Icon Productions final logo, used from 1994 to 2019
|Industry||Film, Television film|
|Headquarters||808 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, California, United States|
|Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey, Mark Gooder|
|Products||Motion pictures, Entertainment|
Icon Productions was an independent production company founded in August 1989 by actor/director Mel Gibson and Australian producing partner Bruce Davey, which, unlike most other independent production companies, funds most of its development and production costs, allowing it to retain creative control of its projects. Its headquarters are in Los Angeles.
In 2008–2009, the company's UK operations were sold. After the acquisition of Dendy Cinemas, a separate company involved in film distribution only in Australia continued to operate as Icon Film Distribution, using the original logo and still owned by Gibson and Davey.
Icon started when Gibson was having trouble in financing the 1990 film Hamlet. According to Davey:
|“||Mel wanted to make Hamlet and the (Hollywood) agent he had who was helping him with it lasted about five minutes. It's pretty hard to get someone to give you money to make Hamlet. I told him that if he wanted to make this happen, someone had to roll up their sleeves and find the (financing) and he asked me if I wanted to have a crack at it and I agreed.||”|
Unlike most other independents, Icon has always financed most of its development and packaging costs internally, mainly by Gibson, allowing it to retain creative control of projects through production. Felicia's Journey director Atom Egoyan praised the company's creative independence and risk-taking:
|“||Mel's dream was to create an alternative to the studio system and make films free of interference. He's been able to use his celebrity status to set up a really viable company. Icon is able to take risks that studios won't broach.||”|
Gibson has explained that the company's name was chosen because icon means "image" in Greek, and that the inspiration came from a book on Russian icons in his den. The logo's artwork features a small crop of the mother's left eye from the Theotokos of Vladimir icon, an Eastern Orthodox icon of Mary, mother of Jesus.
The company also produced films in the UK and Australia and distributed cinema films through its British subsidiary and its Australian subsidiary. It also owned a library of over 250 film titles. After the financial success of The Passion of the Christ, there was frequent mention of the ability of Icon to function as a mini-studio. However, Bruce Davey downplayed those expectations, saying, "The last thing we want is to become a studio. We don't want to become that top heavy. We want to be independent and passionate. We don't want to lose the magic".
In September 2008, Davey and Gibson started negotiations for the sale of the Icon international sales and film distribution arms along with the Majestic library. UK operations were sold to US-based industrial group Access Industries (founded by Leonard Blavatnik), with former UK Film Council chairman Stewart Till as new CEO and equity holder in the business. The new company would continue to use the Icon name and would have a three-year first-look deal with Icon Productions to handle the international rights to its productions. The sale was completed in November 2009. The deal included Icon’s international sales company, the distribution operation based in the UK, and the Majestic Films & Television library, but not the Los Angeles operation Icon Productions LLC, which Gibson still owned outright with Davey, who relocated to Australia, nor the Dendy Cinemas were part of the acquisition deal.
Current US operation
As at June 2018, Gibson and Davey were still running Icon Productions LLC. The company had sued the producer of their film The Professor and the Madman for breach of contract, but on 19 June 2018, Judge Ruth Kwan of the Los Angeles County Superior Court did not allow this, saying that there was not enough evidence.
In November 2011, Icon announced it was closing its UK distribution wing, with Lionsgate said to be in talks to buy its back catalogue. In late 2012, Icon Productions acquired the library of Producers Sales Organization from Lionsgate. In 2013, it was announced that Icon UK could get backing from film fund Prescience. Earlier, the unit hired Exclusive Media (later AMBI Group) to represent its library, and Lionsgate UK would distribute future Icon titles as a result of restructuring the company to solely finance and produce films and eliminate distribution. In September 2013, Icon Film Distribution UK was purchased by investment company New Sparta.
In September 2017, After a strings of box office bombs back in 2016, Icon Film Distribution UK was put up for sale by New Sparta. In March 2018, Icon Film Distribution UK was acquired by Kaleidoscope Film Distribution.
- Hamlet (1990)
- Forever Young (1992)
- Airborne (1993)
- The Man Without a Face (1993)
- Immortal Beloved (1994)
- Maverick (1994)
- Braveheart (1995)
- Dad and Dave: On Our Selection (1995)
- 187 (1997)
- Anna Karenina (1997)
- FairyTale: A True Story (1997)
- Felicia's Journey (1999)
- An Ideal Husband (1999)
- Payback (1999)
- Beyond Blunderdome (1999)
- Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)
- Bless the Child (2000)
- Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000)
- The Magic Pudding (2000)
- The Million Dollar Hotel (2000)
- The Miracle Maker (2000) (as Icon Entertainment International) (with the participation of)
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad (July 14, 2000) (Released in United Kingdom)
- What Women Want (2000)
- We Were Soldiers (2002)
- The Singing Detective (2003)
- Paparazzi (2004)
- The Passion of the Christ (2004)
- Romance & Cigarettes (2005) (as Icon Entertainment International) (in association with)
- Apocalypto (2006)
- Black Sheep (2006)
- Butterfly on a Wheel (2007)
- Seraphim Falls (2007)
- The Black Balloon (2008) (as Icon Entertainment International) (presents)
- Dragon Hunters (2008) (as Icon Entertainment International) (UK home video only)
- Hunger (2008)
- Infestation (2009)
- Mary and Max (2009)
- Nowhere Boy (2009)
- Push (2009)
- Triangle (2009) (as Icon Entertainment International)
- Buried (2010)
- Edge of Darkness (2010)
- The Way (2010)
- Coriolanus (2011)
- Get the Gringo (2012)
- Upside Down (2012) (UK and Ireland home video distribution only)
- You're Next (2013) (international distribution only)
- Postman Pat: The Movie (2014)
- Stonehearst Asylum (2014)
- Mr. Holmes (2015)
- The Neon Demon (2016)
- The Nice Guys (2016) (UK and Ireland distribution only)
- Road Games (2016) (UK and Ireland distribution only)
- City of Tiny Lights (2016) (UK and Ireland distribution only)
- Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
- Finding Fatimah (2017)
- The Jungle Bunch (2017)
- Hotel Mumbai (2018) (Australian distribution only)
- The Professor and the Madman (2019)
- The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection (2020)
- Clubhouse (2004 TV series) (in association with Spelling Television)
- Complete Savages (2004 TV series) (in association with Nothing Can Go Wrong Now Productions and Universal Network Television)
- Evel Knievel (2004 TV movie) (in association with Jaffe/Braunstein Films and Turner Network Television)
- Kevin Hill (2004 TV series) (in association with O'Taye Productions and Touchstone Television)
- Carrier (2008 TV series) (with Carrier Project)
- Kim Williamson (August 1997). "Australian Native Sons Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey of Icon Bring It All Back Home". Box Office Magazine. Archived from the original on 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
- "Mel Gibson Sells UK Arm Of His Icon Group". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 3 February 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
- Robert Lusetich (2008-05-15). "Still magic after 20 years with Mel Gibson at Icon". Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- Brian D. Johnson (2006-12-25). "Mad Mel's passion for vengeance". Maclean’s.
- Stephen Galloway (2004-11-15). "Australian Dialogue: Mel Gibson & Bruce Davey". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
- Pip Bulbeck (2008-02-23). "Icon expands in Australia with Dendy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
- Garry Maddox (September 10, 2008). "Mel Gibson lets go of the steering wheel". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
- Stuart Kemp (September 8, 2008). "Stewart Till takes control of Icon Group". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
- "Mel Gibson Sues Producer for Sabotaging "Labor of Love" Film". The Hollywood Reporter. 31 July 2017. Archived from the original on 24 December 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
- Gardner, Eriq (20 June 2018). "Mel Gibson Loses Court Bid to Reclaim Rights to 'Madman' Film". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
- Jeremy Kay (November 1, 2009). "Stewart Till closes deal to buy Icon UK, Icon International". Screen International. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- Stuart Kemp (November 1, 2009). "Stewart Till finalizes Icon Group deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- "About Icon Films". Icon Film Distribution. Archived from the original on 2 February 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
- Shoard, Catherine. "Icon stops UK distribution and axes London jobs". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
- Tartaglione, Nancy; Utichi, Joe (25 March 2013). "Cannes' New UK Buyer? Icon Could Resurface With Backing From Prescience". Deadline. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
- Tartaglione, Nancy (23 September 2013). "Icon Film Distribution Relaunches In UK Following Acquisition By New Sparta". Deadline. Retrieved 23 April 2016.