Orion qtr. $25 mil in red

:NEW YORK — Orion Pictures lost $25.2 million in the second quarter, the last accounting period before Orion was acquired by MGM, Orion’s former parent company Metromedia Intl. Group said in a Securities & Exchange Commission filing late last week.

The whopping loss was a huge increase over the $2.4 million loss recorded by Orion a year earlier. For the six months to June, Orion lost $35.3 million compared with a loss of $8.7 million a year earlier.

Metromedia gave no explanation for the loss although it likely reflects a writedown on Orion’s “8 Heads in a Duffle Bag,” which opened to dismal B.O. just about the time news broke that MGM was negotiating to buy Orion.

MGM completed its $573 million acquisition of Orion on July 10, so the performance says nothing about the company’s performance as part of the Lion. But MGM will be hoping Orion performs better in future, as Orion’s earnings were supposed to enhance MGM’s profit statement, not weaken it.

Metromedia said it will declare a profit on the sale of Orion but it did not disclose the size of the profit for the quarter. It will report the profit in the third quarter accounts.

The Metromedia filing said Landmark Theatres, which have been retained for the moment, had an operating loss of $445,000 in the quarter. No historic information was available, Metromedia said.

A Metromedia spokesman wasn’t available for comment and an MGM spokesman declined comment.

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