Lights, camera … James Packer pumps $US450 million into Hollywood financing deal

Billionaire James Packer has made his latest investment, plunging nearly half a billion dollars into a financing deal with film giant Warner Bros. Pictures.

The four-year deal covers up to 75 films, and was made through Packer’s company RatPac-Dune Entertainment, which was founded last year with director Brett Ratner and Steven Mnuchin, who heads the private investment group Dune Capital Management.

While the official statement from Warner Bros. Pictures does not specify an amount, trade publications such as Variety have pinned the total at about $US450 million.

The deal comes after Warner Bros. finished a co-financing deal earlier this year with Legendary Entertainment.

The deal covers films from a variety of genres, including Gravity, which is released this Thursday in Australia, and “studio tent-pole releases based on iconic franchises”.

“This agreement gives us increased strength and flexibility in the motion picture division and an even greater ability to manage risk,” said Warner Bros. chief executive Kevin Tsujihara in a statement.

Ratner and Packer added the company was looking forward to a “long and mutually beneficial relationship”.

Ratner is one of Hollywood’s most successful directors – Warner Bros. pins his films as grossing more than $2 billion worldwide, including the Rush Hour trilogy and one of the X-Men films.

Warner Bros. owns several key franchises, including the Harry Potter series, the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchise and DC Comics, publisher of Batman and Superman comics.

The investment is Packer’s first move into film entertainment, but is only one of several Packer has made this year.

In March, he teamed up with the group of wealthy investors behind the successful Beats Electronics brand, and was given preliminary approval for his Sydney casino complex.


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