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Creator: Orion Pictures
A studio from the stars!

Orion Pictures was founded in 1978 by Arthur B. Krim, Eric Pleskow, and Robert S. Benjamin, three United Artists expatriates who found themselves dissatisfied with decisions by the studio's then-owner Transamerica. They chose to finance independently-produced films and release them via a distribution deal with Warner Bros.. The studio was known for allowing its filmmakers a lot of control over its projects; unfortunately, such business ideals did not equal profits.

The upstart studio wasted no time in acquiring talent and film deals, and got its first film out by April of the next year. However, the movies released in its first two years yielded no major successes outside of 10. However, Orion managed to save some face by hiring back Woody Allen.

In 1981, Orion severed ties with WB, who kept most of the fruits of the deal, and got its hands on ailing film studio Filmways, gaining the company's extensive film library, including the near-entire American International Pictures library. By 1983, Orion had not only a full distribution arm and ambitious dreams, but also its own television unit and an arthouse subsidiary known as Orion Classics.

In September of 1984, Orion releases Amadeus, the success of which inspired that of numerous other films later on in the decade, putting the studio into the league of success. This inspired Metromedia to take a stake in the company in 1986, then buying it all in 1988. Unfortunately, the next year heralded a number of costly bombs, putting Orion in jeopardy. By 1987, they had also established their own video label, after having gone through other firms (Warner Home Video, HBO Video and it's predecessors) for home video releases, while internationally their releases were distributed by Columbia Pictures.

Despite the successes of such films as Dances with Wolves and The Silence of the Lambs, Orion was losing money. With cash running low, it had no choice but to declare bankruptcy at the end of 1991. Studios like New Line Cinema, ABC, and Republic Pictures were interested in buying the floundering studio, but nothing came of it.

While the company finally got out of bankruptcy by 1996, the damage had been done. Only a select few Orion releases came out afterwards, as Metromedia instead chose to focus on the newly acquired Samuel Goldwyn Company.

The final nail in Orion's coffin came in 1997, when Metromedia's filmed entertainment properties were bought out by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. While sister studio The Samuel Goldwyn Company got to stay around for a few more years before being replaced by Samuel Goldwyn Films independently of MGM, Orion got no such second chance, and now lies as an in-name-only unit of MGM.
Films released by Orion Pictures:
United ArtistsProducersMiramax Films

alternative title(s): Orion Pictures
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