Wall Street may be ready to show Tom Cruise the money.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.'s long dormant United Artists movie unit , which Cruise and his producing partner are attempting to resuscitate , is close to raising about $500 million to finance a slate of movies over the next few years.

The money would pay the cost of making prints of the films and advertising them, as well as the cost of making them.

People close to the talks cautioned that the deal with expected lead investment bank Merrill Lynch wasn't final, and that terms were still being negotiated. They said an agreement could take an additional 10 days to two weeks to complete.

"We expect to announce full funding for UA shortly," MGM Chairman Harry Sloan said in an interview. He declined to elaborate.

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