Former Tri-Star prexy David Matalon, most recently exec v.p. of Columbia Pictures Entertainment, has vacated his post and signed a first-look independent production deal with Tri-Star.

Occupying temporary offices at Andy Vajna’s Cinergi Prods., Matalon is laying the foundation for a new production company that he says could involve a distribution deal with Tri-Star.

Matalon is negotiating with potential partners and studios in addition to Tri-Star.

His company, he said, would resemble Cinergi in that it would produce a minimal number of star-driven films a year, which, according to Matalon “would not necessarily have megabudgets but would not be low-budget either.” He said funding would be derived from a combination of independent sources and a studio.

Matalon’s Tri-Star settlement contract includes his continued involvement in “Hudson Hawk,” the Bruce Willis-starrer due this summer. Matalon said that under a separate agreement, he is negotiating involvement in two productions he spearheaded at Tri- Star.

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