UPDATE, 1:45 PM: More details are emerging on this possible deal. We’re hearing that RatPac Entertainment, the tie-up of producer-director Brett Ratner and Australian media tycoon James Packer, would be the majority partner in the possible Warner Bros’ slate financing deal that involves Dune Entertainment. We’re told RatPac would contribute 75% to whatever the final total might be should such a deal be struck. Ratner and Packer launched RatPac in December looking to produce and finance independent films and co-finance “blockbusters” with studio partners. Packer is personally backing the film development, production and finance company. “We intend to build a major independent film company which not only has the ability to fully finance its films, but which also offers creative independence for its filmmakers,” Ratner said at the time. We’re also hearing negotiations are moving quickly on the Warners-Dune-RatPac front, and a deal could be announced in two weeks.
PREVIOUS, 12:11 PM: Deadline’s Nikki Finke had already reported that if Legendary Entertainment‘s Thomas Tull did not strike a deal to remain at Warner Bros, the studio would either rely more on its straight financing partner Village Roadshow — or it could take on a slate deal like the one Dune Entertainment had at Fox. Well now it seems that an actual Dune option has moved up on the menu: According to sources, the studio is engaged in negotiations on a big financing deal with Dune, the Hollywood financier arm of NY-based Dune Capital. In talks that have been ongoing since early summer that have included Bank Of America, the sources say, the prospective deal would inject more than $450 million in slate financing into Warners’ coffers. Still, don’t expect the pens to come out anytime soon on this one: “No deal is about to close — nothing is imminent”, the sources said. Dune’s agreement with Fox called for 25% of every pic for the studio and created massive profits for all involved when Avatar broke through in 2009 to become the highest-grossing film of all time.
As we reported exclusively over the weekend, WB might be wanting to get this news out there because Legendary is nearing a deal to move to NBCUniversal for a new film/television financial, distribution, marketing, and production partnership after kicking tires all over Hollywood. We’re hearing that deal could be announced “within 24 hours”. That would formalize the split between Tull and Warner Bros just before their latest tentpole co-production, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, opens wide here Friday, and about a week before Legendary is set to appear as part of Warners’ Comic-Con Hall H block to promote upcoming pics Godzilla and Seventh Son. DEVELOPING