Page semi-protected

New Line Cinema

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

New Line Productions, Inc.
New Line Cinema
IndustryMotion pictures
FoundedJune 18, 1967; 54 years ago (1967-06-18) in New York City, United States
FounderRobert Shaye
Headquarters4000 Warner Blvd, ,
United States
Key people
ParentWarner Bros. Pictures Group
(Warner Bros.)
Footnotes / references

New Line Productions, Inc., doing business as New Line Cinema, is an American film production studio and a label of the Warner Bros. Pictures Group division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. It was founded in 1967 by Robert Shaye as an independent film distribution company, later becoming a film studio. It was acquired by Turner Broadcasting System in 1994; Turner later merged with Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) in 1996, and New Line was merged with Warner Bros. Pictures in 2008.[3]


New Line Cinema was established in 1967 by the then 27-year-old Robert Shaye as a film distribution company, supplying foreign and art films for college campuses in the United States. Shaye operated New Line's offices out of his apartment at 14th Street and Second Avenue in New York City. One of the company's early successes was its distribution of the 1936 anti-cannabis propaganda film Reefer Madness, which became a cult hit on American college campuses in the early 1970s. New Line also released many classic foreign-language films, like Stay As You Are, Immoral Tales and Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (which became the first New Line film to win an Oscar).[4] The studio has also released many of the films of John Waters.

In 1976, New Line secured funding to produce its first full-length feature, Stunts (1977), directed by Mark Lester. Although not considered a critical success, the film performed well commercially on the international market and on television.[5]

In 1980, Shaye's law school classmate Michael Lynne became outside counsel and adviser to the company and renegotiated its debt.[4][6]

In 1983, Bryanston Distributing Company, the company that originally distributed the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, lost the rights to that film, and the rights reverted to the original owners, New Line bought the rights and re-released the film to theatres in that same year became very successful for the studio.[7]

New Line expanded its film production in the early 1980s, producing or co-producing films including Polyester, directed by John Waters, and Alone in the Dark. Polyester was one of the first films to introduce a novelty cinema experience named Odorama, where members of the audience were provided with a set of "scratch and sniff" cards to be scratched and sniffed at specific times during the film, which provided an additional sensory connection to the viewed image.[5] In 1983, Lynne joined the board.[4]

A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street was produced and released by New Line in 1984. The resulting franchise was New Line's first commercially successful series, leading the company to be nicknamed "The House that Freddy Built". The film was made on a budget of $1.8 million and grossed over $57 million.[8] A year later, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge was released, and grossed $3.3 million in its first three days of release and over $30 million at the US box office. In 1986, the company went public.[4]

The third film in the series, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, was released in 1987, the studio's first national release,[9] and opened at number one, grossing $8.9 million for the weekend, a record for an independent film at the time,[10] and went on to gross almost $45 million at the US box office. A further six films have been made. The first six grossed $500 million worldwide[8] and the next three $250 million, for a total of $750 million.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

In 1990, Lynne became president and chief operating officer, with Shaye as chairman and chief executive officer.[4] The same year, New Line released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which became the highest-grossing independent film of all-time with a gross of $135 million in the United States and Canada.[11][12] It was followed by a sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991) which was the second highest-grossing[13] with a gross of $78 million in the United States and Canada.[14] A third, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III followed in 1993.


In November 1990, New Line purchased a 52% stake in the television production company RHI Entertainment (now Sonar Entertainment), which would later be sold to Hallmark Cards in 1994.

In early 1991, Fine Line Features was set up as a wholly owned subsidiary headed by Ira Deutchman and released films including Jane Campion's An Angel at My Table and Gus van Sant's My Own Private Idaho.[15] Halfway through the year, Carolco Pictures, entered into a joint venture with New Line to start Seven Arts, a distribution company which primarily released much of Carolco's low-budget output.[16] In 1997, Shine received the studio's first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture[4] and their second film to win an Academy Award with Geoffrey Rush's win for Academy Award for Best Actor.[17]

In May 1991, New Line purchased the home video and foreign rights to 600 films held by Sultan Entertainment Holdings (aka Nelson Entertainment Group). The deal also included an 11-film distribution deal with Turner subsidiary Castle Rock Entertainment. On November 27, 1991, New Line purchased Sultan outright.[18][19]

In 1992, Michael De Luca became executive vice-president and chief executive officer of the production unit.[20]

Acquisition by Turner and Time Warner

On January 28, 1994, New Line Cinema was acquired by the Turner Broadcasting System for $500 million,[21][22] which later merged with Time Warner in 1996. New Line Cinema was kept as its own separate entity, while fellow Turner-owned studios Hanna-Barbera Productions and Castle Rock Entertainment eventually became units of Warner Bros.

During its time as an entity separate from Warner Bros., New Line Cinema continued to operate several divisions, including theatrical distribution, marketing and home video.

The company's fortunes took a downturn in 1996 after losses on The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Long Kiss Goodnight.[6] In 1999, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me became the company's highest grosser (and the highest-grossing independent film).

The Lord of the Rings

New Line produced The Lord of the Rings film trilogy which became their most successful films to date, grossing over $2.9 billion worldwide.[4] The films were nominated for 30 Academy Awards, including nominations for the Academy Award for Best Picture for each film, and won 17, with the final picture, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) winning a (joint) record eleven, including Best Picture,[4][23] as well as being the second highest-grossing film of all time at the time of its release.[24]

Despite the success of The Lord of the Rings films, Town and Country (2001) generated a loss of $100 million and De Luca left as production head to be replaced by Toby Emmerich.[6] In 2001, Shaye and Lynne became co-chairmen and co-CEO.[4]

The studio was also a partner in founding a new distribution company named Picturehouse in 2005. Specializing in independent film, Picturehouse was formed by Bob Berney, who left distributor Newmarket Films, New Line, who folded their Fine Line division into Picturehouse, and HBO Films, a division of HBO and a subsidiary of Time Warner, who was interested in getting into the theatrical film business.

Merger with Warner Bros.

On February 28, 2008, Time Warner's CEO at the time, Jeffrey Bewkes, announced that New Line would be shut down as a separately operated studio. Shaye and Lynne said that they would step down with a letter to their employees. They promised, however, along with Time Warner and Jeffery Bewkes, that the company would continue to operate its financing, producing, marketing and distributing operations of its own films, but would do so as a part of Warner Bros. and be a smaller studio, releasing a smaller number of films than in past years.[25] The box office disappointment of The Golden Compass was largely blamed for the decision, in which New Line spent $180 million on its development, yet it only grossed $70 million in the United States market.[26] In March, Emmerich became president and chief operating officer, whilst both founders Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne had left the company.

On May 8, 2008, it was announced that Picturehouse would shut down in the fall.[27] Berney later bought the Picturehouse trademarks from Warner Bros. and relaunched the company in 2013.[28]

New Line moved from its long-time headquarters on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles in June 2014 to Warner Bros.' lot Building 76, formerly used by Legendary Entertainment, a former Warner Bros. film co-financier.[29] The last film released by New Line Cinema as a free-standing company was the Will Ferrell film Semi-Pro.

As for the company's future, Alan Horn, the Warner Bros. president at the time of the consolidation, stated, "There's no budget number required. They'll be doing about six per year, though the number may go from four to seven; it's not going to be 10." As to content, "New Line will not just be doing genre [...] There's no mandate to make a particular kind of movie."[30]


Highest-grossing films

Rank Title Year Domestic gross Worldwide gross Notes
1 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King* 2003 $377,845,905 $1,142,456,987
2 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers* 2002 $342,551,365 $943,396,133
3 It 2017 $327,481,748 $701,796,444 Distributed by Warner Bros.; co-production with Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, KatzSmith Productions and RatPac-Dune Entertainment
4 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring* 2001 $315,544,750 $888,159,092
5 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 2012 $303,003,568 $1,017,003,568 Distributed by Warner Bros.; co-production with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
6 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 2013 $258,366,855 $958,366,855 Distributed by Warner Bros.; co-production with Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
7 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 2014 $253,161,689 $956,019,788 Distributed by Warner Bros.; co-production with Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
8 Rush Hour 2 2001 $226,164,286 $347,325,802
9 Austin Powers in Goldmember 2002 $213,307,889 $296,938,801
10 Wedding Crashers 2005 $209,255,921 $288,467,645
11 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me 1999 $206,040,086 $312,016,928
12 Elf 2003 $173,398,518 $221,845,341
13 Straight Outta Compton 2015 $161,197,785 $201,634,991 Distributed by Universal Pictures; co-production with Legendary Pictures
14 San Andreas 2015 $155,190,832 $473,990,832 Distributed by Warner Bros.; co-production with Village Roadshow Pictures and RatPac-Dune Entertainment
15 Sex and the City 2008 $152,647,258 $418,765,321 Distributed by Warner Bros.; co-production with HBO Films
16 We're the Millers 2013 $150,394,119 $269,994,119 Distributed by Warner Bros.
17 Rush Hour 1998 $141,186,864 $244,386,864
18 Rush Hour 3 2007 $140,125,968 $258,097,122
19 Shazam! 2019 $139,630,393 $365,971,656 Distributed by Warner Bros.; co-production with DC Films, The Safran Company and Seven Bucks Productions
20 The Conjuring 2013 $137,400,141 $319,494,638 Distributed by Warner Bros.
21 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990 $135,265,915 $201,965,915
22 Central Intelligence 2016 $127,440,871 $216,972,543 Distributed by Warner Bros.
23 Dumb and Dumber 1994 $127,175,374 $247,275,374
24 Mr. Deeds 2002 $126,293,452 $171,269,535 studio credit; Distributed by Columbia Pictures
25 The Mask 1994 $119,938,730 $351,583,407

*Includes theatrical reissue(s).

See also


  1. ^ "New Line Productions Inc - Company Profile and News - Bloomberg Markets". Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "Warner Bros. Entertainment Executives". WarnerMedia. Archived from the original on July 14, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  3. ^ "History of New Line Cinema, Inc. – FundingUniverse". Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Collins, Keith (August 22, 2004). "A brief history". Variety. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "New Line Cinema : About Us". Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Hafetz, David (August 22, 2004). "The Two Towers". Variety. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  7. ^ Bozman, Ron (Production manager) (2008). The Business of Chain Saw: Interview with Ron Bozman from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (DVD). Dark Sky Films. Event occurs at 0:11:40–0:16:25.
  8. ^ a b Mitchell, Chris (August 10, 1992). "Shrewd marketing fuels Freddy promotion". Variety. p. 36.
  9. ^ Silverman, Michael (May 21, 1986). "New Line Adds 2 In-House Pics To Production Schedule For '87". Variety. p. 7.
  10. ^ "'Elm Street 3' Sets Indie B.O. Record; National Biz Lively". Variety. March 4, 1987. p. 3.
  11. ^ "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  12. ^ "'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles': Untold Story of the Movie "Every Studio in Hollywood" Rejected". The Hollywood Reporter. April 2, 2015. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  13. ^ "In Winners Circle". Daily Variety. August 17, 1993. p. I-49.
  14. ^ "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (1991)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  15. ^ Eller, Claudia (October 24, 1991). "Fine Line Features Enters Coprod'n Arena Via 2 Pix". Daily Variety. p. 1.
  16. ^ Carolco, New Line in Distribution Agreement
  17. ^ "The Line on Laurels". Variety. August 23, 2004. pp. 40–41.
  18. ^ "Nightmares, Turtles And Profits". September 29, 1991. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  20. ^ "Shifts At New Line". Variety. October 26, 1992. p. 6.
  21. ^ "New Line to Join Ted Turner Empire Today : Film: With more money, the company is likely to add a few big movies to its annual production schedule". Los Angeles Times. January 28, 1994. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  22. ^ "Robert Shaye". Daily Variety (61st anniversary ed.). January 12, 1995. p. 28.
  23. ^ "The 76th Academy Awards (2004) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on September 29, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  24. ^ "All Time Worldwide Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on June 5, 2004.
  25. ^ Billington, Alex (February 28, 2008). "It's Official – New Line Cinema is Dead!". Archived from the original on March 2, 2008.
  26. ^ "Dial 'D' for disaster: The fall of New Line Cinema". The Independent. London. April 16, 2008.
  27. ^ Hayes, Dade; McNary, Dave (May 8, 2008). "Picturehouse, WIP to close shop". Variety.
  28. ^ Fleming, Mike (January 15, 2013). "The Berneys are Back with Picturehouse, and Now They've got Metallica". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  29. ^ McNary, Dave (January 30, 2014). "New Line Leaving Longtime Los Angeles HQ, Moving to Burbank". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  30. ^ McNary, Dave (June 27, 2008). "New Line still has irons in fire". Variety.

External links