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Mancuso Jr., MGM plan to part company

Producer's pact doesn't sit well with Lion

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is expected to announce today that it is terminating its production deal with Frank Mancuso Jr., producer of the studio’s upcoming “Stigmata.”

Mancuso, the son of former MGM chairman Frank Mancuso, had more than three years left on the exclusive pact that his FGM Entertainment banner signed with the Lion in January 1998.

Frank Jr.’s deal appears to have become incompatible with the new management philosophy at the Lion. Chairman Alex Yemenidjian and vice chairman Chris McGurk took over the running of MGM in May.

New direction

“Although Frank Mancuso Jr. offered valuable support to previous management, MGM’s new strategic plan follows another direction. We thank Frank for his contribution to MGM over the years and wish him well in the future,” McGurk said.

According to an SEC filing on June 2, MGM was paying FGM $400,000 in overhead per year, subject to increases of between 5% and 10% each year, through July 2002. For the year ending Dec. 31, 1998, Mancuso’s fees, participations and royalties totaled $2.4 million, the filing said.

In an interesting twist to the termination arrangements, Mancuso will buy back his latest production from the Lion, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” currently in post-production and skedded for a Feb. 25 release next year.

Shopping spree

Once his extraction is complete, Mancuso will be free to shop the teen drama, helmed by Zoe Clark-Williams and starring Dominique Swain, to other studios and distribs.

“I committed my time and energy exclusively to MGM in support of Frank Sr.,” Mancuso said. “As he is no longer actively involved in the daily operations of the studio, a change seemed appropriate. I wish MGM well as it moves forward under new management.”

The supernatural thriller “Stigmata,” which Mancuso produced together with the pic’s director Rupert Wainwright, is due to be released on Sept. 10. MGM has high hopes for the pic, which stars Patricia Arquette and Gabriel Byrne.

Mancuso Jr. produced John Frankenheimer’s “Ronin,” starring Robert De Niro, for United Artists. He also produced “Species,” “Species 2,” “Fled and “Hoodlum” for MGM. His other producing credits include “Internal Affairs.”

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