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FOLLOWING the stupendous success of Slumdog Millionaire, Fox Star Studios, a pan-Asian joint venture between Twentieth Century Fox and Star, has bagged the worldwide rights to My Name is Khan, Dharma Productions and Red Chillies’ next venture, for a reported sum of Rs 80-90 crore.

Fox Star Studios will finance and distribute the Karan Johar-directed My Name is Khan which stars Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol and is expected to release in early 2010. According to industry trackers, the deal is said to have been struck for a period of 15 years and covers all rights except music which has been bagged by Sony Music.

Leveraging on parent News Corp’s global presence, Fox Searchlight Pictures will release the film in the US while Twentieth Century Fox International will distribute the film outside India and the US. “We have the ability to scale up a film or have a separate division for blockbusters. For this film, we read the script, saw the footage, and saw a universal story in the content which all have an appeal to go beyond the diaspora. The film has a feel for an international audience while still being a commercial Bollywood film at the same time,” Sanford Panitch, Head of Distribution of Fox International Pictures said.

   Fox Star CEO Vijay Singh confirmed that the film will have a global, multi-lingual release, though details on number of prints and marketing activity plans are too early to plan. “We have access to markets worldwide. When the home video is ready, we have the strength of a 20th Century Fox. Basically, we see a seamless transition of one entity working on it,” he said.

   For Karan Johar, it was important to find a partner who was like-minded, had a similar vision and the capability to take Indian cinema to international markets. “I am happy that audiences unfamiliar with these films will get a chance to see what Indian cinema has to offer to the world,” he said. My Name is Khan examines how a Muslim from India (Shah Rukh Khan) living in San Francisco embarks on a remarkable journey across the United States, inspiring people and inviting debate, creating an accidental revolution. “This reflects our commitment to partner with the best filmmakers in the world,” said Jim Gianopulos, chairman and CEO, Fox Filmed Entertainment. The film reunites SRK with Kajol. The pair has had a successful run at the box office in the past and has given many a blockbuster.

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