It seems that with all the news about MGM’s current financial crisis you’d believe that the beleaguered studio couldn’t afford to buy lunch, let alone pay a pair of writers to begin work on a new project. But that’s exactly what they’ve done.
The studio has just paid out a “mid-six figures” fee to Saw and Feast screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan for an adaptation of the 1960s science-fiction anthology series The Outer Limits, according to Variety. There is no word as to whether the film will be one story or an anthology of shorter stories or whether it will contain original material or retell stories from the classic television series produced from 1963 to 1965.
Now, reportedly the deal has been in place since before things started to get really bad for the studio, but the payment just went out a few weeks ago, around the same time that the studio got their most recent debt extension approved by its creditors. Couldn’t the deal have been suspended?
Meanwhile, Red Dawn and Cabin In The Woods continue to sit on the shelf waiting to be released while The Hobbit and the next James Bond picture are mired in development, waiting a go-ahead from the studio to begin production. While the amount being paid to Melton and Dunstan isn’t nearly enough to fund any movement on any of these projects, it does raise the question as to what MGM plans to do with the script once completed. Are they hedging that they’ll have something ready to go into production as soon as their money problems are sorted out? That presupposes that the current management is still in place to greenlight the film once everything is settled, and that is a bet I am not willing to put too much money on.