PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
|Fate||Sold to Seagram, merged into Universal Studios|
|Headquarters||Universal City, California & London, England|
MCA Inc. (1998–2000)
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE) (originally known as PolyGram Films and PolyGram Pictures) was a film studio, founded in 1980, which became a European competitor to Hollywood, but eventually sold to The Seagram Company in 1998 and folded in 2000.
Among its most successful films were An American Werewolf In London (1981), Flashdance (1983), Batman (1989), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Dead Man Walking (1995), Fargo (1996), Trainspotting (1996) and Notting Hill (1999).
The music company PolyGram (owned by Dutch-based Philips and Germany's Siemens) created PolyGram Pictures in 1980 as a partnership with film producer Peter Guber. It was a spin-off of sorts to Casablanca FilmWorks, the film unit of PolyGram's Casablanca Records which Guber previously ran and had success with The Deep and Midnight Express. PolyGram reserved the finances and Guber would run as CEO. Guber would form a partnership with Barbra Streisand's hairdresser Jon Peters, who co-produced his client's A Star Is Born remake. Peters would produce PolyGram's films, and eventually become a stockholder with Guber.
Its first film was King of the Mountain (1981), which was a box-office flop. More money-losers followed. Ancillary markets such as home video and pay television were not yet established, and broadcast television networks were paying less for licenses to films. PolyGram's European investors were not happy; they had lost about $80 million on its film division. Not long after, Siemens parted with Philips. Guber and Peters left PolyGram Pictures in 1982, taking their plans for a new Batman movie with them, along with a few other projects. The duo eventually found a home at Warner Bros. As part of their exit proceedings, PolyGram would still own 7.5% of profits from some of its projects, including the Batman film.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, PolyGram continued to invest in a diversified film unit with the purchases of individual production companies. In 1991, PolyGram's Michael Kuhn became the head of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, with US$200 million pumped in with the intention of developing a European film studio that could produce and distribute films internationally on a scale to match the major Hollywood studios.
Following the style of its music business, the company produced films through a number of creatively semi-autonomous 'labels', such as Working Title Films in the UK and Propaganda Films and Interscope Communications in the United States; It also built up its own network of distribution companies.
Film production within PolyGram differed from traditional Hollywood studios, in that power to make ('green light') a film was not centralised in the hands of a small number of executives, but instead was decided by negotiations between producers, management and marketing. Kuhn claimed that "movies sort of green lit themselves."
PolyGram also built up a sizable film and television library that could be profitable. The company purchased ITC Entertainment in 1995. Through this purchase, PolyGram acquired 350 feature films, several thousand hours of television programming, and gained further access into the television market. In 1997, PFE agreed to purchase over a thousand feature films held by Credit Lyonnais Bank for $225 million. PolyGram also attempted purchasing MGM and The Samuel Goldwyn Company's library, but to no avail.
PFE was based in the United Kingdom, and invested heavily in British film making — some credit it with reviving the British film industry in the 1990s. Despite a successful production history, Philips decided to sell PolyGram to the beverage (liquor) conglomerate Seagram in 1998.
Only interested in PolyGram's music operations, Seagram, which at the time controlled Universal Pictures, looked forward to divesting in PFE. After being dissatisfied with offers to buy the studio (including a joint venture between Canal+ and Artisan Entertainment), Seagram opted to sell off individual assets and folded whatever remained into Universal. in 1998, Seagram sold the bulk of its library of films released up until March 31, 1996 to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the ITC library was sold to Carlton Communications. Some of PFE's North American distribution assets were sold to USA Networks. Universal owns the rest of the post-1996 films and PolyGram Television.
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment took over the distribution of Manga Entertainment's titles in Australia and New Zealand in late 1996 after Siren Entertainment's license to the Manga Video catalogue expired, but PolyGram lost the license to the Manga Video catalogue in 1998 after Madman Entertainment took over the licenses. This was due to Manga Entertainment being moved from Island Records to Palm Pictures.
- Working Title Films (UK), acquired by PFE in 1991.
- Propaganda Films (US), acquired by PFE in 1991.
- Interscope Communications (US), acquied by PFE in 1994.
- Gramercy Pictures (US), acquired by PFE in 1992.
- ITC Entertainment (UK), acquired by PFE in 1995.
- Rogue Pictures (US), acquired by PFE in 1997.
- A&M Films (theatrical film division of A&M Records)
- Island Pictures (theatrical film division of Island Records), acquired Dec. 1994.
- Cinéa (France)
- PolyGram Video
- PolyGram Television
In 1992, PolyGram partnered with Universal Pictures to create a joint venture called Gramercy Pictures. Gramercy primarily distributed PolyGram films in the USA, and it doubled as a specialty label for Universal. In 1997, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment Distribution was founded to release PFE's mainstream titles in the USA, while Gramercy became a low-budget sublabel. After PolyGram's merger with Universal in 1999, the company merged Gramercy with October Films to create USA Films, which eventually became Focus Features.
Among the films directly produced by PFE were:
|May 30, 1980||The Hollywood Knights||co-production with Columbia Pictures|
|May 1, 1981||King of the Mountain||released by Universal Pictures|
|July 17, 1981||Endless Love||co-production with Universal Pictures|
|August 14, 1981||Deadly Blessing||released by United Artists|
|August 21, 1981||An American Werewolf in London||co-production with Universal Pictures|
|November 13, 1981||The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper||co-production with Universal Pictures|
|March 12, 1982||Missing||co-production with Universal Pictures|
|October 3, 1982||Split Image||released by Orion Pictures|
|December 24, 1982||Six Weeks||released by Universal Pictures|
|April 15, 1983||Flashdance||co-production with Paramount Pictures|
|December 13, 1985||A Chorus Line||co-production with Columbia Pictures and Embassy Pictures|
|December 13, 1985||Clue||co-production with Paramount Pictures|
|April 22, 1988||The Blue Iguana||co-production with Paramount Pictures|
|March 24, 1989||Troop Beverly Hills||co-production with Weintraub Entertainment Group|
|June 23, 1989||Batman||co-production with Warner Bros.|
|December 8, 1989||Fear, Anxiety & Depression||released by The Samuel Goldwyn Company|
|July 27, 1990||Chicago Joe and the Showgirl||co-production with New Line Cinema and Working Title Films|
|August 17, 1990||Wild at Heart||co-production with the Samuel Goldwyn Company|
|September 14, 1990||Fools of Fortune||co-production with New Line Cinema|
|April 19, 1991||Drop Dead Fred||co-production with New Line Cinema and Working Title Films|
|November 1991||Driving Me Crazy||co-production with Motion Picture Corporation of America|
|January 17, 1992||A Gnome Named Gnorm||co-production with Vestron Pictures|
|March 27, 1992||Ruby||co-production with Triumph Films|
|June 19, 1992||Batman Returns||co-production with Warner Bros.|
|August 7, 1992||London Kills Me||co-production with Fine Line Features|
|September 4, 1992||Bob Roberts||distributed by Paramount Pictures; co-production with Miramax, Live Entertainment and Working Title Films|
|October 16, 1992||Candyman||co-production with TriStar Pictures|
|April 23, 1993||Map of the Human Heart||distributed by Miramax; co-production with Working Title Films|
|May 14, 1993||Posse||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|August 20, 1993||The Ballad of Little Jo||co-production with Fine Line Features|
|September 3, 1993||Kalifornia||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|October 8, 1993||The Young Americans||distributed by Live Entertainment; co-production with Working Title Films|
|November 5, 1993||A Home of Our Own||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|January 7, 1994||The Air Up There||distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|February 4, 1994||Romeo Is Bleeding||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|March 9, 1994||Four Weddings and a Funeral||co-production with Working Title Films and Channel Four Films|
|March 11, 1994||The Hudsucker Proxy||distributed by Warner Bros.; co-production with Working Title Films and Silver Pictures|
|April 8, 1994||Holy Matrimony||distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|April 15, 1994||Backbeat||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|May 6, 1994||Dream Lover||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|August 10, 1994||The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|September 23, 1994||Terminal Velocity||distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|September 28, 1994||Jason's Lyric||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|January 20, 1995||S.F.W.||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|February 10, 1995||Shallow Grave||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|March 17, 1995||Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|May 3, 1995||Panther||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|May 5, 1995||French Kiss||distributed by 20th Century Fox; co-production with Working Title Films|
|June 16, 1995||Batman Forever||distributed by Warner Bros.|
|July 28, 1995||Operation Dumbo Drop||distributed by Walt Disney Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|August 16, 1995||The Usual Suspects||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|September 22, 1995||Canadian Bacon||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|September 29, 1995||Moonlight and Valentino||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|November 3, 1995||Home for the Holidays||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|November 10, 1995||Carrington||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|December 29, 1995||Dead Man Walking||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|December 29, 1995||Mr. Holland's Opus||distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|February 23, 1996||La Haine||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|March 22, 1996||Jack and Sarah||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Granada Productions and Le Studio Canal +|
|March 22, 1996||Land and Freedom||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|April 5, 1996||Fargo||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|May 3, 1996||Barb Wire||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|May 31, 1996||Eddie||distributed by Hollywood Pictures; co-production with Island Pictures|
|July 17, 1996||Kazaam||co-production with Touchstone Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|July 19, 1996||Trainspotting||distributed by Miramax Films co-production with Channel Four Films|
|September 20, 1996||Loch Ness||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|October 18, 1996||Sleepers||co-production with Propaganda Films
distributed by Warner Bros. in North America
|October 18, 1996||Jude||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|December 24, 1996||The Portrait of a Lady||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Propaganda Films|
|January 10, 1997||The Relic||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|January 29, 1997||Gridlock'd||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Interscope Communications|
|February 14, 1997||When We Were Kings||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|April 11, 1997||Keys to Tulsa||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|May 9, 1997||Twin Town||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|June 20, 1997||Batman & Robin||co-production with Warner Bros.|
|August 24, 1997||Snow White: A Tale of Terror||co-production with Interscope Communications|
|September 12, 1997||The Game||co-production with Propaganda Films|
|September 19, 1997||Going All the Way||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|October 3, 1997||The MatchMaker||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|October 24, 1997||A Life Less Ordinary||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|November 7, 1997||Bean||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|January 16, 1998||Hard Rain||distributed by Paramount Pictures; co-production with BBC Films, Mutual Film Company, Nordisk Film and Toho|
|January 23, 1998||Spice World||distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment; co-production with Icon Productions and Columbia Pictures|
|February 13, 1998||The Borrowers||co-production with Working Title Films|
|February 26, 1998||Dead Letter Office|
|March 6, 1998||The Big Lebowski||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films|
|March 27, 1998||No Looking Back||distributed by Gramercy Pictures|
|March 27, 1998||The Proposition||co-production with Interscope Communications|
|March 27, 1998||Barney's Great Adventure||co-production with Lyrick Studios|
|May 1, 1998||Wilde||distributed by Sony Pictures Classics; co-production with BBC Films, Capitol Films and Pony Canyon|
|May 29, 1998||The Last Days of Disco||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with Castle Rock Entertainment|
|August 14, 1998||Return to Paradise||co-production with Propaganda Films|
|October 2, 1998||What Dreams May Come||co-production with Interscope Communications|
|November 13, 1998||Thursday||co-production with Propaganda Films|
|November 22, 1998||Elizabeth||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with StudioCanal, Working Title Films, and Channel Four Films|
|November 25, 1998||Very Bad Things||co-production with Interscope Communications|
|January 29, 1999||The Hi-Lo Country||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with StudioCanal, and Working Title Films|
|February 1999||Choke||co-production with Propaganda Films|
|March 5, 1999||Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels||distributed by Gramercy Pictures; co-production with The Steve Tisch Company, SKA Films, HandMade Films, and Summit Entertainment|
|May 28, 1999||Notting Hill||distributed by Universal Pictures; co-production with Working Title Films and StudioCanal|
|July 9, 1999||Arlington Road||distributed by Screen Gems; co-prodcution with Lakeshore Entertainment|
|October 1, 1999||Plunkett & Macleane||distributed by USA Films; co-production with StudioCanal and Working Title Films|
|October 29, 1999||Being John Malkovich||distributed by USA Films co-production with Propaganda Films|
|February 18, 2000||Pitch Black||distributed by USA Films; co-production with and Interscope Communications|
|March 24, 2000||Waking the Dead||distributed by USA Films|
|April 14, 2000||Where the Money Is||distributed by USA Films|
|July 28, 2000||Wonderland||distributed by USA Films|
- 100 Films and a Funeral, a documentary film about the rise and fall of PFE.
- Griffin, Nancy and Masters, Kim (1996). "Hit and Run" (pp. 100-116). New York: Touchstone, a Simon & Schuster company.
- Apodaca, Patrice (1995-02-21). "Screen Play : PolyGram Hopes to Bolster Its Hollywood Presence With Purchase of Once-Venerable ITC Entertainment - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- "ITC Entertainment Sold to Polygram for $156 Million - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1987-11-24. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- Fabrikant, Geraldine (1996-07-17). "Kerkorian Group Plans to Buy MGM Studio for $1.3 Billion - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- "Company News;Polygram Said To Drop Goldwyn Offer - New York Times". Nytimes.com. 1996-01-31. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- Eller, Claudia (October 9, 1998). "Seagram May Settle for Sale of Film Library". Los Angeles Times.
- Eller, Claudia (1998-10-23). "MGM Agrees to Acquire PolyGram Movie Library - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- Thal, Peter (1999-01-20). "Carlton pays $150m for film library - Business - News". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- "USA Will Buy Some Seagram Film Assets". Los Angeles Times. April 8, 1999.
- Eller, Claudia (1997-05-03). "PolyGram Unit to Distribute Films in U.S. - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- Michael Kuhn, One Hundred Films and a Funeral: The Life and Death of Polygram Films, Thorogood, 2002. ISBN 1-85418-216-1.