Warren Beatty’s Untitled Howard Hughes Pic Finally Takes Flight Financed By Billionaire Boys’ Club; Ehrenreich, Collins To Star In Love Story; Bening And Broderick Also In

Warren-BeattyjpgEXCLUSIVE: It took two decades, but it’s finally getting off the ground thanks to billionaires Ron Burkle and Steve Bing, Windsor Media’s Terry Semel, Arnon Milchan’s New Regency and James Packer’s and Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment. The heavies have come together to finance Warren Beatty’s long-gestating Howard Hughes-based project. The roughly $26.7M production, which Beatty will direct and star in as Hughes, will revolve around Hughes’ assistant (Alden Ehrenreich, Beautiful Creatures) and his love interest (Lily Collins, Mirror, Mirror). New Regency, Beatty and Ratner are producing, with Packer executive producing. Regency will handle foreign through Fox. Bing, BurkleThey’ve already shot a small amount of film on the picture, but it starts rolling in earnest today. Beatty’s wife Annette Bening and Matthew Broderick and other surprises are expected (a la Jack Nicholson, maybe? One can only hope). The focus of the film is the love story of the two younger characters. Read More »

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Edward Norton Will Helm Passion Project ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ With RatPac Funding

By | Thursday February 20, 2014 @ 2:47pm PST
Mike Fleming

ednoEXCLUSIVE: It may have taken him 15 years to get there, but Edward Norton will star in and direct Motherless Brooklyn, his scripted adaptation inspired by the Jonathan Lethem novel. Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Entertainment have stepped up to fully finance the film for a late 2014 production start in New York. Ratner will join Norton and his Class 5 Films’ cohort William Migliore as producers, and Packer will be executive producer with Class 5’s Stuart Blumberg.

motWhile Lethem’s novel is contemporary, Norton has set the story in New York in 1954, a time of great change in the city. He plays Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s syndrome, who tries to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend. Armed only with few clues and an obsessive mind, Lionel slowly unravels closely guarded secrets that have major ramifications. It leads him through Harlem jazz clubs, Brooklyn slums and sets him against thugs and Gotham power brokers to honor his friend and save a woman who might his own salvation.

This will be Norton’s second time behind the camera after he made his debut on Keeping The Faith. He set this up at New Line as the book was published, right after Norton got an Oscar nomination there for his mesmerizing performance in American History X. Norton currently stars in the Wes Anderson-directed The Grand Budapest Hotel, and most recently wrapped the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed comedy Birdman, both for Fox Searchlight. He’s repped by UTA and attorney Robert Offer. Read More »

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TCA: Brett Ratner Makes His Nazi Film For ESPN’s ’30 for 30 Soccer Stories’

By | Saturday January 11, 2014 @ 1:24pm PST

Brett Ratner TCA 30 For 30Brett Ratner came to Winter TV Press Tour 2014 to talk about his ESPN soccer documentary and to remind TV critics the Hercules movie that just opened anemically at the box office is not his Dwayne Johnson-starring Hercules movie.

Ratner is among the directors for ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30 Soccer Stories premiering in April, including a mix of feature length and shorter 30-minute documentaries.

“I honestly feel ESPN is one of the greatest brands” enthused Ratner, who shared the stage with documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney and ESPN Films director of development Libby Geist.

Related: Between ‘Hercules’ Set-Ups, Brett Ratner Becomes Media Mogul With Eye On China

Ratner said he’s been obsessed with the sports network’s  30 for 30 documentary franchise and had been trying to find a way to get involved when someone at his company hit on an idea. “One of my passions and one of the opportunities that I’ve never gotten is to make a film that has Nazis in them. All my contemporaries, from Quentin Tarantino to, you know, obviously Spielberg, and all these guys have made their Nazi film, and I haven’t been able to tackle it yet.” Read More »

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RatPac, Running Press To Publish Ben Mezrich Book ‘Seven Wonders’

By | Tuesday October 29, 2013 @ 7:02am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Press entered into a joint venture to publish Ben Mezrich’s Seven Wonders through Running Press Publishers next spring. Deadline told you back in May that Ratner and Packer set the movie rights at Fox, back when the book was a proposal. It was the first deal Ratner and Packer made since forming their company. Written by Mezrich, whose books helped in form the films The Social Network and 21, weaves the Seven Wonders into an adventure tale they all hoped would lead to a book and movie trilogy, with the latter being produced by Beau Flynn and Ratner. Here’s the official release about the book deal:

Related: New Regency, RatPac To Co-Finance Cameron Crowe’s Sony Film
Read More »

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Between ‘Hercules’ Set-Ups, Brett Ratner Becomes Media Mogul With Eye On China

Mike Fleming

Brett Ratner took a few minutes away from directing Dwayne Johnson in the MGM/Paramount film Hercules: The Thracian Wars to talk about being in the center of a herculean $450 million slate financing deal that RatPac-Dune Entertainment finally closed with Warner Bros. It is an arrangement that will cover as many as 75 of the biggest films made by Warner Bros and New Line for the next few years.

Ratner tells me that this is a straight financing deal, but one that will allow and his RatPac-Dune partners James Packer and Steven Mnuchin to build library assets. It is just one piece of what could become a very interesting puzzle. Ratner said that Packer, son of the late media mogul Kerry Packer, got out of the media holdings that were his father’s preoccupation and instead has put his money in a number of ventures that include casinos in Macau. That whetted his appetite for investing in China’s fast-growing film business.

Related: China’s Wanda & Hollywood: How Much Is Real?

“Part of our strategy will be to expand into China, to co-finance Chinese movies and films that not only work around the world but Asia in particular,” Rather told me. “We are already developing some movies we feel will work in the Asian market.” Read More »

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Warner Bros Sets RatPac-Dune To Co-Finance Slates After Legendary Exit

Mike Fleming

As Deadline reported in the summer, Warner Bros Pictures has found its replacement to fill the void left when Thomas Tull moved Legendary Pictures down the road to Universal. RatPac-Dune Entertainment has made a multi-year agreement to co-finance as many as 75 upcoming titles at up to $450 million. The announcement was made today by Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara and by Steven Mnuchin, Brett Ratner and James Packer of RatPac-Dune Entertainment, the film finance vehicle formed by Mnuchin and RatPac Entertainment to co-finance the Warner Bros Pictures slate.

Related:
RatPac Could Be Lead Funder With Dune In Warner Bros Slate Deal
Oz Billionaire James Packer Partners With Brett Ratner On RatPac

The co-fi deal starts with the October 4 release Gravity, and the December 25 release Grudge Match. The studio laid off risk in the past with Village Roadshow Pictures and Legendary.

“We are very pleased to be entering into this relationship with RatPac-Dune Entertainment,” said Tsujihara. “This agreement gives us increased strength and flexibility in the motion picture division and an even greater ability to manage risk as we continue to produce high-quality filmed entertainment for the global audience. We look forward to working with their team as we move forward in this exciting new partnership with a truly great organization.” Read More »

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WME Signs Director-Producer Brett Ratner

By | Wednesday May 29, 2013 @ 6:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: WME has just signed Brett Ratner, the director and producer. This comes at a time when Ratner is getting ready to direct Hercules, which stars Dwayne Johnson, and he’s also been very active in producing such projects … Read More »

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Brett Ratner Donates $1 Million To Academy Museum

By | Wednesday May 29, 2013 @ 12:35pm PDT

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced that director Brett Ratner is donating $1 million to the Academy Museum. Ratner is no stranger to the Academy. You’ll recall that he stepped down as Oscar producer two years ago after outcries over an anti-gay slur he uttered … Read More »

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Fox Buys Ben Mezrich’s ‘Seven Wonders’ Book; Brett Ratner, Beau Flynn Producing

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox is making a deal for Seven Wonders, a book proposal about the seven wonders of the world that is being eyed as a summer action/adventure film. They hope it will span a … Read More »

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‘Smash’, ‘Amazing Race’, Anderson Cooper, Brett Ratner Honored At GLAAD Awards

By | Saturday March 16, 2013 @ 10:45pm PDT

NBC’s Smash and CBS’ The Amazing Race were honored tonight at the 24th GLAAD Media Awards in New York City.  Smash was named best drama series and Amazing Race took the nod for best reality series. How To Survive A Plague, a film chronicling the rise of activism in the early years of AIDS, was named best documentary.

Dressed as a Boy Scout, Madonna presented the previously announced Vito Russo Award to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Russo, who died in 1990, was a film historian who voiced concerns about how gays and lesbians are portrayed in the media. Movie director Brett Ratner received GLAAD’s inaugural Ally Award. The award for Ratner represented a turnaround from a little over a year ago when he dropped out as producer of last year’s Academy Awards after joking at an early press conference that “rehearsing is for fags”. Ratner since worked with the group to produce a public service campaign, GLAAD Coming Out For Equality.

A list of last night’s awards follows. Read More »

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Brett Ratner Revs Roman Polanski Racing Docu ‘Weekend Of A Champion’ For Netflix

By | Thursday February 28, 2013 @ 4:11pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Movies periodically get fixated on auto racing, like the great documentary Senna and the upcoming Ron Howard-directed Rush. Now we’ll find out how a barely seen documentary shot by Roman Polanski can do, one shot back when he and his cameras were granted the kind of access to the track in Monaco that you just couldn’t buy today. And the way Polanski shot it, you can tell in just a few seconds that if the average person tried driving that course, you’d need to call your insurance agent by the first hairpin turn.

Rat Documentary Films, Brett Ratner‘s documentary film arm, has acquired the North American rights to Weekend Of A Champion, Polanski’s 1971 portrait of the legendary Formula 1 race car driving Champion Jackie Stewart on the weekend of his victory at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. This is a film that was shot while Polanski was at his peak, and it has never been released in the United States. This becomes the first in a 12-picture deal that Rat Documentary Films has with Netflix; his objective is to produce or acquire cool feature documentaries. Here, Ratner and Polanski began talking about this deal and Polanski recalled with fondness the experience of shooting with Stewart. I’ve seen footage and it is pretty compelling stuff. Read More »

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Brett Ratner Boards ‘FarmVille’ Animated Series

By | Thursday February 7, 2013 @ 11:04am PST

Brett Ratner has joined with Six Eleven Media to produce a TV version of the successful online game FarmVille. The Hercules director and the Canadian production company aim to make a half hour animated series … Read More »

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Paramount Dates ‘Hercules’ August 8, 2014

By | Wednesday January 16, 2013 @ 5:50pm PST

Paramount‘s Brett Ratner-directed Hercules, starring Dwayne Johnson as the legendary strongman, will hit theaters August 8, 2014, a week after Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy is slated to bow. Hercules is an adaptation of the 2008 Radical … Read More »

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High-Concept FBI Drama From Brett Ratner, Barry Schindel & Georgeville Lands At ABC

By | Monday January 7, 2013 @ 2:53pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Feature director Brett Ratner and Law & Order veteran Barry Schindel have teamed for Tomorrow, a drama project at ABC financed by Reliance’s Georgeville Television, the independent TV studio formed last spring by Motion Picture Capital’s Leon Clarance and Deepak Nayar and producer Marc Rosen.

Like all Georgeville projects, Tomorrow, now in development, has a script-to-series commitment, meaning that if ABC likes the script it would trigger a 13-episode series order. Created and written by Katherine Lindberg and Ted Cyr, Tomorrow is a high-concept law enforcement procedural about an FBI agent who gets trapped in a time travel scenario. Ratner, who is set to direct, and Schindel, who serves as showrunner, executive produce with Lindberg, Cyr and Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar and Nicole Romano. Read More »

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Oz Billionaire James Packer Partners With Brett Ratner On RatPac Entertainment

By | Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 1:35pm PST

James Packer Partners With Brett RatnerAustralian media scion James Packer is getting into the Brett Ratner business. The billionaire will personally back film development, production and finance company, RatPac Entertainment. Ratner and Packer are … Read More »

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Paramount & MGM Team Up For ‘Hercules’; Dwayne Johnson To Star, Brett Ratner To Direct

By | Wednesday November 7, 2012 @ 2:37pm PST

Dwayne Johnson really will play the classic strongman Hercules onscreen. The Brett Ratner-directed Hercules action film will be co-produced by Paramount and MGM, the companies announced today. Johnson and Ratner’s names have been attached to the project … Read More »

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Brett Ratner Backing ‘Flamingo Kid’ Remake At Disney

By | Wednesday September 19, 2012 @ 3:46pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Walt Disney Pictures has set up a remake of the 1984 film The Flamingo Kid, and it will be produced by Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment and Michael Phillips’ Lighthouse Productions. Nzingha Stewart, who has directed videos … Read More »

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Warren Beatty, Mary J. Blige And MPTF Help The Beverly Hills Hotel Celebrate 100th Anniversary

By | Sunday June 17, 2012 @ 2:07am PDT
Pete Hammond

Birthday wishes are in store for the famous Beverly Hills Hotel celebrating its centennial this year and kicking it off with a two-day affair, just ended at the famous Los Angeles landmark. With all proceeds benefitting the Motion Picture & Television Fund (which also holds a major fundraiser ahead of the Oscars called The Night Before) high-rollers were treated on Friday to comedy and jazz by the pool hosted by Bill Cosby and Saturday night to cocktails, dinner and a mini-concert by Mary J. Blige who said it was her favorite hotel, where she married the love of her life. She definitely had the Crystal room rocking.

Earlier in the evening MPTF founding Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg welcomed guests including one of the evening’s hosts Brett Ratner, and the main attraction for many in the room, Warren Beatty who serves on the MPTF board. “Somehow or another this place is the center of the universe. There’s no one in this room who knows this hotel better than Warren Beatty. I mean no one,” he said to laughs as Beatty took the stage to lead a toast. Read More »

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Universal Hires New Scribes For ‘Midnight Run 2,’ And Brett Ratner Will Direct It

By | Wednesday March 21, 2012 @ 2:29pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is picking up steam on Midnight Run 2, setting scribes David Elliot & Paul Lovett to rewrite it, and negotiating with Brett Ratner to helm a sequel that has Robert De Niro attached to reprise his role … Read More »

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