Viacom 18, the 50:50 joint venture between Viacom and India’s Network 18, has announced a strategic alliance with Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures International (PPI) to distribute PPI releases across India.

The alliance sees Viacom 18’s film division, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, distribute PPI’s theatrical releases in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka beginning with Transformers: Dark Of The Moon on July 1. This will be followed by PPI’s Super 8, directed by JJ Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg, and Mission Impossible 4, starring Tom Cruise and directed by Brad Bird.

The announcement was made in Mumbai by Viacom 18 group CEO Haresh Chawla, PPI president Andrew Cripps and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures COO Vikram Malhotra.

Commenting on the alliance, Cripps said: “This is a step change for Paramount in one of the fastest-growing and most exciting markets internationally. Viacom 18 has positioned itself as one of the most impressive players locally in both distribution and production. We are very proud to be associated with them and look forward to continuing to grow and expand Paramount’s presence in India.”

Viacom 18 Motion Pictures recently returned to local-language production with projects such as Anurag Kashyap’s two-part gangster musical, Gangs Of Wasseypur, and Buddah, starring Amitabh Bachchan. The company is also producing a remake of Paramount’s The Italian Job, starring Abhishek Bachchan, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Bipasha Basu.