Legendary Sets $800 Million Credit Facility With J.P. Morgan

The studio behind “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Dune” notched a five-year credit line with the world’s largest bank

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

Legendary Entertainment, the Burbank-based production company behind the recent MonsterVerse films, “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” and the two-part “Dune” adaptation, has secured a five-year, $800 million credit facility led by J.P. Morgan. The new facility will replace the studio’s existing credit line.

“We are pleased to extend our relationship with J.P. Morgan as we continue to grow our global film and TV pipeline and monetize our IP across multiple platforms,” CEO Joshua Grode stated Tuesday. “The success of our film and television productions from our creative team led by [Vice Chair Worldwide Production] Mary Parent reflects our intentional strategy of creating compelling content that resonates with audiences around the world.”

“Through ongoing commercial success, Legendary has built a premier Company and has positioned itself as a true market leader,” David Shaheen said. The Head of Entertainment Industries for J.P. Morgan’s Corporate Client Banking Group continued, saying, “We are very pleased to have executed a highly successful transaction with broad support from the entertainment banking community.”

The move is seen as a testament to the strength of Legendary’s balance sheet, IP and overall performance while showing that a major bank is still willing to back a respectable studio.

Legendary had previously closed a $760 million equity investment from Apollo Private Equity Funds in January 2022. Legendary has released a handful of major projects since coming under new management in 2018, including the first “Dune,” which grossed $402 million, and “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which grossed $470 million, both in 2021.

Legendary tried to sell the latter MonsterVerse sequel to Netflix for $200-$225 million before their co-financier Warner Bros. blocked the deal, eventually bought their share and released it globally. Elsewhere, Legendary’s Millie Bobby Brown-starring “Enola Holmes” was intended as a theatrical release prior to the COVID pandemic, instead becoming a sequel-spawning Netflix smash in the summer of 2020.

Coming up, the studio has “Dune Part II” on tap for Warner Bros. later this year as well as new installments in their MonsterVerse franchise and the “Detective Pikachu” series. Both franchises had their respective films released theatrically in most markets by Warner Bros. “The Machine” is also due theatrically on May 23 from Screen Gems, while they just bought the adaptation rights to the “Street Fighter” video game with a new feature film in the very earliest stages of development.

Legendary, in terms of film production, worked with Warner Bros. from 2005 to 2013, where they co-financed the likes of “300,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Hangover” and “Pacific Rim.” They joined up with Universal from 2013 until 2018, but the deal ended partially due to China-targeted financial whiffs like “Warcraft,” “Skyscraper” and “The Great Wall.”

Meanwhile, they were outright purchased by Wanda Group for $3.5 billion in 2016, becoming the largest American company owned by a Chinese entity. They reunited with WB until 2022 when they allowed the deal to lapse and are currently in league with Sony, save for already-established franchises associated with other studios.

Among the films reportedly in development by Legendary for Sony are a remake of “The Toxic Avenger,” a long-gestating “Duke Nuke-Em” adaptation, Jeymes Samuel’s follow-up to Netflix’s “The Harder They Fall” and an original religious epic “The Book of Clarence.” In aggregate, Legendary’s theatrical releases have earned nearly $20 billion at the global box office.