PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
PolyGram Pictures, Inc.
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Inc.
PolyGram Film Productions, B.V.
Type Unit of PolyGram
Fate PolyGram sold to Seagram; individual assets sold off or absorbed into Universal Pictures
Successor(s) Universal Studios
USA Films
Working Title Films
Founded 1980
Founder(s) Phillips
Headquarters Universal City, California & London, England
Divisions Gramercy Pictures
PolyGram Television
PolyGram Video
Rogue Pictures
Subsidiaries Working Title Films
Interscope Communications
Propaganda Films
ITC Entertainment

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE) (originally known as PolyGram Films and PolyGram Pictures) was a film studio, founded in 1980, which became a European competitor to Hollywood, but eventually sold to The Seagram Company in 1998 and folded in 1999.

Among its most successful films were Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Dead Man Walking (1995), Fargo (1996), Trainspotting (1996) and Notting Hill (1999).

History[edit]

The music company PolyGram (owned by Dutch-based Philips and Germany's Siemens) created PolyGram Pictures in 1980 as a partnership with film producer Peter Guber. It was a spin-off of sorts to Casablanca FilmWorks, the film unit of PolyGram's Casablanca Records which Guber previously ran and had success with The Deep and Midnight Express. PolyGram reserved the finances and Guber would run as CEO. Guber would form a partnership with Barbra Streisand's hairdresser Jon Peters, who co-produced his client's A Star Is Born remake. Peters would produce PolyGram's films, and eventually become a stockholder with Guber.[1]

Its first film was King of the Mountain (1981), which was a box-office flop. More money-losers followed. Ancillary markets such as home video and pay television were not yet established, and broadcast television networks were paying less for licenses to films. PolyGram's European investors were not happy; they had lost about $80 million on its film division. Not long after, Siemens parted with Philips. Guber and Peters left PolyGram Pictures in 1982, taking their plans for a new Batman movie with them, along with a few other projects. The duo eventually found a home at Warner Bros. As part of their exit proceedings, PolyGram would still own 7.5% of profits from some of its projects, including the Batman film.[1]

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, PolyGram continued to invest in a diversified film unit with the purchases of individual production companies.[2] In 1991, PolyGram's Michael Kuhn became the head of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment,[2] with US$200 million pumped in with the intention of developing a European film studio that could produce and distribute films internationally on a scale to match the major Hollywood studios.

Following the style of its music business, the company produced films through a number of creatively semi-autonomous 'labels', such as Working Title Films in the UK and Propaganda Films and Interscope Communications in the United States; It also built up its own network of distribution companies.

Film production within PolyGram differed from traditional Hollywood studios, in that power to make ('green light') a film was not centralised in the hands of a small number of executives, but instead was decided by negotiations between producers, management and marketing. Kuhn claimed that "movies sort of green lit themselves."

PolyGram also built up a sizable film and television library that could be profitable. The company purchased ITC Entertainment in 1995.[3] Through this purchase, PolyGram acquired 350 feature films, several thousand hours of television programming, and gained further access into the television market.[2] In 1997, PFE agreed to purchase over a thousand feature films held by Credit Lyonnais Bank for $225 million. PolyGram also attempted purchasing MGM[4] and The Samuel Goldwyn Company's library,[5] but to no avail.

PFE was based in the United Kingdom, and invested heavily in British film making — some credit it with reviving the British film industry in the 1990s. Despite a successful production history, Philips decided to sell PolyGram to the beverage (liquor) conglomerate Seagram in 1998.

Only interested in PolyGram's music operations, Seagram, which at the time controlled Universal Pictures, looked forward to divesting in PFE. After being dissatisfied with offers to buy the studio (including a joint venture between Canal+ and Artisan Entertainment), Seagram opted to sell off individual assets and absorb whatever remained into Universal.[6] Seagram sold the bulk of its library of films released up until March 31, 1996 to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,[7] and the ITC library was sold to Carlton Communications.[8] Some of PFE's North American distribution assets were sold to USA Networks.[9] Universal owns the rest of the post-1996 films and PolyGram Television.

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment took over the distribution of Manga Entertainment's titles in Australia and New Zealand in late 1996 after Siren Entertainment's license to the Manga Video catalogue expired, but PolyGram lost the license to the Manga Video catalogue in 1998 after Madman Entertainment took over the licenses. This was due to Manga Entertainment being moved from Island Records to Palm Pictures.

Production companies[edit]

Distribution company[edit]

In 1992, PolyGram partnered with Universal Pictures to create a joint venture called Gramercy Pictures. Gramercy primarily distributed PolyGram films in the USA, and it doubled as a specialty label for Universal. In 1997, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment Distribution was founded to release PFE's mainstream titles in the USA, while Gramercy became a low-budget sublabel.[10] After PolyGram's merger with Universal in 1999, the company merged Gramercy with October Films to create USA Films, which eventually became Focus Features.

Selected films[edit]

Among the films directly produced by PFE were:

1980s[edit]

Release Date Title Notes
May 30, 1980 The Hollywood Knights co-production with Columbia Pictures
May 1, 1981 King of the Mountain released by Universal Pictures
July 17, 1981 Endless Love co-production with Universal Pictures
August 14, 1981 Deadly Blessing released by United Artists
August 21, 1981 An American Werewolf in London co-production with Universal Pictures
November 13, 1981 The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper co-production with Universal Pictures
March 12, 1982 Missing co-production with Universal Pictures
October 3, 1982 Split Image released by Orion Pictures
December 24, 1982 Six Weeks released by Universal Pictures
April 15, 1983 Flashdance co-production with Paramount Pictures
December 13, 1985 A Chorus Line co-production with Columbia Pictures and Embassy Pictures
December 13, 1985 Clue co-production with Paramount Pictures
April 22, 1988 The Blue Iguana co-production with Paramount Pictures
March 24, 1989 Troop Beverly Hills co-production with Weintraub Entertainment Group
June 23, 1989 Batman co-production with Warner Bros.
December 8, 1989 Fear, Anxiety & Depression released by The Samuel Goldwyn Company

1990s[edit]

Release Date Title Notes
July 27, 1990 Chicago Joe and the Showgirl co-production with New Line Cinema; co-production with Working Title Films
August 17, 1990 Wild at Heart co-production with The Samuel Goldwyn Company
September 14, 1990 Fools of Fortune co-production with New Line Cinema
April 19, 1991 Drop Dead Fred co-production with New Line Cinema; co-production with Working Title Films
November 1991 Driving Me Crazy co-production with Motion Picture Corporation of America
January 17, 1992 A Gnome Named Gnorm co-production with Vestron Pictures
March 27, 1992 Ruby co-production with Triumph Films
June 19, 1992 Batman Returns co-production with Warner Bros.
August 7, 1992 London Kills Me co-production with Fine Line Features
September 4, 1992 Bob Roberts distributed by Paramount Pictures; co-production with Miramax Films, Live Entertainment and Working Title Films
October 16, 1992 Candyman co-production with TriStar Pictures
April 23, 1993 Map of the Human Heart distributed by Miramax Films; co-production with Working Title Films
May 14, 1993 Posse distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 1]
August 20, 1993 The Ballad of Little Jo co-production with Fine Line Features
September 3, 1993 Kalifornia distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films[N 1]
November 5, 1993 A Home of Our Own distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 1]
January 7, 1994 The Air Up There distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications
February 4, 1994 Romeo Is Bleeding distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 1]
March 9, 1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral co-production with Working Title Films and Channel Four Films[N 1]
March 11, 1994 The Hudsucker Proxy distributed by Warner Bros.; co-production with Working Title Films and Silver Pictures
April 8, 1994 Holy Matrimony distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications
April 15, 1994 Backbeat distributed by Gramercy Pictures
May 6, 1994 Dream Lover distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films[N 1]
August 10, 1994 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 1]
September 23, 1994 Terminal Velocity distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications
September 28, 1994 Jason's Lyric distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films[N 1]
February 10, 1995 Shallow Grave distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 1]
March 17, 1995 Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films[N 1]
May 3, 1995 Panther distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films
May 5, 1995 French Kiss distributed by 20th Century Fox; co-production with Working Title Films
June 16, 1995 Batman Forever distributed by Warner Bros.
July 28, 1995 Operation Dumbo Drop distributed by Walt Disney Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications
August 16, 1995 The Usual Suspects distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 1]
September 22, 1995 Canadian Bacon distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films[N 1]
September 29, 1995 Moonlight and Valentino distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 1]
November 3, 1995 Home for the Holidays distributed by Paramount Pictures[N 1]
November 10, 1995 Carrington distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 1]
December 29, 1995 Dead Man Walking distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 1]
December 29, 1995 Mr. Holland's Opus distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications
February 23, 1996 La Haine distributed by Gramercy Pictures
March 22, 1996 Jack and Sarah distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Granada Productions and Le Studio Canal +[N 1]
March 22, 1996 Land and Freedom distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films
April 5, 1996 Fargo distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 1]
May 3, 1996 Barb Wire distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films[N 2]
May 31, 1996 Eddie distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Island Pictures
July 17, 1996 Kazaam co-production with Touchstone Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications
September 20, 1996 Loch Ness distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 2]
October 18, 1996 Sleepers co-production with Propaganda Films[N 2]
distributed by Warner Bros. in North America
October 18, 1996 Jude distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 2]
January 10, 1997 The Relic distributed by Paramount Pictures
January 29, 1997 Gridlock'd distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications[N 2]
February 14, 1997 When We Were Kings distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 2]
April 11, 1997 Keys to Tulsa distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 2]
May 9, 1997 Twin Town distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 2]
June 20, 1997 Batman & Robin co-production with Warner Bros.
September 12, 1997 The Game co-production with Propaganda Films[N 2]
September 19, 1997 Going All the Way distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 2]
October 3, 1997 The MatchMaker distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 2]
October 24, 1997 A Life Less Ordinary distributed by 20th Century Fox
November 7, 1997 Bean distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 2]
January 16, 1998 Hard Rain distributed by Paramount Pictures
February 13, 1998 The Borrowers co-production with Working Title Films[N 2]
February 26, 1998 Dead Letter Office [N 2]
March 6, 1998 The Big Lebowski distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 2]
March 27, 1998 No Looking Back distributed by Gramercy Pictures[N 2]
March 27, 1998 The Proposition co-production with Interscope Communications[N 2]
May 1, 1998 Wilde distributed by Sony Pictures Classics; co-production with BBC Films, Capitol Films and Pony Canyon
May 29, 1998 The Last Days of Disco distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Castle Rock Entertainment[N 2]
August 14, 1998 Return to Paradise co-production with Propaganda Films[N 2]
October 2, 1998 What Dreams May Come co-production with Interscope Communications[N 2]
November 13, 1998 Thursday co-production with Propaganda Films[N 2]
November 22, 1998 Elizabeth distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films and Channel Four Films[N 2]
November 25, 1998 Very Bad Things co-production with Interscope Communications[N 2]
January 29, 1999 The Hi-Lo Country distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 2]
February 1999 Choke co-production with Propaganda Films[N 2]
March 5, 1999 Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels distributed by Gramercy Pictures in the US; co-production with Summit Entertainment[N 2]
May 28, 1999 Notting Hill distributed by Universal Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films[N 2]
October 1, 1999 Plunkett & Macleane distributed by USA Films; co-production with Working Title Films[N 2]

2000s[edit]

Release Date Title Notes
February 18, 2000 Pitch Black distributed by USA Films; co-production with Interscope Communications[N 2]
March 24, 2000 Waking the Dead distributed by USA Films[N 2]
April 14, 2000 Where the Money Is distributed by USA Films[N 2]

Working Title Films[edit]

Propaganda Films[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Rights now belong to MGM
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae Rights now owned by Universal Pictures

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Griffin, Nancy and Masters, Kim (1996). "Hit and Run" (pp. 100-116). New York: Touchstone, a Simon & Schuster company.
  2. ^ a b c "Screen Play : PolyGram Hopes to Bolster Its Hollywood Presence With Purchase of Once-Venerable ITC Entertainment - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1995-02-21. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  3. ^ "ITC Entertainment Sold to Polygram for $156 Million - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1987-11-24. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  4. ^ "Kerkorian Group Plans to Buy MGM Studio for $1.3 Billion - New York Times". Nytimes.com. 1996-07-17. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  5. ^ "Company News;Polygram Said To Drop Goldwyn Offer - New York Times". Nytimes.com. 1996-01-31. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "MGM Agrees to Acquire PolyGram Movie Library - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1998-10-23. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  8. ^ Thal, Peter (1999-01-20). "Carlton pays $150m for film library - Business - News". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ "PolyGram Unit to Distribute Films in U.S. - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1997-05-03. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 

Further Reading[edit]

  • Michael Kuhn, One Hundred Films and a Funeral: The Life and Death of Polygram Films, Thorogood, 2002. ISBN 1-85418-216-1.