Meet Ashok Amritraj, yet another independent manager of the National Geographic brand

Despite earlier reports, National Geographic Films didn’t actually die. Instead, it’s been “folded into” a company called Hyde Park Entertainment, whose Chairman & CEO is Ashok Amritraj.

According to IMDb, Mr. Amritraj is “known for” producing four films (above), the trailers for which we’ve put into a playlist (below).

Is Mr. Amritraj the sort of film producer who will take good care of the National Geographic brand? Is he the type of film executive who channels his creative talents and financial resources into projects that “inspire people to care about the planet”? Let’s go to the video:

Here’s Tim Kelly, President of National Geographic (via The Hollywood Reporter):

We like Hyde Park’s approach to the business, their growth and success in Asia, and the fact that Ashok and his team are already working closely with our partner, Image Nation,” Tim Kelly, President of National Geographic Society, said in a prepared statement. “This partnership makes sense from all angles, and by folding our current feature film effort into this new venture, we will be able to pursue bigger, more ambitious projects and expand into growing markets like India and China.”

Ah, of course: China. The Motherlode for global media executives everywhere. Can’t believe we almost forgot.

“Today, the West feels very shy about human rights and the political situation. They’re in need of money. But every penny they borrowed or made from China has really come as a result of how this nation sacrificed everybody’s rights. With globalization and the Internet, we all know it. Don’t pretend you don’t know it. … It’s getting worse, and it will keep getting worse.

— Ai Weiwei 

 

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John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of the National Geographic Society

  • Guest

    Question: Is Mr. Amritraj the sort of film producer who will take good care of the National Geographic brand? Answer: “Good care of the National Geographic brand”? Considering, the Channel is majority-owned by Fox, I would say no.

    Question: Is he the type of film executive who channels his creative talents and financial resources into projects that “inspire people to care about the planet”? 
    Answer: Again, no.

    Question: Does the Board of Directors and top executives at NGS care about the good NG brand?
    Answer: There is no “good” NG brand anymore, and no, they don’t care. Just need to make money to keep their million-dollar homes, bonuses, and perks.

    • I have the feeling that Mr. Amritraj will take NG Films into new territory — mostly because the old territory didn’t prove profitable enough. It’s also worth noting that there’s nothing in his filmography to suggest that he’s especially adept at “inspiring people to care about the planet.” As Tim Kelly notes, Mr. Amritraj knows how to draw a crowd — which is a very Fox-like metric. … And while the Channel is owned by News Corp, NG Films is not part of the Channel, it’s part of NG Entertainment. However, Hype Park has a “first look” deal with 20th Century Fox (the studio gets first refusal on any projects Hyde Park develops) — which almost makes NG Films a Fox subsidiary. 

      I should add that choosing Mr. Amritraj as the new CEO of NG Films is a clear indicator of the pressure to create films that will work in Asia. Big films that will draw big audiences. March of the Penguins — the movie that no doubt convinced NG executives that we could play the feature film game — is the exception, not the rule. So brace yourself for movies that have as much to do with “inspiring people to care about the planet” as Death Sentence has to do with “family.”

      Thanks for stopping by, Guest. 

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