MGM Home Entertainment
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|MGM Home Video (1975–1980)
MGM/CBS Home Video (1980–1982)
MGM/UA Home Video (1982–1998)
|Home video division of MGM|
The home video division of MGM started in 1975 as MGM Home Video, releasing all the movies and TV shows by MGM. In 1980, MGM joined forces with CBS Video Enterprises, the home video division of the CBS television network, and established MGM/CBS Home Video. In October of that year, they released their first batch of Betamax and VHS tapes.
The initial printings of all 24 films were packaged in brown leather clamshell cases with gold lettering; they were presented to CBS executives. Later printings of these films, as well as all printings of later releases by MGM/CBS, were packaged in oversized gray book-style boxes with either the MGM Abstract Lion print logo or CBS Video print logo in the upper right hand corner of the packaging. MGM/CBS also issued some early tapes of Lorimar product; those releases would instead bear the Lorimar print logo where the MGM or CBS Video print logo would normally be.
In 1982, a year after MGM bought and merged with the near-bankrupt United Artists, CBS dropped out of the video partnership with MGM and moved to 20th Century Fox to create CBS/Fox Video. MGM's video division became known as MGM/UA Home Entertainment Group, Inc., more commonly known as MGM/UA Home Video. MGM/UA continued to license pre-1981 UA and pre-1950 WB films (as well as some post-1981 titles) to CBS/Fox (due to an agreement UA had with Fox years earlier dating back to when CBS/Fox Home Video was called Magnetic Video).
In 1986, MGM's pre-May 1986 library (also including the pre-1950 Warner Bros. library, Bugs Bunny: Superstar, the Fleischer Studios/Famous Studios Popeye cartoons, most US rights to the RKO Pictures library, and Gilligan's Island and its animated spin-offs), was acquired by Ted Turner and his company Turner Entertainment Co.. After the library was acquired, MGM/UA signed a deal with Turner to continue distributing the pre-May 1986 MGM and to begin distributing the pre-1950 Warner Bros. libraries for video release (the rest of the library went to Turner Home Entertainment).
In October 1990, after Pathé bought MGM, MGM/UA Home Video struck a deal with Warner Home Video to have them distribute MGM/UA titles exclusively on home video. MGM/UA began distributing the UA library after its contract with CBS/Fox ended. In 1995, MGM/UA Home Video founded the kids and family label MGM/UA Family Entertainment. In 1996, Warner made an exclusive deal with Image Entertainment to distribute MGM/UA titles on LaserDisc.
In 1997, MGM/UA began releasing its titles on DVD, just like every other major studio. Some of the films MGM released on DVD were from the Turner catalog, which they were still allowed to keep after Turner merged into Time Warner some time before because of their distribution deal. That same year, MGM acquired Orion Pictures. As a result, Orion Home Video (Orion's home video division) was bought out by MGM/UA, and was retained as an in-name-only division until the acquisition deal was finalized in 1998. In 1998, the company was renamed MGM Home Entertainment and MGM/UA Family Entertainment was renamed MGM Family Entertainment.
In March 1999, MGM paid Warner Bros. $225 million to end their distribution agreement in February 2000; the initial deal was to have expired in 2003. As a result of the deal, MGM gave up the home video rights to the MGM/UA films owned by Turner to Warner Home Video. Upon the expiration of the Warner deal, MGM sold overseas video rights to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
In 2003, MGM Family Entertainment was renamed MGM Kids.
In 2005, following MGM's acquisition by the Sony-led consortium, the company was under the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment label but not using the MGM Home Entertainment name on any releases, which has distributed the MGM library, though under the MGM label. The deal ended a year later.
In 2006, after MGM ended their distribution agreement with Sony, they announced that they would be signing a new distribution deal with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Originally, DVD releases of MGM/UA and Columbia TriStar co-releases continued to be distributed by SPHE, since Sony then still owned 20% of MGM, whereas Fox has no controlling interest; however, Fox has since released DVD editions of films based on MGM IPs. On April 14, 2011, Fox's deal distributing the MGM library is extended until the end of 2016. On June 27, 2016, Fox's deal distributing the MGM library is extended again until June 2020.
In 2008, MGM Kids was discontinued and was folded into MGM Home Entertainment, but on October 5, 2010, MGM Kids was revived.
In 2010, parent company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had emerged from bankruptcy. As of 2011, MGM no longer releases or markets its own movies. Instead, MGM now resorts to co-distributing with other studios that handle all distribution and marketing for MGM's projects. Since then, only some of the MGM's most recent movies, such as Skyfall, Red Dawn, Carrie, RoboCop, If I Stay, Poltergeist and Spectre have all been released on DVD and Blu-ray by its home video output and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Others, such as The Hobbit, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Hercules, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Creed, 22 Jump Street, Ben-Hur and The Magnificent Seven have been released by the home video output of the co-distributor, in this case Warner Home Video, Paramount Home Media Distribution and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment respectively. MGM also did not release Orion Pictures' remake of The Town That Dreaded Sundown on DVD or Blu-ray. That title was released by Image Entertainment.
In 2011, MGM launched the "MGM Limited Edition Collection", a manufactured-on-demand (MOD) DVD service that puts out unreleased and out-of-print titles from the MGM-owned library. Its releases are sold through the Warner Archive Collection.
Here is the list of distributors that managed to distribute MGM/CBS Home Video, MGM/UA Home Video and MGM Home Entertainment titles:
- CBS Video (1979–1982, except in Australia)
- Publishing and Broadcasting Video (1980–1999, Australia)
- Warner Home Video (1990–1999, 1999–present for the pre-May 1986 MGM and a.a.p. libraries now owned by Turner Entertainment Co.)
- 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2000–2003, 2006–2020 Australia, 2006–2020 worldwide)
- Shock DVD (2004–present, selected catalogue in Australia)
- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2005–2006)
- Roadshow Entertainment (1982–present, in New Zealand)
Through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (until the end in June 2020), MGM Home Entertainment handles distribution of:
- The post-April 1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer library
- United Artists, including:
- Orion Pictures, including:
- Filmways, including:
- MCEG Sterling Entertainment
- The Samuel Goldwyn Company, including:
- Motion Picture Corporation of America (1986–1996 library)
- PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (pre-March 31, 1996 library), including:
- The Virgin Films/Palace Pictures catalog
- Island Pictures, including:
- CDR's Epic library
- The Cannon Group, Inc.
- 21st Century Film Corporation
- The Embassy Pictures library under license from StudioCanal
- The libraries of ABC Motion Pictures and Selznick International Pictures under license from ABC/Disney
- Arrow Films
- The Criterion Collection
- Image Entertainment
- Kino International
- Olive Films
- Shout! Factory
- Twilight Time
- Warner Archive
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