The shocking allegations made against Brett Ratner has direct impact on Warner Bros, where Ratner is partners with producer/financier in the WB slate co-financier RatPac, which essentially puts up 25% of all of the studio’s pictures, excepting Harry Potter and some others. Per a Warner Bros spokesman: “We are aware of the allegations in the LA Times and are reviewing the situation.”
Through his attorney Martin Singer, Ratner denied or disputed all the allegations made by six actresses including Species star Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn.
From a business side, the potential stakes are high, as studios have been quick to distance themselves from the growing list of bad boys being outed in press reports since the revelation of sexually predatory behavior by Harvey Weinstein. It stands to reason that Warner Bros will scrutinize this closely: the corporation is in the midst of an acquisition by AT&T. The transaction has been the subject of scrutiny by the Trump Administration, which has no affinity for Hollywood even though current Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin put together the original RatPac Dune co-fi deal along with Ratner and James Packer. The scurrilous details about Ratner, a fulcrum for the investment in the majority of the studio’s global tent pole pictures, cannot have come at a worse time.
The studio was the only major to respond to an Associated Press request for a comprehensive statement in the of the Weinstein scandal. Per the AP report on Oct. 16: “Warner Bros says harassment and retaliation are not tolerated on its projects and that policies are constantly being reviewed to make improvements and changes as needed Warner Bros also requires management level executives to participate in regular training and encourages all employees to report concerns regarding harassment and retaliation.”
Ratner isn’t technically a studio employee, but plays a substantial role in how its biggest movies get financed. Since 2013, RatPac and Dune Entertainment have been staking Warner Bros pictures (the goal of the deal was to encompass 75 films, and the films so far have included Gravity, The LEGO Movie, Annabelle, American Sniper, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, The Conjuring 2, Lights Out, Suicide Squad, The LEGO Batman Movie, Kong: Skull Island, Wonder Woman, Justice League and It.
While Ratner started RatPac with Packer, the latter exited after a bad run at Warner Bros, and was replaced by Len Blavatnik. RatPac also partnered with New Regency on films that include Oscar Best Picture winner Birdman and The Revenant.
As a director, Ratner has helmed the Rush Hour trilogy, and has been trying to pull together a fourth film with stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. New Line has been in discussions with black-ish creator Kenya Barris, sources said, on the fourth film. While promoting his latest film, Chan said on ESPN that he wants to do the film, but is trying to coax his ever elusive partner, Tucker, into returning for a fourth effort.
Ratner is also in development on a movie about Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, with Jared Leto reportedly circling the title role.
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