RatPac-Dune Entertainment, the partnership between filmmaker Brett Ratner, Australian businessman James Packer and Wall Street financier Steven Mnuchin, on Friday closed a $300 million credit facility that will be used, along with an equity investment, to finance as many as 75 upcoming Warner Bros. movies.
The slate co-financing deal with Warner Bros. was first revealed when The Hollywood Reporter broke the news in September. It in part will replace co-financing that in past years was provided by Legendary Entertainment, which ended its association with Warners earlier this year.
The new partnership has already taken off with the joint investment in Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, which has grossed over $577 million worldwide since it opened in early October. RatPac-Dune is also a partner on Grudge Match, starring Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro as retired boxers, which opens Christmas day.
The arrangement can cover all kinds of movies from Warner Bros. and New Line except those already tied to the studio’s other financing partners, which include Village Roadshow and Gulfstream, Warners’ deal with Alcon Entertainment. The new arrangement also excludes all Harry Potter movies.
The announcement on Friday was that a group of banks, led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, may ultimately loan the venture as much as $400 million. The financing was handled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Entertainment Industries Group led by Daniel Timmons and Brian Stearns.
JP Morgan Chase and Union Bank were co-leads on the credit transaction. Bank of America Merrill Lynch also structured the equity portion of the deal — the money being put up by Ratner, Packer and Mnuchin.
Ratner, 44, is best known as director of such movies as Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand and Tower Heist, as well as producing the Fox drama series Prison Break.
Packer, 46, is the son of the late Kerry Packer, from whom he inherited control of Consolidated Press Holdings, which has extensive interests in publishing and broadcasting across multiple platforms in Australia, and other investments. Forbes in May estimated his personal wealth at over $6 billion.
Mnuchin, 50, is the son of a former Goldman Sachs banker and a player in the New York art scene who has extensive investments. He served as chairman of the One West Bank Group but is best known in Hollywood for his deals through Dune, which did slate co-financing deals with Fox that led to investments of over $500 million in a series of the studio’s movies.
“The credit facility arranged by Bank of America Merrill Lynch is an important part of our new and exciting agreement with Warner Bros.,” Mnuchin said.
“We’re pleased to support the RatPac-Dune Entertainment team as it embarks on the new relationship with Warner Bros.,” Timmons said.
“This agreement is another example of how Bank of America Merrill Lynch has been able to leverage its platform to help entertainment companies with their financial needs.”