.P. Morgan financing and an equal 325-million-dollar commitment from Reliance Big Entertainment, DreamWorks secured a total of 825 million, which should allow the studio to launch its activity anew after cutting its ties with Paramount Pictures in October 2008.

The new DreamWorks, which separated from its sister company DreamWorks Animation in 2004, plans to have its first release out in 2010.

"This will allow us to move ahead quickly into production with our first group of films," Snider and Spielberg said in a joint statement.

Spielberg has already obtained rights to bring the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King to the silver screen, and plans to shoot next year a remake of "Harvey," a Hollywood classic from the 1950s in which James Stewart's best friend is a giant rabbit.

"Our partnership with Stacey and Steven is the cornerstone of our Hollywood strategy as we grow our film interests across the globe," said Reliance ADA Group chairman Anil Dhirubhai Ambani.

"Given our faith in the business plan that they presented to us and despite the current economic climate, we were always confident that this day would come."

The other banks involved in the debt financing deal led by J.P. Morgan were Bank of America, City National Bank, Wells Fargo, Comerica, Union Bank of California, SunTrust, California Bank & Trust and Israel Discount Bank.