Stars Come Out For Orbis

Orbis Communications is launching a new 12-title cash movie package called “The Star Performers” into syndication this week. Eleven of the titles are original movies-of-the-week made for HBO.

Titles include “The Josephine Baker Story” (which recently brought HBO one of its highest audiences ever) and “Shattered Dreams,” a Carolco telepic for CBS with Lindsay Wagner and Michael Nouri.

Orbis has a three-year exclusive deal to distribute HBO’s movie projects into syndication.

“All the titles, from ‘The Image’ to ‘The James Brady Story,’ have early avails and feature strong theatrical talent,” says Hilary Hendler, exec v.p./sales and marketing for Qrbis Communications.

Talent includes Albert Finney, Marsha Mason, Jeff Goldblum, Beau Bridges, Armand Assante and Swoosie Kurtz.

The package’s first station clearance is the Times Mirror ABC affil in St. Louis, KTVI-TV. Hendler says she expects a number of affils to be interested. “For an affil to preempt its network once-a-month in primetime to run an MOW means it could bring some $3 million more into the station. That’s part of our pitch,” she says.

Made-fors, she notes, cost stations about half what they would pay for a theatrical film in syndication.

The deal comes on the heels of a one in which Orbis’ firstrun game, “The $100,000 Pyramid” and “Joker’s Wild,” and upcoming Carolco tv movies, were sold to Multimedia Entertainment for about $10 million.

Hendler says Orbis will concentrate on sales of Carolco film packages and “The Star Performers” package.

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