Warner Bros. Pictures has renewed its movie finance deal with longtime partner Village Roadshow Pictures. It was confirmed on Monday, November 26 that the Burbank studio had extended the business deal with the company it worked with since 1997 through the end of 2017. The previous contract had been set to expire in 2014.
Per L.A. Times, Village Roadshow has secured debt financing of more than $1.1 billion to invest in such upcoming films as "The Great Gatsby", "Lego: The Piece of Resistance" and "Mad Max: Fury Road". The company's Chairman Bruce Berman said of the renewed deal, "This gives us the certainty we want and lets Warner Bros. know that over the next five years, its largest partners will remain at home."
Under the renewed deal, Village Roadshow decided to increase the amount of money to finance movies from $1 billion to $1.125 billion. According to Village Roadshow's Chief Executive Greg Basser, with the new financial agreement, the company was also able to significantly reduce the cost of its debt.
WB and Village Roadshow's deal extension marks the highest profile business deal that the Burbank studio sealed amid speculations on who's going to replace Barry Meyer as its leader in 2013. The tension inside the studio, in which its senior executives are racing to win the coveted job, had made it difficult for the studio to seal some business contracts recently.
While Warners decided to extend its contract with Village Roadshow, insiders told L.A. Times that the studio would likely not renew its deal with its other financing partner, Legendary Pictures, until the executive succession process is resolved.
After closing the new deal, Village Roadshow plans to invest in six to eight movies a year for Warner Bros. Among the upcoming films the company is financing are Tom Cruise's "All You Need Is Kill" and Ryan Gosling's "Gangster Squad".