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Warner Bros. has extended its relationship with Village Roadshow Pictures Group through 2017 and has secured $1.125 billion in debt equity to fund multiple projects, the partners said Monday.
“We now have the firepower of the financing locked away, the best management in the business and the renewal of our long-term relationship with Warner Bros.,” said Graham Burke, chairman of VRPG.
Warners first struck its deal with Village Roadshow in 1997. Their first release was Practical Magic, a $75 million production starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman that took in just $47 million at the box office. But its next two titles, Analyze This and The Matrix, were bona fide hits.
Village Roadshow has produced 72 movies since its founding 15 years ago as a producer and financier of studio-released titles, 68 of which have been released by Warners. It was founded with $200 million and eventually gained access to $1 billion prior to Monday, when the company announced another $125 million in debt finance with JPMorgan Chase and Rabobank as joint syndication agents.
Had it not been extended, the company’s relationship with Warners was set to expire at the end of October 2014. The extension, say insiders, means an additional six to eight Village Roadshow movies will be distributed by Warners.
Other recent successes from the Village Roadshow-Warners partnership include Sherlock Holmes, Happy Feet, Ocean’s 11 and its sequel. In production are Mad Max: Fury Road with Charlize Theron, All You Need Is Kill with Tom Cruise and the animated Lego: The Movie, starring Will Arnett, Will Ferrell and Morgan Freeman.
“We look forward to expanding upon the solid 15-year foundation and continuing to grow our slate of tentpole and star-driven films under the Warners banner,” said Village Roadshow Pictures chairman and CEO Bruce Berman.
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