Cinema International Corporation

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Cinema International Corporation (CIC) was a film distribution company started by Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios in the early 1970s to distribute the 2 studios' films outside the United States – it even operated in Canada before it was considered part of the "domestic" market.

Overview[edit]

On April 9, 1970, as a part of a cost-cutting move, caused due to declining movie-going audiences, and due to anti-trust rules, Paramount and Universal, merged their international distribution arms, into a new releasing company, Cinema International Corporation (CIC), registered in England and Wales.

In 1973, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer closed down its distribution offices and became a partner in CIC, which took over international distribution for MGM's films; however, United Artists took over the domestic distribution for MGM's films at that time. CIC also entered the home video market by forming CIC Video, which distributed Paramount and Universal titles on video worldwide. MGM however, had its own video unit, which later became a joint venture with CBS as MGM/CBS Home Video (later known as MGM/UA Home Video, which then became managed by Warner Home Video).

In 1981, MGM purchased United Artists, which had its own international distribution unit. CIC refused to let MGM drop out of the venture at the time, which led to the reorganization of the company as United International Pictures.

CIC's name lived on in its video division, which became directly managed as a joint venture of Paramount Home Video and MCA Videocassette, Inc. (later MCA Home Video and MCA/Universal Home Video). CIC Video survived until the late 1990s/early 2000s, when Universal purchased PolyGram and reorganized its video division (which was a joint venture with what is now Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and remains so to this day) under the Universal name, while Paramount took over full ownership of CIC Video and merged it under its own video division.

Australia[edit]

Early on, CIC operated the same as in other countries with distribution of Paramount, Universal, and MGM titles in Australia. In the mid 70s, CIC merged its units with 20th Century Fox's Australian distribution arm to form a joint venture, known as CIC-Fox. CIC/Fox distributed titles by 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Walt Disney Productions. In 1982, after the reformation of Cinema International Corporation as United International Pictures, the venture was renamed UIP-Fox and began to distribute United Artists titles (due to the merger with MGM a year earlier). The venture was ended in 1986, after Rupert Murdoch purchased Fox and Village Roadshow. Murdoch reorganized and obtained the Fox Australian distribution arm from UIP, and Disney sent its distribution under Village Roadshow. Theatrical releases from Paramount, Universal, MGM, & UA still continued under UIPs distribution arm, and the CIC-Fox video arm was renamed "CIC-Taft" for releasing titles from Paramount and Universal, along with Hanna Barbara and Taft Pictures titles, hence the Taft name because the latter company owned the former at that time (MGM/UA, Disney, and Fox had their own home video divisions at this point).

Controversy[edit]

CIC made headlines in 2012 because both Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures deny ownership of director William Friedkin's third film, Sorcerer. The studios claim they transferred ownership to CIC, which later dissolved, causing the rights to be in limbo. In April 2012, Friedkin sued the studios to discover who owns the domestic theatrical rights and to capture any royalty payments from VHS and DVD releases. At one point, a court date for March 2013 has been set if the parties could not reach a settlement.[1] However, it was exactly that month that Friedkin revealed that he dropped his lawsuit against Universal and Paramount, and that he and a "major studio" are involved in the creation of a new, recolored digital print of Sorcerer, to be screened at the Venice Film Festival and to receive a Blu-Ray release:

We're working off the original negative, which is in pretty good shape, but without changing the original concept we have to bring it back in terms of color saturation, sharpness and all the stuff... [The film's] been in a legal whirlpool for 30 or 35 years. And a lot of people have come and gone from the studios during that time, so it just takes awhile to unravel everything, but we're very close to announcing a premiere date.[2]

See also[edit]

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