BREAKING: In a surprise move, Tory Metzger will leave her post as president of film production for Media Rights Capital when her contract expires at the end of the month. MRC co-CEOs Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu are starting an immediate search to replace her with one or two seasoned studio-level production executives to oversee a production slate that is going increase dramatically. That slate includes Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland followup 30 Minutes or Less, the Seth MacFarlane-directed comedy Ted, and the next scifi project from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp. Right behind that is a Baz Luhrmann-directed musical, as well as the David Fincher-produced drama House of Cards.

Metzger was a hot shot CAA agent who repped Ang Lee and Tom Cruise when she jumped to MRC in 2008. She has strong talent relations and gave MRC some credibility at a time when they needed it. But this was her first production job. The change has a lot to do with co-CEOs Wiczyk and Satchu’s recent deal with Universal Pictures to generate 20 pictures over five years that will be fed through the Universal pipeline. beginning in 2011. As a result, MRC’s picture output will grow from three films per year to as many as eight. It also sounds like Metzger missed the talent business and might crave a return, but I’m told she will take some time before making her next move. At MRC, she oversaw production on films like the Ricky Gervais comedy The Invention of Lying, the upcoming George Nolfi-directed Matt Damon-starrer The Adjusment Bureau and the M. Night Shyamalan-produced Night Chronicles. She also worked on getting 30 Minutes Or Less to the starting gate.

“My first love has always been talent and the philosophy at MRC was a very attractive next step for me outside of the agent world,” Metzger said in a statement. “The current growth plans for the company took me farther away from that world, so with the blessing of our co-CEOs, I have decided to explore opportunities that might lead me back to my roots.”

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