Warner Bros. and Dune Entertainment are in talks about Dune financing much of the studio's film slate over the next few years, with reports pegging the deal over $400 million, three individuals with knowledge of the talks tell TheWrap.
RatPac Entertainment, the company led by director Brett Ratner and Australian billionaire James Packer, would be involved in the deal as well.
Dune was a longtime co-financier at Fox, where it invested in almost all the studio's films, contributing to everything from "X-Men" movies to romantic comedies and horror films. Dune would enter a similar passive slate deal with Warner Bros., financing an untold number of films but not selecting which titles it would finance.
The deal makes a great deal of sense given that Warner Bros. is on the eve of losing its co-financing partnership with Legendary Entertainment, which helped pay for and produce films such as "Man of Steel" and "The Hangover." Legendary is imminently moving on to another partner, likely Universal, as TheWrap first reported.
Reports have pegged Dune's financing at anywhere from $400 to $550 million, yet all the sources insisted any talk of numbers was premature. One individual said the deal would have already closed if it was truly going to happen, and that Tuesday's report reeked of someone trying to buy time to close the deal.
Warner Bros., Dune and Bank of America have been talking for at least six months, and the Dune team, led by Steve Mnuchin, has had a hard time locking in the requisite equity.
The intial deal was to have included "Man of Steel." Now that the film has opened in theaters, that part of the deal, which would have been beneficial to Dune, is off the table.
Warner Bros. already has another co-financier in Village Roadshow, a partner of more than 15 years that received a massive injection of new capital last year. However, Warner Bros. "is always interested in adding a co-financing partner," as another individual with knowledge of the studio's plans put it.