Fresh from buying into English Premier League football, Abu Dhabi has its eye on another trophy. The emirate will on Wednesday set out plans to become one of the world’s largest film producers, with $1bn to invest in productions to be made in Hollywood, Bollywood and beyond.
The funding, provided by Abu Dhabi’s government, will allow the Gulf state to back up to eight films a year over the next five years, Edward Borgerding, chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Media CompanyAbu Dhabi Media Company told the Financial Times.
Some Hollywood studios are struggling to replace the funds that rushed in from private equity and hedge funds in recent years. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer last month hired Goldman Sachs to “explore enhancements” to its long-term capital structure, amid reports Merrill Lynch was wavering in its commitment to finance MGM’s Universal Artists studio.
Abu Dhabi is seeking to usurp Dubai as the region’s leading media hub. The Islamic state remains wary of some western content, however, only agreeing to show edited versions of Syriana, the George Clooney film, because it feared that it would show the Gulf in a negative light.
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