Matthew Garrahan and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson over at The Financial Times report Steven Spielberg is on the verge of completing an $825m financing for the new birth of DreamWorks Pictures, nine months after he began looking for capital in the worst funding market in Hollywood’s recent history.
Word is the much talked about deal between Spielberg and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group is coming together to the sum of $325 million, but only should Spielberg and his production partner, Stacey Snider raise an equivalent sum in debt, which appears to be coming together.
The new DreamWorks will have $825 million of funding, with $325 million coming from Reliance and $325 million in debt from mostly US banks. The remainder will come from Walt Disney, which is providing $175 million of mezzanine finance from a detail secured back in February.
The deal Spielberg has worked out allows Disney to recoup its investment as films are released, but there is no telling what that first film will be as he is currently directing an adaptation of the “Tintin” books for Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures. The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn is set to be released on December 23, 2011 with Peter Jackson already set to direct a sequel.
As far as Spielberg’s slate is concerned there has always been talk of the long gestating Abraham Lincoln biopic with Liam Neeson attached to star and lately there has been talk of a Spielberg and Will Smith collaboration for a remake of Oldboy, but I wouldn’t expect either film to be part of the Disney partnership as they have already been set up elsewhere. Of course, Spielberg doesn’t have to direct the feature so I am sure DreamWorks would begin looking at several projects once financing is secured.
However, I am sure once the deal is secure Spielberg will breathe much easier as raising money in these economic times can’t be easy.