Crown International Pictures
|Founder||Newton P. Jacobs|
Jacobs was a branch head of RKO Pictures until 1947, when he formed Favorite Films, a releasing organization. He became one of the first franchises for showing American International Pictures (AIP). Like AIP, Crown International Pictures is primarily known for low-budget flicks, grindhouse cinema, biker films, exploitation films and B-movie drive-in fare. The company was later headed by Jacobs' original vice-president Mark Tenser, who became President in 1973 with Jacobs moving up to become Chairman of the Board. Jacobs' daughter Marilyn Jacobs Tenser became vice president.
In July 1988 Jacobs died in a motorcycle accident. This resulted in leadership being passed down to his son, Louis Jacobs.
Crown International began releasing both low-budget films by American producers, such as Bloodlust! and The Seventh Commandment, and cheaply acquired foreign films such as First Spaceship on Venus and Varan the Unbelievable (released as a double feature in 1962). In 1963 Crown began producing its own films, starting with Coleman Francis' The Skydivers.
Crown began in 1961 by releasing six films, with the number rising to 12 films ten years later. Jacobs felt that Crown survived by having carefully planned growth and not overextending its product. He said that Crown did not want to be regarded as a mini major studio but as the top of the independents, to give the company more freedom in selecting and exploiting its film product.
Notable movies include-
Crown also acted as importer for Sonny Chiba's Street Fighter films to the United States.
The director of Death Machines (1976) gave an account of how Crown picked up and shot new scenes for his film that included shooting a prologue that would make the martial arts film a science-fiction one to make it more in line with current box-office trends.
Crown often retitled its releases to make them sound more exciting or exploit current trends. Jacobs told the Los Angeles Times in November 1963, "A title is the handle . . . You can't lift a picture very high if the handle is weak"
Television and DVD
In 1964 Crown packaged several of the features that they released in the cinema or had acquired rights to became part of a package of the Westhampton Film Corporation. Renown American television production company Desilu entered film syndication in 1964 by acquiring the rights to show Crown International films as part of the "Westhampton Feature Package".
Later in the 1970s, Crown released films for syndication through Gold Key Entertainment, which was a division of Vidtronics, Inc.
Several CIP films have been shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- p.86 Slide, Anthony The American Film Industry: A Historical Dictionary 1986 Greenwood Press
- 1980 Obituaries Variety
- History of Crown International Pictures by Crown International Pictures.
- p.13 A Salute to Red Jacobs Box Office Magazine 8 Feb 1971
- p.14 Ibid
- p.183 Segrave, Kerry Drive-In Theatres: A History from their Inception in 1933 1992 McFarland
- Albright, Brian Who Saved Hitler's Brain? The Making and Re-Making of "Madmen of Manoras" Filmfax Plus Magazine #118
- p.169 Heffernan, Kevin Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold: Horror Films and the American Movie Business 2004 Duke University Press