MGM relaunches the Orion Pictures brand as an independent film distributor

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is relaunching Orion Pictures, the movie label best known for releasing “The Terminator” and “Silence of the Lambs”, as an independent distributor.

John Hegeman, who was previously president of Blumhouse’s experimental label BH Tilt, will be the label’s president, the Los Angeles studio announced on Wednesday.

Hegeman will be responsible for marketing and distributing four to six “low budget” films per year, including wide and limited releases, the company said in a statement. He takes the helm this week, reporting to Jonathan Glickman, president of MGM’s film group.

The executives were not available for interviews.

Orion was founded in 1978 and has become known as a home for innovative filmmakers, releasing films like “Robocop”, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Hoosiers”, but the brand has had a tumultuous past.

The company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy under heavy debt after a series of flops in 1991, the same year its film “Dances with the Wolves” won the Oscar for Best Picture. He came out of bankruptcy protection in 1992 and struggled to get back on his feet.

MGM purchased Orion in 1997, acquiring its strong library of films.

In 2013, the Orion brand was rebooted by MGM for TV shows. The following year, the company relaunched the Orion Pictures name for films, co-distributing films such as “The Belko Experiment” and “Wish Upon”.

Its first release as a standalone distributor will be “Every Day,” the young adult romance of Emmy winner Michael Sucsy, which will debut in theaters in February.

Hegeman, who spent more than a decade with Orion early in his career, previously held positions at New Regency and Lionsgate. He has directed campaigns for BH Tilt films such as “The Green Inferno” and “The Darkness”.

Hegeman “is the perfect setting to lead Orion because he has proven he can skillfully craft exit strategies, spanning all genres, to reach a targeted audience without the burden of expensive traditional advertising,” Glickman said in a statement.

MGM emerged from its own Chapter 11 proceedings in 2010. Although its list of films produced mixed results, the studio, led by chief executive Gary Barber, has built a formidable television business, earning Emmy nominations. for “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Hulu and “FX” Fargo.

Mark Burnett, executive producer of “Shark Tank” and “The Voice”, has headed the TV division since 2016.

In July, MGM acquired production company Evolution Media, known for its reality shows such as “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and “Vanderpump Rules”.

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