MGM Home Entertainment
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|Type||Home video company|
|Industry||Home video and DVD arm of MGM|
|Founded||1979 (as MGM Home Video)|
The home video division of MGM started in 1979 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 Wizard of Oz, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Doctor Zhivago, Ben-Hur, That's Entertainment!, Network, Coma, The Dirty Dozen, An American in Paris, The Sunshine Boys, Blowup, Meet Me in St. Louis, A Night at the Opera, Adam's Rib, Jailhouse Rock, Tom and Jerry, The Boys in the Band, Rude Boy, Rio Lobo, The Street Fighter, Electric Light Orchestra In Concert, James Taylor In Concert, The Nutcracker, and Giselle.1
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 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.2 MGM/UA began distributing the UA library after its contract with CBS/Fox ended.
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.
In 1999, MGM gave up the home video rights to the MGM/UA films owned by Turner after they ended their distribution deal with Warner Bros.; as a result those films were distributed by Warner Home Video by themselves.
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 was extended until 2016.3
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-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 Australia, 2006-present worldwide)
- Shock DVD (2004-present, selected catalogue in Australia)
- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2005-2006)
- Roadshow Entertainment (1982-present, in New Zealand)
Through TCFHE, MGM Home Entertainment releases titles from MGM (post-April 1986), United Artists (post-November 1952 plus a fraction of the pre-1952 library UA still owns), Orion Pictures (post-1981, which itself includes the Filmways and most of the American International Pictures libraries), pre-1997 Samuel Goldwyn film library, Embassy Pictures films (through an arrangement with StudioCanal), and the pre-1996 Motion Picture Corporation of America catalog.
The unit releases some titles by IFC Films, the pre-1996 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment library, most of the Cannon library, many by Embassy Pictures, the pre-1994 Castle Rock library and Nelson Entertainment, among other companies.