A Guide to Movie Rights or Who Owns ____?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Patrick McCart, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    In lieu of explaining who owns what movies in threads over and over again, why not have a sticky thread that people can use for reference? You can add information in replies and it'll be added to this main thread. How about it?

    ORIGINAL STUDIOS:

    20th Century Fox
    - Almost entirely still in ownership, unless it's lost (like Four Devils).
    - Some titles licensed to Criterion.
    - Some titles licensed to Anchor Bay.

    American International Pictures
    - Part of Orion Pictures catalog, which is handled by MGM Home Entertainment.
    - Soon to be controlled by Sony/Columbia
    - pre-1959 films owned by Arkoff/Nicholson Estates (distributed by Sony/Columbia)

    ABC Pictures
    - Part of Disney/Buena Vista.
    - Some titles licensed to Anchor Bay (all now OOP)
    - Some titles licensed to Criterion (all now OOP)
    - Some titles licensed to MGM Home Entertainment
    - Package includes most Selznick International Pictures films.

    Buena Vista/Walt Disney
    - All owned by Buena Vista/Walt Disney Pictures.
    - This includes Buena Vista, Walt Disney, Touchstone, and Hollywood Pictures films
    - Some titles licensed to Anchor Bay (now OOP)
    - Some titles licensed to Criterion

    Universal Pictures
    - They own most of their original films
    - Some titles licensed to Criterion
    - Some titles licensed to Kino On Video
    - Some titles licensed to Anchor Bay
    - Some titles licensed to Image Entertainment (all OOP)
    - Also own all sound pre-1948 Paramount Pictures films, with exceptions.
    - Also distribute/own five Paramount Alfred Hitchcock films (Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much '56, Vertigo, and Psycho) as well as one Warner Bros. film by the same director (Rope).
    - Distributed Lion's Gate Films (now OOP)

    Warner Bros. Pictures
    - Owns nearly all Warner Bros. Films
    - Controls the following:
    - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films (pre-1986)
    - Allied Artists
    - RKO Radio Pictures
    - Paramount's 1933-1957 Popeye cartoons
    - Distributes Saul Zaentz Company/Fantasy Films titles.

    Paramount Pictures
    - Controls nearly all post-1948 films
    - Distributes CBS Films titles, with exceptions (like My Fair Lady).
    - Licensed Spelling Films/Republic Pictures/Worldvision/etc library to Artisan Entertainment (now Lion's Gate Home Entertainment). License to end in 2005, reverting distribution to Paramount.

    United Artists
    - Most post-1950 films controlled by MGM Home Entertainment.
    - Many of the pre-1960's films controlled by Republic.
    - They originally distributed many Disney, Samuel Goldwyn, and other independent films now controlled by other studios.
    - Once owned pre-1948 Warner Bros. films.


    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    - All pre-1986 films controlled by Turner Entertainment Co., which is owned by Warner Bros.
    - Still own post-1986 films.
    - Controls Orion Pictures
    - Controls American International
    - Controls most United Artists films
    - Controls most Embassy/Avco Embassy films
    - Controls most Nelson Entertainment films
    - Distributes most Samuel Goldwyn films
    - Distributes some London Films, Rank, Carlton, and Studio Canal films
    - Controls some Castle Rock films (City Slickers and Needful Things, for example)


    Feel free to contribute more.
     
  2. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    A capital idea, Patrick!

    Some additional info~~

    1. Some ALLIED ARTISTS films became Republic/Spelling Entertainment/Lion's Gate property, which will soon revert to Paramount's control. A list would include such films as:

    INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956)
    THE PAWNBROKER (1965)
    RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11 (1954)
    SHACK OUT ON 101 (1955)
    FINGER MAN (1955)

    --and probably several others. I'm not sure what factor seperates these from the Allied Artists films under Warner Bros' control.

    2. The rights to many of the pre-1959 AMERICAN-INTERNATIONAL films currently belong to the (seperate) estates of Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson, and are thus not in MGM's control. This would include such films as:

    I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF
    I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN
    BLOOD OF DRACULA
    HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER
    THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN
    WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST
    EARTH VS. THE SPIDER
    INVASION OF THE SAUCERMEN
    IT CONQUERED THE WORLD
    THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED
    THE UNDEAD
    THE SHE CREATURE
    THE BRAIN EATERS
    MACHINE-GUN KELLY
    THE VIKING WOMEN & THE SEA SERPENT
    TEENAGE CAVEMAN
    SORORITY GIRL
    GIRLS IN PRISON
    REFORM SCHOOL GIRL

    --etc, etc.

    3. MGM supposedly controls films (but not TV series) from the ITC library. I recall Peter Bracke reporting this years ago at DVD File, when doing a similar breakdown of what film libraries Warner and (the current) MGM companies had acquired. Of course, there's a chance that MGM's deal with ITC may no longer exist at this point in time.
     
  3. DavidS

    DavidS Stunt Coordinator

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    Addendum:

    20th Century Fox:
    Mannequin (now distributed by MGM)

    A side note: It seems that a good deal of films Tri-Star distributed in the 80s are not owned by Sony:

    Short Circuit (Image)
    Total Recall (Lion's Gate)
    Terminator 2 (Lion's Gate)

    ...are just a few.
     
  4. soop.spoon

    soop.spoon Supporting Actor

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    Goodtimes released about 50 Universal titles. I believe they're all out of print now. Many (but not all) of the Goodtimes/Image/Anchor Bay titles have been re-released by universal.
     
  5. Daniel Windsor

    Daniel Windsor Stunt Coordinator

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    Excellent idea [​IMG]

    Universal Pictures is owned by NBC-Vivendi-Universal now and their film/video back catalogue is truly massive due to their StudioCanal product (distributed by Warner in a few countires). I used to keep up to date with these things but it's gotten rather complicated. Last I looked:

    Carolco (100 films including Terminator 2)
    Universal Television Distribution
    SpyGlass Entertainment
    Focus
    PolyGram -some
    UGC
    Zoetrope -they own almost all rights until 2011
    Sogepaq
    ABBA -everything
    Lots of UK film catalogues eg EMI Screen Entertainment, Ealing Studios, Rank.

    Think Lynch's Lost Highway, The Graduate, This is Spinal Tap and at least 7000 other films and you'll end up back at NBC-Vivendi-Universal and add to that over 10,000 hours of English speaking TV product.

    Lots of StudioCanal films appear with Criterion too.
    As for the Anchor Bay stuff I think that ended early (possible reason for DVDs disappearing after a few weeks/months (Minnie and Moskovitz an example) after Universal took AB to court for selling their licensed product "Too cheap".


    I don't know how accurate that is but it looks about right [​IMG]
     
  6. Mike D

    Mike D Stunt Coordinator

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    Was looking for this and had a heck of a time searching for it. Can we make this a sticky please? (perhaps in the Studio Feedback forum) Thanks
    (this post can be deleted)
     
  7. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    This is a great idea. The bugaboo that could make this hard though is the emergence in the '80's of outside production firms who release movies through major studios, but retain their own rights for video. For example, as cited above, TOTAL RECALL and TERMINATOR 2 were TriStar releases, but they were fully financed by the defunct Carolco company, which licensed them to the former Artisan. StudioCanal now owns the Carolco assets, but for the time being, the old DVD deal is still intact with Artisan's inheritor Lions Gate?

    Got that? That's one of the easy ones!

    So while it may be time consuming, it is wise to try and think of outfits such as these, because these help determine where your favorite obscure or indie film is being held.
     
  8. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Still cloudy about Allied Artists. I wish there was a list that states who exactly owns what in their catalog, especially such films as Billy Budd, Soldier in the Rain & The Phenix City Story.
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Jay,
    A lot of time it depends on who financed the picture when it was filmed and thus, hold certain rights to a particular film. Some of these films were financed by individual investors and not necessarily a film or production company and then years down the road, the video rights for instance might be sold to a particular company like Republic or Lorimar. This is a common occurance for small films made by independent filmmakers.
     
  10. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Jay,

    PHENIX CITY STORY and SOLDIER IN THE RAIN should still belong to Warner these days. Both have played on major cable networks in recent years (I taped both), and retained the WB TV distribution logos. Strange that SOLDIER IN THE RAIN wasn't included in WB's upcoming Steve McQueen DVD set, however.

    I would imagine that BILLY BUDD belongs to WB also, but I haven't seen any evidence one way or the other, and the film seems to have dropped off the map... I think I last saw it in rotation on Cinemax in the late 1980s/early 1990s.
     
  11. dave bula

    dave bula Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for putting your list together, Patrick. I'd been hoping someone would do something like that.

    Does anyone have any idea who controls some of the really old ones like P.R.C. and Monogram/Lone Star? Other "Poverty Row" studios from the old days?

    And what about the modern Beacon films? Are those done individually, or in conjunction with a partiuclar big distributor?
     
  12. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Dave,

    Warner controls all/most of the Monogram library (which is why the 1945 film DILLINGER will be in WB's FILM NOIR VOL. 2 set this July). Monogram later sort of morphed into Allied Artists. I have no idea who controls the films of those other companies you mentioned.
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Peter,
    I would imagine that "Soldier in the Rain" needs a lot of work, probably moreso than those announced titles in the boxset. Also, I wonder if Warner didn't include it because the film didn't quite fit with the rest of those films being released in which McQueen was the main character and everything centered on him. In "Soldier in the Rain" Jackie Gleason gets top billing and that film is in black and white while those other titles are in color. Of course, in "Never So Few" he wasn't the star of the film, but it's considered the breakout role for him. Maybe, I'm wrong about such thoughts, but you never know what goes into their thinking about which titles to release in any boxset.






    Crawdaddy
     
  14. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Crawdaddy,

    That's quite true... THE HONEYMOON MACHINE (1961) isn't in the McQueen set either, and that's a Warner-controlled title. Stands to reason.

    Belated happy birthday to you, by the way. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    In the case of Mannequin I think that's part of the Cannon films library that MGM owns. Fox never distributed it on video to my knowledge.

    Short Circuit, I'm not exactly sure what went on with this one. I guess the rights went back to the original film's producers and they licensed it to Image.

    The Polygram library was split up. I believe everything later than Fargo is Universal and everything else is MGM. The one exception of this that I'm aware of is An American Werewolf In London which has gone back to Universal.

    Of course the overseas rights for all this stuff is a whole different ball of wax.
     
  16. William Miller

    William Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    RKO distributed the Disney and Goldwyn movies, not United Artists.
     
  17. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    I believe Kino released The Man Who Laughs through a license from Universal.
     
  18. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    In the case of "Short Circuit", it's a Producers Sales Organization (PSO) title. Some of those titles are with Warner Brothers ("Clan Of The Cave Bear", "Once Upon A Time In America" and "9 1/2 Weeks" through the purchase of the Turner library), while Disney holds the rights to "Flight Of The Navigator", Sony holds the rights to "Das Boot" and MGM holds the rights to "The Cotton Club". Some PSO titles are still up in the air rights-wise which may explain why they haven't seen DVD release yet (The TriStar-distributed PSO release "8 Million Ways To Die" comes immediately to mind. TriStar had it theatrically, CBS/Fox and later Fox Video released it on VHS and the TV rights are with Lions' Gate).

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    Stick that in your pocket!
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    That's not entirely true! Disney and Goldwyn films were distributed by United Artists before both companies changed to RKO for distribution. Matter of fact, Goldwyn was part owner of United Artists and tried his best to buy out Pickford, Chaplin and Fairbanks from United Artists, but he wasn't successful. That failed course of action forced Goldwyn to distribute his films at RKO.






    Crawdaddy
     
  20. Mike D

    Mike D Stunt Coordinator

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    Didn't they also license the early Wyler films Counsellor at Law and The Good Fairy from Universal
     

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