EXCLUSIVE: Already teamed with Dune’s Steven Mnuchin on a $450 million deal to co-finance the entire slate of Warner Bros films, RatPac Entertainment partners Brett Ratner and James Packer have made a deal with the studio to develop, produce and co-finance films at Warner Bros. They will take space on the Warner lot. Where do you put RatPac on that crowded lot? Where else but the headquarters that once belonged to Francis Albert Sinatra himself.
“The offices Frank Sinatra had are the coolest ones ever,” Ratner told me. “As guys who love movie history, James and I appreciate it. Sinatra was there, Joel Silver had them, and Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Dustin Hoffman had them in the First Artists days. And Steven Spielberg had them too. First thing we’re doing is blowing up a picture of Sinatra, in front of that building.”
You can forgive Ratner for being a bit giddy, but RatPac’s abrupt importance to the film fortunes of Warner Bros is pretty astonishing. He has managed to keep his directing career going (he’s got Dwayne Johnson with the MGM/Paramount pic Hercules), and the first film in the RatPac-Dune slate deal was Gravity, which grossed $716 million worldwide and dropped a big fat windfall on the RatPac Dune venture right out of the gate.
The slate financing investment is a passive venture, but since joining up as partners, Ratner and Packer have been dropping coin all over town on movies and racking up exec producing credits. They partnered with New Regency on Brad Pitt’s Plan B first-look deal, and are co-financing with New Regency the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed The Revenant, to which Leonardo DiCaprio committed to star in this fall, the untitled upcoming Cameron Crowe-directed film that stars Bradley Cooper, and others including the Doug Liman-directed Splinter Cell with Tom Hardy and the Michael Fassbender-starrer Assassin’s Creed. RatPac also financed Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, The Water Diviner, and they are publishing Ben Mezrich’s Seven Wonders through their RatPac Press, and making the movie adaptation at Fox. They are also financing the Edward Norton-directed adaptation of Motherless Brooklyn and are among the financiers of Warren Beatty’s Howard Hughes pic. They also just bought an LA Magazine article on Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig’s harrowing escape from Cuba for a movie, though they haven’t set it up yet and Puig hasn’t sold his life rights yet.
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They’ve already got several projects at Warner Bros that include Horrible Bosses 2, the sequel to the profitable New Line pic. They just made a deal to produce an adaptation of Missing You, the new bestselling mystery by Harlan Coben. They also have a Macau-set heist project that has Tom Gormican directing and Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller circling.
The original intention wasn’t for RatPac to base itself at Warner Bros, but Ratner said it just made sense.
“Warners is our home now, we are vested in Warner Bros being successful and it’s in our best interests to help each other,” Ratner told me. “There is a natural synergy there, a tradition of longevity and how well they treat talent, and it where we want to be. The arrangement with Kevin Tsujihara and Greg Silverman is fluid, and Greg has similar sensibilities to us. If they want to buy a property or want us to, we will develop it.” Their exec team, headed up by John Cheng and Agustine Calderon, will move on the lot shortly.
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