Village Roadshow resolves credit snag

Deal includes financing of six Warner Bros. pics

Village Roadshow Pictures successfully has restructured a film production credit arrangement that had affected a co-production and co-financing deal with Time Warner's Warner Bros.

The restructure, led by existing bank partners Rabobank International and JP Morgan Chase, includes a $900 million financing facility and a provision for an additional $350 million.

The deal by a division of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group includes the permanent financing of 2008 releases "Get Smart," "Nights in Rodanthe," "Yes Man" and "Gran Torino." Time Warner previously said VRS' 50% share of the production costs for the four movies totaled about $120 million.

VRS' upcoming joint releases with Warners, which the new facility also covers, include "Where the Wild Things Are," a live-action adaptation of the children's book set to open in October, and "Sherlock Holmes" on Christmas Day.

The company was forced to restructure the facility when an unnamed third party experienced difficulties last year.

In early 2006, VRS increased its film-financing facility from $900 million to $1.14 billion with terms that then extended through January 2011.

VREG chairman Graham Burke and CEO Greg Basser lauded "the ongoing loyalty and commitment shown to us by our partners at Warner Bros. and Time Warner" and said its bank partners "steered complex negotiations to a successful conclusion in this unprecedented economic environment."

Said Warners president and COO Alan Horn: "We are extremely pleased that Village Roadshow has achieved its financial goals," highlighting that the companies have been partners for more than 30 years. "We look forward to continuing our successful relationship and to many more years of making great movies together." (partialdiff)
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