Stuart Ford’s aggressive US-based sales powerhouse IM Global has struck an alliance with Reliance Big to handle international sales on its films.

The open-ended arrangement kicks off with Rajkumar Hirani’s comedy 3 Idiots starring Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, which has become the biggest Indian release in history on a global box office of $64m and counting.

Also on the slate are upcoming releases Kites, Anurag Basu’s romantic thriller starring Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori, and Mani Ratnam’s drama Raavan starring Aishwarya Rai.

“Reliance wanted to present Indian films to the international buyer community in a different way,” Ford said, noting the crossover success of 3 Idiots which has taken more than $6.5m in North America through Reliance.

“You can see box office for Indian cinema going up in core territories like the UK, Australia, South Africa and the Middle East. On a critical and commercial level, it’s likely it will only get stronger.

“Just look what’s going on with the economy and in the media sector and the entry of Reliance into the entertainment space.”

Ford said buyer response had been “terrific” and declined to name the first specific sales, explaining that he was in exploratory talks with distributors to set up long-term strategic relationships.

“We anticipate Reliance will continue to churn out several blockbusters a year for many years to come,” he added.
Reliance manages its own films in North America and the UK.