Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers behind Koch Industries, are infamous for their enthusiastic funding of various right-wing politicians and causes. But a recent story in The Hollywood Reporter indicates that they’ve been secretly investing in a surprising product, given their allegiance to conservative culture: Mainstream Hollywood blockbusters, specifically those put out by Warner Bros.
The most surprising title to be produced with partial Koch bankrolling is probably Patty Jenkins’ recent DC Comics smash hit Wonder Woman, embraced by many for its liberal-leaning, feminist subtext, but the brothers are reportedly also secret investors in other current big-budget Hollywood projects, like Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.
How did the Koch brothers come to be investors in such a varied slate of big-budget movies? It wasn’t for love of cinema, as a quoted source reported to be familiar with the deal made clear:
“They’re in it to make money. They’re not in it for the recognition.”
“It” in this case is a significant stake in RatPac-Dune Entertainment, said to be worth tens of millions of dollars. RatPac-Dune co-founder Steven Mnuchin – now Treasury Secretary for the United States – brought in the brothers as part of a total $450 million deal that was finalized four years ago (since RatPac-Dune is a private company, the Kochs’ involvement wasn’t required to be disclosed). Bill Gates was reportedly another investor in that deal, and as a result has a stake in the same films that the Koch brothers reportedly have. And a spokesman for Koch Industries has denied the brothers’ involvement in RatPac-Dune:
“Charles Koch, David Koch and Koch Industries do not have any involvement with this investment.”
Anybody with an internet connection can see Mnuchin’s list of executive producer credits, but the Koch brothers, as well as other silent RatPac-Dune investors, are clearly not interested in any onscreen – or off-screen – credit.