×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Warner Bros. Closes Financing Deal With Dune, Brett Ratner, James Packer

Deal follows Legendary departure

Warner Bros. has closed a financing deal with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, a four-year partnership with Dune’s Steven Mnuchin, filmmaker Brett Ratner and Australian billionaire James Packer, to fund up to 75 upcoming films.

The total funds are expected to be in the $450 million million range, Mnuchin told Variety. He expressed optimism that the deal could be extended — as Dune’s pact with 20th Century Fox was on multiple occasions.

The RatPac-Dune coin comes three months after the studio and longtime partner Legendary Entertainment agreed to terminate their longtime co-financing partnership at the end of the year.

Warner’s “Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, is the first title covered by the new deal. “Gravity” opened the Venice Film Festival amid stellar reviews and will go into wide release Friday.

The co-financing arrangement also covers boxing comedy “Grudge Match,” which opens on Christmas and stars Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone. It includes films from all genres and all budgets including New Line — but will exclude projects from other WB’s co-financing deals with Village Roadshow and Gulfstream, the studio’s distribution pact with Alcon and titles derived from the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises.

“We are very pleased to be entering into this relationship with RatPac-Dune Entertainment,” said Warner Bros. CEO Kevin  Tsujihara in a statement. “This agreement gives us increased strength and flexibility in the motion picture division and an even greater ability to manage risk as we continue to produce high-quality filmed entertainment for the global audience. We look forward to working with their team as we move forward in this exciting new partnership with a truly great organization.”

Warner Bros. has usually finished in first or second place at the domestic box office over the past decade. The studio noted that it has six films that have crossed the $200 million mark globally this year: “We’re the Millers,” $238 million; “The Conjuring,” $297 million; “The Great Gatsby,” $350 million; “The Hangover – Part III,” $360 million; “Pacific Rim,” $408 million; and “Man of Steel,” $663 million.

Mnuchin said in a satement, “Warner Bros Pictures has an incredible track record of success with the most valuable franchise properties, the best relationships in the creative community and an extremely talented executive team.”

Variety reported on July 9 that Warner Bros. was in talks with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Dune Capital for a major co-financing deal that would help replace Legendary’s coin and that Bank of America had been working with WB for months to put together a roughly $550 million co-financing vehicle with Dune helping to raise roughly $150 million of equity.

Mnuchin told Variety on Monday that both sides shook hands on the outline of a deal several months ago.

Dune pacted in 2005 wth 20th Century Fox on a deal that was renewed multiple times. That pact helped pay for the juggernaut “Avatar,” “Life of Pi” and dozens of other pics at that studio but was not renewed this year as Fox opted for a slate deal with financial guru Chip Seelig.

Legendary began shopping its deal in June after deciding not to renew at WB. It announced in July that its new deal would be at Universal; Variety reported in August that Legendary was planning to spend $275 million annually in U’s films and its own properties within the first two years of the deal and $350 million a year during the next three years.

The WB-Legendary pact dates back to 2005 and provided the funds for several blockbusters including “Inception,” “Man of Steel,” “The Dark Knight Returns,” “The Dark Knight” and the “Hangover” series.

SEE ALSO: Warner Bros. in Talks for Major Co-Financing Deal

Ratner is best known for directing the “Rush Hour” trilogy and also helmed “Red Dragon,” “X-Men: The Last Stand” and  “Tower Heist.” He’s moved into production in recent years via his Rat Entertainment banner with credits on “Mirror Mirror” and “Horrible Bosses.”

Ratner is also directing and producing the upcoming “Hercules,” starring Dwayne Johnson, for MGM and Paramount. He teamed up late last year to form RatPac Entertainment with Packer, the chairman of Crown Limited, one of Australia’s largest resort and entertainment groups.

Packer is the son of the late Australian media mogul Kerry Packer.

More Film

  • US actor Donald Sutherland poses for

    Donald Sutherland Reflects in Lyon On A Life And Career Marked By Cinema

    In a loose and free-flowing on-stage interview held at the Lumière Festival this past Sunday, Donald Sutherland reflected on his decade-spanning career with a tone that mixed personal irreverence alongside genuine veneration for the art form that brought him this far. “I love filmmakers, I really do,” said the Canadian actor, who delighted the local [...]

  • Terry Back chairman ACF

    Veteran U.K. Media Investor Terry Back Joins ACF as Chairman

    CANNES — Veteran U.K. film industry investor Terry Back has joined ACF investment bank as chairman. ACF, headed by CEO Thomas Dey, has been at the forefront of the M&A activity around independent TV and film production outfits, mostly in the unscripted TV arena. ACF is in the midst of expanding its activities in the [...]

  • Joker

    Korea Box Office: 'Joker' Remains on Top, 'Gemini Man' Lands in Fourth

    Warner Bros.’ “Joker” remained on top of the South Korean box office in its second weekend. The American psychological thriller earned $5.71 million from 768,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday, for a total of $28.3 million from 3.85 million admissions after two weekends. It accounted for 46% of total weekend box office in the country. [...]

  • dolittle-DRD_Tsr1Sht_1011_RGB_4_rgb-1

    Robert Downey Jr. Embarks on Perilous Journey in First 'Dolittle' Trailer (Watch)

    Robert Downey Jr. is setting sail with some furry friends in the first trailer for “Dolittle,” Universal Pictures’ reimagining of the classic story about a man who could speak to animals. “We have no choice but to embark on this perilous journey,” he says. Set to a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” [...]

  • Parasite

    Bong Joon Ho's 'Parasite' Posts Powerful Opening in North America

    Bong Joon-Ho’s dark comedy “Parasite,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, has launched with a spectacular $376,264 at three U.S. theaters.  Neon opened “Parasite” at The Landmark and Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles and at the IFC Center in New York, where it broke the opening record set by 2014’s “Boyhood.” Its per-screen average of [...]

  • Joker Movie

    'Joker' Dominates International Box Office With $124 Million

    “Joker” is showing impressive traction internationally with a second weekend of $123.7 million on 24,149 screens in 79 markets — a holdover decline of just 29%. Joaquin Phoenix’s psychological thriller has totaled $351.2 million outside North America after only 12 days in release. And with $192 million in domestic grosses, “Joker” has now topped $543 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content