MGM nabs 'Scalper'
Studio pays $2 mil for rights to Garcia pic

April 2, 1998 - By Benedict Carver

MGM has paid about $2 million for North American rights to the romantic drama "The Scalper," sources said.

Pic, which stars Andy Garcia and Andie MacDowell, is the first film to come from Garcia's production outfit Cineson Prods. It was written and directed by Richard Wenk, and produced by Garcia and Gary Lucchesi ("Primal Fear").

"The Scalper" is about a small-time ticket scalper who undertakes one last score in order to win the woman of his dreams. Pic, a pet project of Garcia's, took the star eight years to get off the ground.

The independently financed film cost about $9 million to make, sources said. The MGM deal is a complete acquisition, but does include a back-end for Garcia.
Financing for the pic was raised by Yoram Pelman's Tomorrow Film Corp. out of foreign sales, and by gap financing from a bank.

Wenk has previously directed episodes of "The Hitchhiker" for HBO and several telepics. His only other feature is 1986 horror comedy "Vamp."

The writer-director has several scripts in development around Hollywood, including the comedy "Broad Daylight" with Lobell/Bergman Prods.

A spokesman for MGM confirmed the deal, but was unable to confirm the numbers.

Wenk is repped by the Gersh Agency's Richard Arlook, who cut the deal for the pic along with Irwin Tenenbaum of Tenenbaum, Emanuel & Fleer. MGM senior vice president and deputy general counsel Mark Fleischer negotiated on behalf of the studio.