United Artists

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This article is about the film studio. For the cinema chain, see Regal Entertainment Group. For the former record label, see United Artists Records.
United Artists Media Group
Type Subsidiary
Industry
Founded February 5, 1919
Founders
Headquarters Beverly Hills, California, United States
Key people Mark Burnett (CEO)
Brian Edwards (COO)
Products Motion pictures
Owners
Divisions Lightworkers Media
Website www.unitedartists.com

The United Artists Media Group (UAMG), formerly known as United Artists Corporation (UA), is an American film and television entertainment company. The original studio using the name "United Artists" was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks, with the intention of controlling their own interests rather than depending upon the powerful commercial studios.[1]

The previous United Artists formed in November 2006 under a partnership between producer/actor Tom Cruise and his production partner, Paula Wagner, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Paula Wagner left the studio on August 14, 2008.[2] Cruise owned a small stake in the studio until late 2011.[3] In 2014, MGM acquired controlling interest in Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's entertainment companies, resulting in another relaunch of United Artists.

History[edit]

The early years[edit]

The first United Artists logo, used until the 1967 sale to Transamerica

UA was incorporated as a joint venture on February 5, 1919, by four of the leading figures in early Hollywood: Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith. Each held a 20% stake, with the remaining 20% held by lawyer William Gibbs McAdoo.[4] The idea for the venture originated with Fairbanks, Chaplin, Pickford, and cowboy star William S. Hart a year earlier as they were traveling around the U.S. selling Liberty bonds to help the World War I effort. Already veterans of Hollywood, the four film stars began to talk of forming their own company to better control their own work as well as their futures.

They were spurred on by established Hollywood producers and distributors who were tightening their control over actor salaries and creative decisions, a process that evolved into the rigid studio system. With the addition of Griffith, planning began, but Hart bowed out before things had formalized. When he heard about their scheme, Richard A. Rowland, head of Metro Pictures, is said to have observed, "The inmates are taking over the asylum." The four partners, with advice from McAdoo (son-in-law and former Treasury Secretary of then-President Woodrow Wilson), formed their distribution company, with Hiram Abrams as its first managing director.

List of UA stockholders in 1920

The original terms called for Pickford, Fairbanks, Griffith and Chaplin to independently produce five pictures each year. But by the time the company got under way in 1920–1921, feature films were becoming more expensive and more polished, and running times had settled at around ninety minutes (or eight reels). It was believed that no one, no matter how popular, could produce and star in five quality feature films a year.

D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin (seated) and Douglas Fairbanks at the signing of the contract establishing United Artists motion picture studio in 1919. Lawyers Albert Banzhaf (left) and Dennis F. O'Brien (right) stand in the background.

UA's first film was His Majesty, the American by and starring Fairbanks was a success. There was limited funding for movies at the time. Without selling stock to the public like the other studios of the time, all United had to work with was weekly prepayment installments from theater owners for the upcoming movies. Thus production was slow with the company distributing for the first five years averaging five films.[5]

By 1924, by which time Griffith had dropped out, the company was facing a crisis: either bring in others to help support a costly distribution system or concede defeat.[citation needed] The veteran producer Joseph Schenck was hired as president.[5] Not only had he been producing pictures for a decade,[citation needed] but he brought along commitments for films starring his wife, Norma Talmadge,[5] his sister-in-law, Constance Talmadge,[citation needed] and his brother-in-law, Buster Keaton.[5] Contracts were signed with a number of independent producers, most notably Samuel Goldwyn,[citation needed] and Howard Hughes.[5] In 1933, Schenck organize a new company with Darryl F. Zanuck, Twentieth Century Pictures, which soon provided four pictures a year to UA's schedule and was half the schedule.[5]

Schenck also formed a separate partnership with Pickford and Chaplin to buy and build theaters under the United Artists name. They also began international operations, first in Canada, then in Mexico, and by the end of the 1930s, United Artists was represented in over 40 countries.

Schenck resigned in 1935 when a ownership share was denied, Schenck left which set up 20th Century Pictures' merger with Fox Film Corporation to form 20th Century Fox. Schenck was succeeded by Al Lichtman as company president. A number of other independent producers distributed through United Artist in the 1930s including Walt Disney Productions, Alexander Korda, Hal Roach, David O. Selznick and Walter Wanger.[5] As the years passed and the dynamics of the business changed, these "producing partners" drifted away, Goldwyn and Disney to RKO and Wanger to Universal Pictures.

In the late 1930s, UA actually turned a profit while Samuel Goldwyn Productions was providing most of the output for distribution. Goldwyn sued United several times for disputed compensation leading Goldwyn Productions to leave. MGM's 1939 hit, Gone With the Wind, the top money maker of all time, was suppose to be a UA release except for the fact Selznick wanted Clark Gable to play Rhett Butler, but Gable was under contract to MGM. Also that year Fairbanks died.[5]

UA again was embroiled in lawsuits with its top producer, Selznick, over his distribution of some films through RKO and Selznick's considering their sloppy operation. Selznick left UA and started his own distribution arm.[5]

In the 1940s, United Artists was losing money with poor pictures and cinema attendance down as viewers were moving to TV.[5] It sold off its Mexican releasing division to Crédito Cinematográfico Mexicano, a local company.

Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers (1940s and 1950s)[edit]

The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers was founded in 1941 by Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Orson Welles, Samuel Goldwyn, David O. Selznick, Alexander Korda, and Walter Wanger – many of the same people who were members of United Artists. Later members included Hunt Stromberg, William Cagney, Sol Lesser, and Hal Roach.

The Society aimed to advance the interests of independent producers in an industry overwhelmingly controlled by the studio system. SIMPP also fought to end ostensibly anti-competitive practices by the seven major film studios – Loew's, Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, RKO Radio Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros./First National – that controlled the production, distribution, and exhibition of films.

In 1942, the SIMPP filed an antitrust suit against Paramount's United Detroit Theatres. The complaint accused Paramount of conspiracy to control first-run and subsequent-run theaters in Detroit. This was the first antitrust suit brought by producers against exhibitors alleging monopoly and restraint of trade.

In 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court Paramount Decision ordered the major Hollywood movie studiosLoew's/MGM, Paramount, Warner Bros./First National, 20th Century Fox and RKO – to sell their theater chains and to eliminate certain anti-competitive practices. This effectively brought an end to the studio system.

By 1958, many of the objectives that led to the creation of the SIMPP had been obtained and SIMPP closed its offices.

The 1950s and 1960s[edit]

Needing a turn around, Pickford and Chaplin hired former governor Indiana Paul V. McNutt as chairman and Frank L. McNamee as president. McNutt did not have the skill to lift UA's financial problems and the duo were removed in a few months for a new management team.[5]

With a drastic reorganization needed for UA, finally brought in as chairman and McNutt, however, did not have the expertise to solve UA's financial woes. Within a few months he turned over the reins to a group headed by Arthur Krim and Robert Benjamin. Krim had been president of Eagle-Lion Films, and Benjamin had headed the American operations of the Arthur Rank Organisation, a British filmmaker. The two made a deal with Pickford and Chaplin to give them control of the company for ten years with a guarantee of half the company if they could turn the debt-ridden distributor around. Krim and Benjamin secured a $3 million loan from Fox Film Corporation president Spyros Skouras. UA then scored two big box office hits with High Noon and The African Queen. Within a year the company was showing a profit, and Krim and Benjamin had begun a 20-year reign.

On February 16, 1951, two lawyers-turned-producers Arthur Krim (of Eagle-Lion Films) and Robert Benjamin approached Pickford and Chaplin with a wild idea: let them take over United Artists for ten years. If, at the end of those years, UA was profitable, they would be given half the company. Fox Film Corporation president Spyros Skouras extended United Artist a $3 million loan through Krim and Benjamin's efforts.[5]

In taking over UA, Krim and Benjamin created the first studio without an actual "studio". Primarily acting as bankers, they offered money to independent producers. UA leased space at the Pickford/Fairbanks Studio, but did not own a studio lot as such. Thus UA did not have the overhead, the maintenance, or the expensive production staff that ran up costs at other studios.

They had two hits, The African Queen and High Noon, thus turned a profit in their first year.[5] Among their first clients were Sam Spiegel and John Huston, whose "Horizon Productions" gave UA one major hit, The African Queen (1951) and one slightly less successful one, Moulin Rouge (1952), based on the life of Toulouse-Lautrec. Others followed, among them Stanley Kramer, Otto Preminger, Hill-Hecht-Lancaster Productions, and a number of actors, newly freed from studio contracts and anxious to produce or direct their own films.

With the instability in the film industry do to theater holding divestment, the business was consider risky leading to decreased in attendance reach its lowest in 1955 since 1923. Chaplin sold his 25% share during this crisis to Krim and Benjamin for $1.1 million followed a year later by Pickford for $3 million.[5]

Public company[edit]

United Artist went public in 1957 with a $17 million stock and debenture offering. The company was averaging 50 films a year.[5] In 1958, UA acquired Ilya Lopert's Lopert Pictures Corporation a company that released foreign films in the United States that may have attracted criticism or cause censorship problems.[6]

In 1957, United Artists Records Corporation and United Artists Music Corporation were created to operate similar to UA film operation after offers to two existing record companies.[7] In 1968, UA Records was merged with Liberty Records, along with their many subsidiary labels such as Imperial Records and Dolton Records. In 1972, the group was consolidated into one entity as United Artists Records. It was later taken over by EMI.

In 1959, United Artists offered its first ever television series, The Troubleshooters (after failing to sell several pilots in the previous few years), an adventure/drama on NBC, starring Keenan Wynn and Bob Mathias, as employees of an international construction company.[8]

In the 1960s mainstream studios fell into decline and some were acquired or diversified, UA prospered while winning 11 Academy Awards, including five for best picture.[5] adding relationships with the Mirisch brothers, Billy Wilder, Joseph E. Levine and others. In 1961, United Artists released West Side Story, an adaptation of the Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim stage musical, which won a record ten Academy Awards (including Best Picture).

In 1960, United Artists purchased Ziv Television Programs and, using the idea of financial backing for television, UA's television division was responsible for shows such as CBS's Gilligan's Island and three ABC programs, The Fugitive with David Janssen, Outer Limits, a science fiction series, and The Patty Duke Show with Patty Duke and William Schallert. The television unit also had begun to build up a substantial – and profitable – rental library, having purchased Associated Artists Productions, owners of Warner Bros. pre-1950[9][10] features, shorts and cartoons, as well as the Popeye cartoons, purchased from Paramount Pictures a few years earlier. (See note below at Film archives for more on this.)

In 1963 United Artists released two Stanley Kramer films, the epic comedy It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and the drama A Child is Waiting. In 1964, UA introduced U.S. film audiences to The Beatles by releasing producer Walter Shenson's A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965). (The group had already made wildly successful television appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.)

At the same time it backed two expatriate North Americans in Britain, who had acquired screen rights to Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. For $1 million,[citation needed] UA backed Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli's Dr. No (which was a sensation in 1963) and launched the James Bond series.[5] The franchise has outlived UA's time as a major studio, still running half a century later. Other successful projects backed in this period included Blake Edwards's Pink Panther series, which began in 1964, and Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns, which made a star of Clint Eastwood.

In 1964, the French subsidiary Les Productions Artistes Associés released its first production, That Man From Rio.

Transamerica Corporation subsidiary[edit]

On the basis of its fantastic string of film and television hits in the 1960s, the company was an attractive property, and in 1967, 98% of UA share were purchased by the San Francisco-based insurance giant, the Transamerica Corporation. Transmerica selected the David and Arnold Picker brothers to lead UA.[5]

UA released another Best Picture Oscar winner in 1967, In the Heat of the Night, starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, and a nominee for Best Picture, The Graduate, an Embassy production that UA distributed overseas.

In 1970, UA lost $35 million thus the Pickers were pushed aside for the return of Arthur Krim and Robert Benjamin.[5]

For a time the flow of successful pictures continued, including the 1971 screen version of Fiddler on the Roof. (However, the 1972 film version of Man of La Mancha was a failure.) New talent was encouraged, including Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Sylvester Stallone, Saul Zaentz, Miloš Forman, and Brian De Palma.[citation needed] In 1973, UA took over the sales and distribution of MGM's films in Anglo-America for 10 years,[5] while Cinema International Corporation took over international distribution rights.

In 1975, Harry Saltzman sold UA his 50% stake in Danjaq, the holding-company for the Bond films. UA was to remain a silent partner, putting up money, while Albert Broccoli took producer credit. Danjaq and UA have remained the public co-copyright holders for the Bond series ever since, and the 2006 Casino Royale release shares the copyright with Columbia Pictures.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was released by UA in 1975 and earned Oscars and more than $56 million. UA followed that movie up with the next two years' Best Picture Oscar winner, Rocky and Woody Allen's Annie Hall.[5]

However, Transamerica was not pleased with UA's frequent releases of films rated X by the Motion Picture Association of America, such as Midnight Cowboy and Last Tango in Paris; in these instances, Transamerica demanded the byline "A Transamerica Company" be removed from the UA logo on the prints and in all advertising. At one point, the parent company expressed their desire to phase out the UA name and replace it with Transamerica Films. Arthur Krim tried to convince Transamerica to spin-off United Artists, but he and Transamerica's chairman could not come to an agreement.[11] Finally in 1978, following a dispute with Transamerica chief John R. Beckett[5] over administrative expenses,[citation needed] UA's top executives, including chairman Krim, president Eric Pleskow, Benjamin, and other key officers walked out. Within days they announced the formation of Orion Pictures,[5] with backing from Warner. The departures of Krim, Pleskow and Benjamin concerned several Hollywood figures enough that they took out an ad in a trade paper warning Transamerica that it had made a fatal mistake in letting them go.

Transamerica placed Andy Albeck in as UA's president. United had its most successful year with a four hit pictures in 1979 with Rocky II, Manhattan, Moonraker, and The Black Stallion.[5]

The new leadership of UA agreed to back Heaven's Gate, the pet project of director Michael Cimino which overran its budget to cost $44 million. This lead to the resignation of Albeck and replacement by Norbert Auerbach.[5] United Artists recorded a major loss for the year due almost entirely to the Heaven's Gate fiasco. To Transamerica, it was only a blip on a multi-billion dollar balance sheet, but it soured the relationship forever. To the greater Hollywood community, it also signaled that UA was a company that could no longer produce bankable pictures. The Heaven's Gate fiasco may have saved the United Artists brand as UA's final head before the sale, Steven Bach, wrote in his book Final Cut that there was talk about renaming United Artists to Transamerica Pictures.

In 1980, the Transamerica leadership decided the company should exit the film making business, and United Artists was put up for sale. Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. purchased the company.[12] Tracinda also owned Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer which was combined with United Artist in 1981.[13]

United Artists Classics[edit]

In 1981, United Artists Classics, which had formerly been a division of the company that re-released library titles, was turned into a first run art film distributor by Nathaniel T. Kwit Jr. Tom Bernard was hired as the division's head of sales, and Ira Deutchman[14][15][16] as its head of marketing. Later the division added Michael Barker and Donna Gigliotti. Deutchman left to form Cinecom, and Barker and Bernard later went on to form Orion Classics and Sony Pictures Classics. The label mostly released foreign and independent films such as Ticket to Heaven and The Grey Fox, and occasional first-run reissues from the UA library, such as director's cuts of Joan Micklin Silver's Head Over Heels and Ivan Passer's Cutter's Way. When Barker, and Bernard left to form Orion, the label was briefly rechristened MGM/UA Classics before it was finally shut down in the late 1980s.

MGM/UA Entertainment Company[edit]

The merged companies was named MGM/UA Entertainment Company and began launching in 1983 new subsidiaries: the MGM/UA Home Entertainment Group, MGM/UA Classics, and the MGM/UA Television Group. Kerkorian also bid for the remaining public stock still outstanding which was dropped after resistance via lawsuits and voiced opposition.[5]

After the purchase of United Artists, David Begelman's duties were transferred to that unit from MGM. Under Begelman, MGM/UA produced a number of unsuccessful films, and he was fired in July 1982. Out of the 11 films he put into production, by the time of his release from the studio, only one film, Poltergeist, proved to be a clear hit.[17][18]

WarGames and Octopussy in the early 1980s made profits for the new MGM/UA, but were not sufficient for Kerkorian. A 1985 restructuring lead to an independent MGM and UA production units with the combine studio leaders each placed in charge of a single unit. Speculations from analysts was that one of the studios, most likely UA, would be sold to fund the other's buy back of stock to take that studio private, expected to be MGM. However soon after wards, one unit's chief was fired and the remaining executive, Alan Ladd Jr., took charge of both.[5]

Turner[edit]

On August 7, 1985, it was announced that Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting System would buy MGM/UA. As film licensing to television became more complicated, Turner saw the value of acquiring MGM's film library for his superstation WTBS.[19] Under the terms of the deal, Turner would immediately sell United Artists back to Kerkorian.[13]

In anticipation of the MGM sale, Kerkorian installed film producer Jerry Weintraub as the chairman and chief executive of United Artists Corporation in November 1985.[20] Former American Broadcasting Company executive Anthony Thomopoulos was recruited as UA's president[21] Weintraub's tenure at UA was brief; he left the studio in April 1986, and his void was subsequently filled by former Lorimar executive Lee Rich.[22]

On March 25, 1986, the acquisition of MGM/UA by Ted Turner was finalized in a cash-stock deal for $1.5 billion,[19][23][24] and was renamed "MGM Entertainment Co.".[25][26] Kerkorian then repurchased United Artists for roughly $480 million.[23][24]

MGM/UA Communications Company[edit]

Due to concerns in the financial community over the debt-load of his companies, Ted Turner was forced to sell MGM's production and distribution assets to United Artists for $300 million on August 26, 1986.[23][24][27][28] The MGM lot and lab facilities were sold to Lorimar-Telepictures.[27] Turner kept the pre-May 1986 MGM film and television library, along with the Associated Artists Productions library, Gilligan's Island and its animated spin-offs, and the RKO Pictures films which MGM had previously purchased.[27]

United Artist was renamed to MGM/UA Communications Company (MUCC) organizing the company into three main film units: one television production and two film units. David Gerber head up the TV unit with Anthony Thomopoulous at UA and Alan Ladd, Jr. at MGM. While having a resurgence at the box office in 1987 with Spaceballs, The Living Daylights, and Moonstruck, MUCC lost $88 million.[5]

In April 1988, Kerorian's 82% of MUCC was up for sale with MGM and UA being split by July. Eventually 25% of MGM was offered to Burt Sugarman, producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber, but the plan fell through. Rich, Ladd, Thomopoulous, and other executives grew tried of Kerkorian's inexplicable actions and began to exit the company.[5]

Nevertheless, the studio was able to manage box-office hits such as Rain Man (winner of the 1988 Oscar for Best Picture), Baby Boom, and The Living Daylights. However, during this period, the company's fortunes languished greatly, losing money while its market share declined to 8% by the end of the 1980s.

By Summer 1988, the mass exodus of executives starts to effect productions with many film cancellations. The sale of MGM/UA to an Australian company Qintex/Australian Television Network (owners of the Hal Roach library both MGM and UA distributed in the 1930s) in 1989 also fell through, due to the company's bankruptcy later that year. On November 29, 1989, Turner Broadcasting System (the owners of the pre-1986 MGM library) attempted to buy entertainment assets from Tracinda Corporation, including MGM/UA Communications Co. (which also included United Artists, MGM/UA Home Video, and MGM/UA Television Productions), but failed.[29] UA was essentially dormant after 1990, releasing no films for several years.

The 1990s[edit]

Eventually, in 1990, came the sale to Italian promoter Giancarlo Parretti, who attempted to purchase Pathé the previous year. Parretti had bought a smaller company and renamed it Pathé Communications anticipating a successful buy of the original French company, but failed in that attempt, so instead merged MGM/UA with his former company, resulting into MGM-Pathé Communications Co. Having bought MGM/UA by overstating his own financial condition, within a year[citation needed] Parretti had defaulted to his primary bank, Crédit Lyonnais, which foreclosed on the studio[12] in 1992, also resulting in the sale or closure of MGM/UA's string of US theaters. On July 2, 1992, MGM-Pathé Communications Co. was renamed back to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. In an effort to make MGM/UA saleable, Credit Lyonnais ramped up production, and convinced John Calley to run UA.[12] Under his supervision, Calley revived two long-running franchises, the Pink Panther[citation needed] and James Bond films,[12] and touched on an aspect of UA's past by giving the widest release ever to a film with an NC-17 rating, Paul Verhoeven and Joe Eszterhas's controversial Showgirls. MGM was sold by Credit Lyonnais in 1996, again to Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda,[12] resulting in the departure of Calley as UA president.

In 1999, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola attempted to buy UA from Kerkorian. The deal was rejected, but Coppola signed a production deal with the studio instead.[30]

The 2000s to Present[edit]

In 1999, UA was repositioned as a specialty studio.[31] MGM had just acquired The Samuel Goldwyn Company, which had been a leading distributor of arthouse films, and after that name was retired, MGM folded UA into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and G2 Films, successor to Goldwyn, was renamed to United Artists. The distributorship, branding, and copyrights for UA's main franchises (James Bond, Pink Panther, and Rocky) were moved to MGM, although select MGM releases (notably the James Bond franchise co-held with Danjaq, LLC and the Amityville Horror remake) carry a United Artists copyright. The first arthouse film to bear the UA name was Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her.

UA (re-christened United Artists Films)[citation needed] hired Bingham Ray, who previously founded October Films, to run the company[12] in 2000, and under his supervision produced and distributed many "art-house" films, among them Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine; 2002's Nicholas Nickleby and the winner of that year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, No Man's Land; and 2004's Undertow, directed by David Gordon Green, and Terry George's Hotel Rwanda, a co-production of UA and Lions Gate Entertainment.

In 2005, a partnership of Comcast, Sony and several merchant banks bought United Artists and its parent, MGM, for a total of $4.8 billion.[12] Though only a minority investor, Sony closed MGM's distribution system and folded most of their staff into their own studio,[12] and the movies UA had completed and planned for release (Capote, Art School Confidential, The Woods, and Romance and Cigarettes)[citation needed] were reassigned to Sony Pictures Classics.[12]

In March 2006, MGM announced that it would return once again as a distribution company domestically. Striking distribution deals with The Weinstein Company, Lakeshore Entertainment, Bauer Martinez Entertainment and other independent studios, MGM distributed films from these companies. MGM continues funding and co-producing projects that are released in conjunction with Sony's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group on a limited basis and is producing "tentpoles" for their own distribution company MGM Distribution.

Sony had a minority stake in MGM but otherwise MGM and UA operated under the direction of Stephen Cooper (CEO of MGM and a minority owner himself).

United Artists Entertainment[edit]

On November 2, 2006, MGM announced that actor Tom Cruise and his long-time production partner Paula Wagner were resurrecting UA[32][33] (this announcement came after the duo were released from a fourteen-year production relationship at Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures earlier that year). Cruise, Wagner and MGM Studios created United Artist Entertainment LLC and the producer/actor and his partner owned a 30% stake in the studio,[34] with the approval by MGM's consortium of owners.

The deal gave them control over production and development of films. Wagner was named CEO of United Artists, which was allotted an annual slate of four films with different budget ranges, while Cruise served as a producer for the revamped studio as well as serving as the occasional star.

UA became the first motion picture studio granted a WGA waiver in January 2008 during the Writers' Strike.[35]

On August 14, 2008, MGM announced Paula Wagner would leave United Artists to produce films independently.[2] Her output as head of UA was two films, both starring Cruise, Lions for Lambs[36] and Valkyrie, the latter of which, despite mixed reviews, was successful at the box office thanks to $117 million in foreign revenue.[37] Wagner's departure led to speculation that an overhaul at United Artists was imminent.[2]

Since then, United Artists has merely served as a co-producer with MGM for two releases: the 2009 remake of Fame and Hot Tub Time Machine. Throughout 2010, due to continued debt and credit issues for MGM Holdings, Inc., United Artists' parent company had left the future of MGM and UA in doubt until it was resolved near the end of the year.

A 2011 financial report revealed that MGM reacquired its 100% stake in United Artists.[34] MGM stated that it might continue to make new films under the UA brand.[34]

United Artists Media Group[edit]

On September 22, 2014, MGM acquired a 55% interest in One Three Media and Lightworkers Media, both operated by Hollywood producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey and partly owned by Hearst Entertainment. The two companies were consolidated into a new film and television company, United Artists Media Group. Burnett will be UA's CEO and Downey will become president of Lightworkers Media, the UAMG family and faith division. UAMG will also form an Over-The-Top (OTT) faith-based channel.[12]

Library and Historical list of films[edit]

A majority of UA's post-1952 library is now owned by MGM, while the pre-1952 films (with few exceptions) are now either owned by other companies or in the public domain. However, throughout the studio's history of releasing its films, UA has acted as more of a distributor crediting the copyright to the production company responsible. This explains why certain UA releases, such as Scrooge (1951), High Noon (1952) and The Final Countdown (1980) for example, are still under copyright but not owned by MGM.

UA Films on video[edit]

United Artists originally leased the home video rights to its films (including the pre-1950 Warner Bros. classics they owned at the time) to Magnetic Video, the first home video company. Magnetic was purchased by 20th Century Fox in 1981 and was renamed 20th Century-Fox Video that year. In 1982, 20th Century-Fox Video merged with CBS Video Enterprises (which had demerged with MGM/CBS Home Video after MGM merged with UA) giving birth to CBS/Fox Video. Although MGM owned UA around this time, the latter studio's licensing deal with CBS/Fox was still in effect; however, the newly renamed MGM/UA Home Video started releasing some UA product, including a few recent films. Prior to MGM's purchase, UA licensed foreign video rights to Warner Bros. through Warner Home Video, in a deal that was set to expire in 1990.[38] In 1986, the pre-1950 WB and the pre-May 1986 MGM film and television libraries were purchased by Ted Turner after its short-lived ownership of MGM/UA, and as a result CBS/Fox lost home video rights to the pre-1950 WB films to MGM/UA Home Video. When the deal with CBS/Fox (inherited from Magnetic Video) expired in 1989, the UA films began to be issued through MGM/UA Home Video.

In the late 1980s, UA licensed the video releases for its more obscure titles to a small specialty video distributor called Wood Knapp Video. This deal lasted in effect until the early 1990s.

United Artists Broadcasting[edit]

United Artists owned and operated two television stations between the years of 1968 and 1977. Legal ID's for the company would typically say "United Artists Broadcasting: an entertainment service of Transamerica Corporation," along with the Transamerica "T" logo.

DMA Market Station Years Owned Current Affiliation Notes
17. ClevelandAkronCanton WUAB 43 1968–1977 MyNetworkTV affiliate owned
by Raycom Media
Licensed to Lorain. The call letters stand for United Artists Broadcasting, which founded the station.
Kaiser Broadcasting owned a minor stake from 1975 to 1977 following the closure of crosstown WKBF.
In 1977, Gaylord Entertainment Company acquired WUAB.
NR San JuanPonceMayagüez WRIK-TV 7 1970–1978 Independent station WSTE
owned by Univision
Licensed to Ponce. Operates 3
booster stations throughout
Puerto Rico.

Additionally, United Artists Broadcasting also held the permit to KUAB-TV in Houston, Texas, which would have possibly launched sometime around 1969 on channel 20; the station would eventually launch in 1982 under different ownership as KTXH.[39] United Artists also owned one radio station, WWSH in Philadelphia, from 1970 to 1977.

UAB/Transamerica left the broadcasting business in 1977 by selling WUAB to the Gaylord Broadcasting Company and WWSH to Cox Enterprises.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Woo, Elaine (2011-09-29). "Mo Rothman dies at 92; found new audience for Chaplin". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  2. ^ a b c Fleming, Michael (August 14, 2008). "Paula Wagner Leaves UA". Daily Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved August 14, 2008. 
  3. ^ Lieberman, D. "MGM Takes A Loss On ‘Dragon Tattoo’ And Seeks Better Terms For Sequels." Deadline.com (March 22, 2012).
  4. ^ Siklos, Richard (March 4, 2007). Mission Improbable: Tom Cruise as Mogul. New York Times
  5. ^ 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 International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 25. St. James Press. 1999. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  6. ^ pp.226-7 Balio, Tinao. United Artists: The Company that Changed the Film Industry. Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1987.
  7. ^ "UA sets up own diskery label". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media). October 14, 1957. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  8. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p.866
  9. ^ You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story (2008), p. 255.
  10. ^ WB retained a pair of features from 1949 that they merely distributed, and all short subjects released on or after September 1, 1948, in addition to all cartoons released in August 1948.
  11. ^ Medavoy, Mike and Young, Josh (2002). You're Only as Good as Your Next One: 100 Great Films, 100 Good Films, and 100 for Which I Should Be Shot (pp. 85-86). New York City: Atria Books
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Fleming, Mike Jr; Busch, Anita (September 22, 2014). "MGM Buys 55% Of Roma Downey And Mark Burnett’s Empire; Relaunches United Artists". Deadline (Penske Business Media). Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Fabrikant, Geraldine (August 8, 1985). "Turner Acquiring MGM Movie Empire". New York Times. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Handle With Care". American Film. Winter 1980. 
  15. ^ Siskel, Gene (May 16, 1982). "Hellow, Sweet Art: Small Films Big Success in Chicago". Chicago Tribune. 
  16. ^ Krieger, Beth. "Ira Deutchman". Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  17. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (July 12, 1982). "Begelman Removed as Chief of United Artists". The New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 
  18. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (July 12, 1982). "Begelman Removed as Chief of United Artists." The New York Times.
  19. ^ a b Prince, Stephen (2000) A New Pot of Gold: Hollywood Under the Electronic Rainbow, 1980–1989 (p. 14-16, ). University of California Press, Berkeley/Los Angeles, California. ISBN 0-520-23266-6
  20. ^ Dellugach, Al (November 12, 1985). "Weintraub Is New Chief of United Artists". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 4, 2014. 
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ [2]
  23. ^ a b c Bart, Peter. Fade Out: The Calamitous Final Days of MGM. New York: Morrow, 1990. ISBN 0-688-08460-5
  24. ^ a b c Parsons, Patrick. Blue Skies: A History of Cable Television. Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 2008. ISBN 1-59213-287-1; Stefoff, Rebecca. Ted Turner, Television's Triumphant Tiger. Ada, Okla.: Garrett Educational Corp., 1991. ISBN 1-56074-024-8
  25. ^ "Chicago Tribune: Turner May Sell Equity In Company". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 1986-05-07. Retrieved 2011-12-15. 
  26. ^ Gendel, Morgan (1986-06-07). "Turner Sells The Studio, Holds On To The Dream – Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2011-12-15. 
  27. ^ a b c Fabrikant, Geraldine. "Turner to Sell MGM Assets." The New York Times. June 7, 1986.
  28. ^ "Turner, United Artists Close Deal". Orlando Sentinel. UPI. 27 August 1986. Retrieved 2013-09-20. 
  29. ^ "Turner Buying MGM/UA". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). November 29, 1989. Retrieved 2014-10-02. 
  30. ^ Medavoy, Mike (with Josh Young). You're Only as Good as Your Next One (p. 92). New York, NY: Atria Books.
  31. ^ [3]
  32. ^ "MGM Puts Cruise In Charge of New United Artists". USA Today. November 2, 2006. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  33. ^ Petrecca, Laura; Lieberman, David (November 2, 2006). "Tom Cruise, producing partner cut a deal with United Artists". Zap2it. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  34. ^ a b c Fritz, B. "MGM regains full control of United Artists." Los Angeles Times (March 23, 2012).
  35. ^ "SHOCKER! WGA To Announce Side Deal With Tom Cruise's United Artists; Now Studio Moguls Mad At MGM's Sloan". Deadline Hollywood Daily. January 4, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  36. ^ Cieply, Michael (April 23, 2008). "The Nazi Plot That’s Haunting Tom Cruise and United Artists". The New York Times. Retrieved April 29, 2008. 
  37. ^ "Valkyrie (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. Retrieved April 13, 2009. 
  38. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (May 31, 1988). "For MGM/UA, Bidders Are Scarce". New York Times. 
  39. ^ Houston Television Timeline

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bach, Steven. Final Cut. New York: Morrow, 1985.
  • Balio, Tino. United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976.
  • Balio, Tino. United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987.
  • Berg, A. Scott. Goldwyn. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.
  • Gabler, Neal. An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood. New York: Crown Publishers, 1988.
  • Schickel, Richard. D.W. Griffith: An American Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983.
  • Thomson, David. Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick. New York: Alfred A, Knopf, 1992.

External links[edit]