Lights, camera, action for Packer deal

James Packer's long-mooted foray into the film business has become reality, with Hollywood studio Warner Bros Pictures announcing it has signed a "multi-year" deal to make as many as 75 movies with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, the company the casino boss founded last December with Hollywood producer-director Brett Ratner and Steven Mnuchin, of private investment firm Dune Capital Management.

James Packer's long-mooted foray into the film business has become reality, with Hollywood studio Warner Bros Pictures announcing it has signed a "multi-year" deal to make as many as 75 movies with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, the company the casino boss founded last December with Hollywood producer-director Brett Ratner and Steven Mnuchin, of private investment firm Dune Capital Management.

According to a Warners press release, the deal covers co-financing on upcoming releases Gravity - starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, and opening in Australia this week - and Grudge Match, a comedy featuring Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone. It is slated to open in Australia on January 30.

Warners did not put a value on the deal, but Hollywood trade papers report it as being worth about $450 million in financing. The deal gives RatPac a stake in "films from all genres and all budgets, including studio tentpole releases based on iconic franchises".

Warner Bros owns the DC Comics brands, which includes Batman, Superman, the Justice League and Wonder Woman.

Warners also owns the Harry Potter franchise. Author J.K. Rowling recently announced that she was writing a screenplay for a film based on her 2001 book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a textbook that features in the fictional Potter universe. Warner Bros will produce the film.

Mr Packer's personal wealth was put at $6 billion by BRW in May, and he has long counted Hollywood royalty, such as actors Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe, among his closest friends.

Ratner, 44, is the producer of the Snow White reboot Mirror Mirror, the indie flick Catfish and the comedy hit Horrible Bosses. He is also the director of the three Rush Hour films and X-Men: The Last Stand, based on the Marvel comics.

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