WB partner secures credit for four titles

Warner Bros.’ longtime co-financing partner Village Roadshow Pictures has secured a $900 million line of credit that will be used to pay its share on four 2008 titles that it couldn’t cover, as well as fund upcoming titles.

The debt restructuring was led by Rabobank Intl. and JPMorgan Chase and includes a provision for an additional capacity of $350 million.

Sunday’s announcement signals that the credit markets may be thawing — welcome news for Hollywood companies trying to secure their own lines of credit.

Oz-based Village Roadshow’s funding crunch was revealed last month in a Time Warner earnings call. Warner Bros. essentially covered Village Roadshow on the four 2008 co-productions, three of which were box office hits — “Get Smart,” “Yes Man” and “Gran Torino.”

The 2009 titles Village Roadshow is co-financing are Guy Ritchie’s Robert Downey Jr. starrer “Sherlock Holmes,” set for release on Dec. 25, and Spike Jonze’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” which opens Oct. 16.

“This restructure would not have been possible without the ongoing loyalty and commitment to us shown by our partners at Warner Bros. and Time Warner,” Village Roadshow’s Graham Burke and Greg Basser said.

“Get Smart” grossed $230.7 million worldwide; “Yes Man,” $229 million; and Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” $247 million. “Nights in Rodanthe” grossed $84 million.

Warners prexy-CEO Alan Horn said Village Roadshow has been the studio’s partner for more than 30 years, and that Warners looks forward to a continued successful relationship.

Village Roadshow has co-produced and co-financed titles including “The Matrix” franchise, the “Ocean’s” franchise, “Happy Feet” and “I Am Legend.”

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