MGM reaches for ‘Outer Limits’

Studio developing feature based on 1960s sci-fi series

Though MGM’s future is murky, the Lion is quietly developing a bigscreen adaptation of “The Outer Limits.”

MGM has hired writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan — whose credits include four of the seven “Saw” films — to pen a feature take on the sci-fi series that aired on ABC from 1963-65. Deal is pegged at mid-six figures.

MGM has been in limbo for most of the past year. It received a sixth extension in mid-July on debt payments from its 140 creditors, who have given the beleaguered studio a forebearance that will expire Sept. 15. Around the same time as the latest extension, the Lion paid Melton and Dunstan for a feature script based on their take, which is due in October.

Though the writers contend that the work c ommenced in mid-July, MGM disputes the timeline. A spokesperson for the Lion admits that the scribes were paid just weeks ago but insists that the duo was hired well before the studio’s current financial woes began to mount.

Cale Boyter is overseeing for MGM. Jon Shestack (“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”) and Jeremy Stein are producing alongside original series producer Mark Victor.

Studio put itself up for sale in November after bringing in turnaround specialist Stephen Cooper last summer.

MGM has met in recent months with Lionsgate toppers to consider a merger plan under which the surviving entity would retain the MGM name and be headed by Lionsgate toppers Jon Feltheimer and Michael Burns.

MGM has also convened with execs from Spyglass and Summit in recent weeks to discuss scenarios under which MGM would reorganize and receive production funds.

Melton and Dunstan were discovered on HBO’s “Project Greenlight” for their script “Feast,” which was produced and financed by Dimension. The pair also wrote and Dunstan directed “The Collector.”

(Dave McNary contributed to this report.)