PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
|Fate||Merged with Universal Pictures|
Working Title Films
|Defunct||April 6, 1999|
|Headquarters||Universal City, California & London, England|
|Divisions||Working Title Films
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE) (aka PolyGram Films and PolyGram Pictures) was a film studio, founded in 1980, which became a European competitor to Hollywood, but eventually sold to Universal Pictures in 1998 and folded in 1999.
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 stockholders with Guber.
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.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, PolyGram continued to invest in a diversified film unit with the purchases of individual production companies. In 1991, PolyGram's Michael Kuhn became the head of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, 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. Through this purchase, PolyGram acquired 350 feature films, several thousand hours of television programming, and gained further access into the television market. In 1997, PFE agreed to purchase over a thousand feature films held by Credit Lyonnais Bank for $225 million. PolyGram also attempted purchasing MGM and The Samuel Goldwyn Company's library, 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 PFE to the beverage (liquor) conglomerate Seagram in 1999.
PFE's assets were merged into Seagram's existing film studio, Universal Pictures, after Seagram was dissatisfied with offers to buy the studio (ironically, one of the bidders for PolyGram was Canal+ Group, owned by Vivendi, which would later take over Seagram). Seagram sold the bulk of its library of films released up until March 31, 1996 to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the ITC library was sold to Carlton Communications. Universal owns the rest of the post-1996 films and the library from 1996 to 1999 including 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.
- Working Title Films (UK), acquired by PFE in 1991.
- Propaganda Films (US), acquired in 1991.
- Interscope Communications (US)
- A&M Films (theatrical film division of A&M Records)
- Island Pictures (theatrical film division of Island Records), acquired Dec. 1994.
- Cinéa (France)
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. After PolyGram's merger with Universal in 1999, the company merged Gramercy with October Films to create USA Films, which eventually became Focus Features.
Among the films directly produced by PFE were:
|May 30, 1980||The Hollywood Knights||co-production with Columbia Pictures|
|May 1, 1981||King of the Mountain||co-production with Universal Pictures|
|July 17, 1981||Endless Love||co-production with Universal Pictures|
|August 14, 1981||Deadly Blessing||co-production with 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||co-production with Orion Pictures|
|December 24, 1982||Six Weeks||co-production with 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||co-production with The Samuel Goldwyn Company|
|July 27, 1990||Chicago Joe and the Showgirl||distributed by New Line Cinema; co-production with Working Title Films|
|August 17, 1990||Wild at Heart||distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company|
|September 14, 1990||Fools of Fortune||distributed by New Line Cinema|
|April 19, 1991||Drop Dead Fred||distributed by New Line Cinema; co-production with Working Title Films|
|November 1991||Driving Me Crazy||distributed by Motion Picture Corporation of America|
|January 17, 1992||A Gnome Named Gnorm||distributed by Vestron Pictures|
|March 27, 1992||Ruby||distributed by Triumph Films|
|June 19, 1992||Batman Returns||distributed by Warner Bros.|
|August 7, 1992||London Kills Me||distributed by 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||distributed by 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|
|August 20, 1993||The Ballad of Little Jo||distributed by Fine Line Features|
|September 3, 1993||Kalifornia||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|November 5, 1993||A Home of Our Own||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|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|
|March 9, 1994||Four Weddings and a Funeral||co-production with Working Title Films|
|March 11, 1994||The Hudsucker Proxy||distributed by Warner Bros.; co-production with Working Title Films|
|April 8, 1994||Holy Matrimony||distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|April 15, 1994||Backbeat||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|August 10, 1994||The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|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|
|March 17, 1995||Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda 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|
|September 22, 1995||Canadian Bacon||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|September 29, 1995||Moonlight and Valentino||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|November 10, 1995||Carrington||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|December 29, 1995||Dead Man Walking||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|December 29, 1995||Mr. Holland's Opus||distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|March 22, 1996||Jack and Sarah||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Granada Productions and Le Studio Canal +|
|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|
|May 3, 1996||Barb Wire||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|July 17, 1996||Kazaam||distributed by Touchstone Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|September 20, 1996||Loch Ness||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|October 18, 1996||Jude||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|January 10, 1997||The Relic||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|January 29, 1997||Gridlock'd||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|February 14, 1997||When We Were Kings||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|April 11, 1997||Keys to Tulsa||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|May 9, 1997||Twin Town||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|June 20, 1997||Batman & Robin||distributed by Warner Bros.|
|September 12, 1997||The Game||co-production with Propaganda Films|
|September 19, 1997||Going All the Way||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|October 3, 1997||The MatchMaker||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|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|
|January 16, 1998||Hard Rain||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|February 13, 1998||The Borrowers||co-production with Working Title Films|
|February 26, 1998||Dead Letter Office|
|March 6, 1998||The Big Lebowski||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|March 27, 1998||No Looking Back||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|March 27, 1998||The Proposition||co-production with Interscope Communications|
|May 29, 1998||The Last Days of Disco||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|August 14, 1998||Return to Paradise||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|October 2, 1998||What Dreams May Come||co-production with Interscope Communications|
|November 13, 1998||Thursday||co-production with Propaganda Films|
|November 22, 1998||Elizabeth||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|November 25, 1998||Very Bad Things||co-production with Interscope Communications|
|January 29, 1999||The Hi-Lo Country||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|February 1999||Choke||co-production with Propaganda Films|
|May 18, 1999||Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai||distributed by Artisan Entertainment; co-production with Working Title Films|
|May 28, 1999||Notting Hill||distributed by Universal Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|October 1, 1999||Plunkett & Macleane||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|February 18, 2000||Pitch Black||distributed by USA Films; co-production with Gramercy Pictures and Interscope Communications|
|March 24, 2000||Waking the Dead||distributed by USA Films; co-production with Gramercy Pictures|
|April 14, 2000||Where the Money Is||distributed by USA Films; co-production with Gramercy Pictures|
- Home for the Holidays (1995) (distributed by Paramount Pictures)
- Trainspotting (1996) (distributed by Miramax Films in the United States)
- Eddie (1996) (co-production with Island Pictures and distributed by Hollywood Pictures)
- Spice World (1997) (distributed by Columbia Pictures in the Americas)
- Barney's Great Adventure (1998) (co-production with Lyrick Studios)
- Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) (co-production with Summit Entertainment and distributed by Gramercy Pictures in the US)
- Arlington Road (1999, US rights owned by Screen Gems)
Working Title Films
- The Young Americans (1993)
- A Pig's Tale (1995)
- Sleepers (1996) (co-production with Warner Bros.)
- Being John Malkovich (1999) (Distribution by USA Films)
- 100 Films and a Funeral, a documentary film about the rise and fall of PFE.
- Griffin, Nancy and Masters, Kim (1996). "Hit and Run" (pp. 100-116). New York: Touchstone, a Simon & Schuster company.
- "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.
- "ITC Entertainment Sold to Polygram for $156 Million - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1987-11-24. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- "Kerkorian Group Plans to Buy MGM Studio for $1.3 Billion - New York Times". Nytimes.com. 1996-07-17. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- "Company News;Polygram Said To Drop Goldwyn Offer - New York Times". Nytimes.com. 1996-01-31. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- "MGM Agrees to Acquire PolyGram Movie Library - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1998-10-23. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- Thal, Peter (1999-01-20). "Carlton pays $150m for film library - Business - News". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- "PolyGram Unit to Distribute Films in U.S. - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1997-05-03. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- Michael Kuhn, One Hundred Films and a Funeral: The Life and Death of Polygram Films, Thorogood, 2002. ISBN 1-85418-216-1.