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Millennium Films prior to 2017
Nu Image is an American film studio that was founded by Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Danny Dimbort, and Danny Lerner in 1992. The company produces action films, most of which are filmed primarily in South Africa and Bulgaria (by 2005 acquired Nu Boyana Film Studios), among other locations. In 1996, the company launched a subsidiary label called Millennium Films, now called Millennium Media.
Nu Metro Entertainment
In the mid-1980's, The Cannon Group, Inc. began expanding its operation into Africa, taking advantage of cheap locations and labor in countries such as Zimbabwe and South Africa. Avi Lerner opened Nu Metro Entertainment, a film production company based in Johannesburg to accommodate production demands in the country. During this time, Lerner executive produced many films, such as American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt and River of Death for Cannon as well as Howling IV: The Original Nightmare for Harry Alan Towers. After pressure from anti-apartheid forces the company closed its African operation in 1988, Lerner created a new company, Nu Image, to produce original, low budget films alongside his brother Danny Lerner and other Cannon employees Trevor Short, Danny Dimbort and Boaz Davidson.
From 1992, Nu Image began multiple films a year, mainly in the action genre. Their first release was Terminator Woman in 1993. Many of the films produced went direct-to-video, however some, such as Shark Attack debuted on television. Many stars, writers and directors from The Cannon Group, Inc. appeared in films for Nu Image, including David Bradley, Michael Dudikoff, Sam Firstenberg and Billy Drago. They also built a new generation of action talent such as Bryan Genesse and Joe Lara.
However, their efforts to break into the mainstream with mockbusters such as Freefall starring Eric Roberts, Jeff Fahey and Pamela Gidley, created to capitalise on the success of Sylvester Stallone's Cliffhanger failed to make much of an impact. Freefall ended up going direct-to-video.
After the successes of creature features such as Anaconda and Deep Blue Sea released in the late 90's, Nu Image produced a spate of low budget franchises to capitalise on the trend including; Tobe Hooper's Crocodile, Shark Attack, Spiders, Killer Rats, Octopus and Raging Sharks and various sequels were produced from 1999 to 2005. While not critically successful, the films were extremely successful on television and home media.
Millennium Films & Millennium Entertainment
From the mid-2000's, Nu Image gradually began producing less films, with its subsidiary label, Millennium Films releasing more with a greater level of financing than previously and its sister company Millennium Entertainment producing the films. In 2005, it purchased Nu Boyana Film Studios in Bulgaria. One of the first films to carry the new name was the remake The Wicker Man starring Nicolas Cage. The film was a critical and commercial failure. They continued on with a focus on sequels and remakes of notable properties such as Day of the Dead and Rambo. After the commercial success of Rambo, Millennium Films enters into a multi-year deal with Lionsgate to produce several big budgeted films, the first of which was Conan the Barbarian. The deal would be extended over the years with successful box-office hits (The Mechanic) and box office bombs (The Legend of Hercules). Another notable success was Olympus Has Fallen starring Gerard Butler. The film was originally intended as a mockbuster of White House Down, however the film ended up beating that film into release and was much more profitable, spawning two sequels to date.
Millennium Entertainment was sold in August 2014. The company's library and distribution assets had been sold to a consortium consisting of its current management and Virgo Investment Group. The new owners renamed the company Alchemy in January 2015, finally cutting ties to its former sister company Millennium Films, which remained under the control of Avi Lerner. Alchemy filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on June 30, 2016.
In 2017, a deal was reached with The Recon Group, a Chinese investment firm, for them to purchase a majority stake in Millennium Films. The deal was signed and a $20 million downpayment was secured. However, the deal was later announced to be off in August 2017 due to the Chinese government clamping down on overseas business investments. The following year, the company was rebranded as Millennium Media.
Notable Films and Franchises
- Danger Zone (1996)
- Cyborg Cop (1993-1996)
- Deadly Outbreak (1996)
- Top of the World (1997)
- Bridge of Dragons (1999)
- Shark Attack (1999–2004)
- U.S. Seals II: The Ultimate Force (2001)
- Detention (2003 film)
- Raging Sharks (2005)
- Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (2006) and Undisputed III: Redemption (2010)
- The Black Dahlia (2006)
- 16 Blocks (2006)
- The Wicker Man (2006)
- 88 Minutes (2007)
- Day of the Dead (2008) and Day of the Dead: Bloodline (2018)
- Rambo (2008)
- The Prince and Me 3: A Royal Honeymoon (2008) and The Prince and Me: The Elephant Adventure (2010)
- Ninja series (2009-2013)
- Direct Contact (2009)
- The Expendables (2010)
- Drive Angry (2011)
- The Mechanic (2011)
- Conan the Barbarian (2011)
- The Expendables 2 (2012)
- Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
- The Legend of Hercules (2014)
- The Expendables 3 (2014)
- Survivor (2015)
- London Has Fallen (2016)
- Criminal (2016)
- Mechanic: Resurrection (2016)
- Security (2017)
- The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)
- Leatherface (2017)
- Hunter Killer (2018)
- Hellboy (2019)
- Angel Has Fallen (2019)
- Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
- Kill Chain (2019)
- The Outpost (2020)
- Tesla (2020)
- The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (2021)
- "Company Overview of Nu Image, Inc". businessweek.com. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- "How I Made It: Movie producer and financier Avi Lerner". LA Times.
- "Cannon Film withdraws from South Africa". UPI.
- "How I Made It: Movie producer and financier Avi Lerner". LA Times.
- "Company Credits for Terminator Woman (1993)". imdb.
- "Feature Film/TV Episode/Video/TV Movie/TV Special/TV Mini-Series/Documentary/Video Game/Short Film, with Bryan Genesse, Avi Lerner (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)". imdb.
- "Feature Film/TV Episode/Video/TV Movie/TV Special/TV Mini-Series/Documentary/Video Game/Short Film, with Joe Lara, Avi Lerner (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)". imdb.
- "ERIC ROBERTS TRIES TO OUT CLIFFHANGER STALLONE IN 'FREEFALL' (1994)". Ultimate Action Movies.
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- "Company Credits for The Wicker Man (2006)". imdb.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for September 1–3, 2006". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. September 4, 2006. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- "The Wicker Man (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "Company Credits for Day of the Dead (2008 Video)". imdb.
- "Company Credits for Rambo (2008)". imdb.
- "Rambo (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
- "Yahoo! Movies - Weekend Box Office and Buzz". Yahoo!.
- "NU IMAGE/MILLENNIUM FILMS AND LIONSGATE JOIN FORCES ON CONAN THE BARBARIAN FRANCHISE FILMS". Lionsgate.
- "The Mechanic (2011)". The Numbers. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
- "The Legend of Hercules". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
- "Olympus Has Fallen (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
- Kit, Borys (April 10, 2012). "Antoine Fuqua Circling 'Olympus' as White House Thriller Race Heats Up". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Alchemy Files For Chapter 7-Names Long List of Creditors". Deadline Hollywood.
- "China's Recon Buys 51% of Avi Lerner's Millennium Films for $100 Million". Variety. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
- "Millennium Films' Deal With China's Recon Now "Dead", Says Avi Lerner". Deadline. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
- "Chinese Firm Abandons $100M Acquisition of Avi Lerner's Millennium Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
- Evry, Max. "Rod Lurie to Direct Jake Tapper's Afghan War Story The Outpost". Comingsoon. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
- Nu Image on IMDb
- Avi Lerner’s Millennium Entertainment Up for Sale (EXCLUSIVE) on Variety.com
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