Billionaire James Packer And Producer Brett Ratner Are Betting On Hollywood Being 'So Similar' To The Casino Business

Brett Ratner Jackie Chan Chris TuckerEthan Miller/Getty‘Rush Hour’ director Brett Ratner formed RatPac Entertainment with Australian casino billionaire, James Packer. He says, ‘The casino business and the movie business are so similar. What you’re selling is an experience.’

After the massive success of “Gravity,” director/producer Brett Ratner will rake in $US40 million from the film thanks to his new production company, RatPac Entertainment, with Australian billionaire James Packer.

In September, Ratner — who directed the “Rush Hour” franchise —

closed a $US450 million financing deal with Warner Bros. to fund up to 75 upcoming films. “Gravity” was the first title covered by the new, four-year partnership.

While Ratner remains behind-the-scenes in the new deal and won’t have any creative control, it’s a move he has said he “fully supports.”

For Australian billionaire James Packer — a former polo player who inherited a $US5 billion fortune when his father, businessman Kerry Packer, died in 2005 — the new venture into Hollywood isn’t that different from his casino business.

“The casino business and the movie business are so similar,” Ratner tells Forbes in a new interview. “What you’re selling is an experience. You’re selling adrenaline.”

James Packer ForbesForbesCasino billionaire James Packer believes the future of film is in China.

While Packer’s worldwide casino business remains his primary focus — and the reason his fortune is up by nearly $US2 billion in two years (in no small part thanks to booming business in Macau) — RatPac, formed in December 2012, is “not just a rich man’s dabble in a glamorous industry,” as Forbes states.

Packer’s Melco Crown company already dabbles in the entertainment industry, holding “a 60% stake in a third Macau casino project, the $US2 billion Studio City on the Cotai Strip, due to open in mid-2015 with a movies theme (and with obvious potential tie-ins to Packer and Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment),” reports Forbes.

After the success of “Gravity,” RatPac is now expanding into television, book publishing, and documentaries — specifically in China, India, and other parts of Asia.

“The thing that was at the center of our thinking all along is the rise of China,” says Packer, who is reportedly dating model Miranda Kerr. “I think ten years from now a bunch of studios will say, ‘Why didn’t we do more in China?'”

Next up, RatPac will publish the new book from author Ben Mezrich, who also wrote “Bringing Down the House” and “The Accidental Billionaires” on the founding of Facebook.

While RatPac’s early success has hardly been accidental, Ratner does say their financing of films could top $US1 billion, if things continue to go well.

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