James Packer’s Hollywood “rat pack” soaks up booze and cash

James Packer’s Hollywood “rat pack” soaks up booze and cash, By John Lehmann - Editor At Large - 7th February 2015


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Budding movie mogul James Packer admits plenty of booze and heaps of cash went into creating his own Hollywood “rat pack”.

The billionaire casino boss is now firmly entrenched in Los Angeles’ ultra-cool set, as evidenced by this slick portrait released this week, showing him arm-in-arm with the biggest names in town.

Along with his move-making partner Brett Ratner, Mr Packer now counts A-listers Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt among his buddies in Tinseltown.

Giant electronic screens flashing with images of the Hollywood stars greeted partygoers attending the glitzy opening this week of Mr Packer’s latest Asian casino resort, the $1.7 billion City of Dreams in Manila.

Mr Packer flew several Australian media organisations, including The Daily Telegraph, to Manila to show off the property, built with his Macau partner Lawrence Ho.

Ready for the close up? with the super stars. L to R: Brad Pitt, Brett Ratner, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, James Packer and Leonardo De Caprio

A one-minute trailer was also shown for a specially commissioned 15-minute film starring De Niro and DiCaprio, which is rumoured to have cost $70 million.

Asked how he got into the movie game, Mr Packer said: “Too much alcohol and a lot of money.”

Mr Packer would no doubt love to bring his “rat pack” to Sydney one day for the opening of his $2 billion high rollers casino resort at Barangaroo.

But he will have to wait: his Crown casino boss Rowen Craigie admitted the planned November 2019 opening will be delayed due to a multimillion-dollar dispute between developer Lend Lease and the government-appointed Barangaroo Delivery Authority.

“For NSW and for Sydney I think that is an embarrassment,’’ a frustrated Mr Packer said.

(The Daily Telegraph)