Who is James Packer? He’s an Australian businessman who’s the son of late media tycoon Kerry Packer, he’s the guy who just sold Consolidated Media Holdings to News Corp for $2.1 billion, and he’s the guy who’s teaming up with Brett Ratner to put the infamous director in charge of his own production company. According to Deadline, the duo are teaming up to create RatPac Entertainment, an entity that’s looking to produce and finance independent films as well as co-finance big blockbusters through partnerships with the larger studios.

Not yet is much known about the fledgling company’s immediate plans, but it’s said that they’re already set up as a co-financier on two unnamed projects, and Ratner says of the new venture,“We intend to build a major independent film company which not only has the ability to fully finance its films, but which also offers creative independence for its filmmakers.”

Traditionally, Ratner gets a bad name in the film media because he’s made a few unfortunate comments in public interviews and he’s largely thought of as being the sort of journeyman director who’s brought onto films to toe the line and protect corporate interests; so it’s likely that the idea of him heading up his own production company is going to take a lot of flack. But, really, does it sound like that bad of an idea when you think about it?

Even though he’s best known as a director, Ratner already has quite a few producer credits on his resume. And his reputation for making things that are almost cynically commercial and that get delivered on time and under budget could actually serve him pretty well in the role of company head. Put him in a leadership role that’s more about logistics and less about the creative aspect of filmmaking, and he might become quite the positive force in the film world.

If Ratner’s above quote can be taken at face value, the idea of him finding creative young voices and putting them in situations where they will be most likely to succeed could be a really good one. Who better to allocate budgets and set schedules and then step back and let a creative type go to work? Now if he can just keep this new company out of hot water by not saying anything super-offensive in public, he might be on the way to rebuilding his image. He’s at least got to be more likable than Harvey Weinstein, right?


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