Metromedia Picks Up MPCA

John Kluge’s Metromedia Intl. Group is set to buy indie film company Motion Picture Corp. of America in a stock-and-cash deal worth $32.5 million.

The move is intended to jumpstart Orion Pictures, which recently emerged from Chapter 11 and combined with Metromedia, but still is low on production capability.

In effect, the deal makes 9year-old MPCA, the production company-for-hire headed by Brad Krevoy and Steve Stabler, the new Orion. “We hope to be restoring Orion to its position of prominence and preeminence,” Stabler told Variety.

That does not mean that the producing duo responsible for New Line’s “Dumb and Dumber” will be supplying Orion with another “Silence of the Lambs.” A freshly inked three-year, first-look pact between MPCA and Paramount remains intact, aimed at higher-budgeted movies. The arrangement with Orion will focus on 10 to 15 low-budget pics per year.

In a statement, Kluge said, “MPCA will provide some additional motion picture product for our pipeline for release over Orion’s existing distribution network, as well as enhance the value of our film library.”

MPCA has a 40-picture library of mainly direct-to-video pics, with existing licensing agreements that eventually will revert to Orion. MPCA currently is producing “The War at Home,” starring Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen; “Beverly Hills Ninja,” starring Chris Farley; and “Kingpin,” starring Woody Harrelson and Bill Murray. Coutts & Co. recently granted MPCA a $25 million revolving credit line.

MPCA will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Orion, with all revenues from future MPCA projects produced for Orion as well as past projects, including future “Dumb and Dumber” payments, going to boost Orion’s cash flow. Company insiders confirm that Krevoy and Stabler will report to Orion president and CEO Len White.

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