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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

EMKA Limited is a company that is owned by Universal Television division of NBCUniversal with the sole function of overseeing the 19291949 Paramount Pictures sound feature film library, with some exceptions . It was founded in 1958.

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In February 1958, nine years after the ruling of the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. case in 1948, Music Corporation of America (MCA) approached Paramount to acquire the television distribution rights to 750 sound feature films released prior to December 1, 1949 for $10 million, with payment to be spread over a period of several years.[1][2][3][4][5] Paramount saw this as a bargain since the studio saw very little value in its library of old films at the time. To address any antitrust concerns, MCA set up EMKA, Ltd. as a dummy corporation to sell these films to television. EMKA's Paramount library includes the first five Marx Brothers films (although it took until 1974 for rights issues to be cleared for Animal Crackers before it could legally be shown again), the first four Bob HopeBing Crosby Road to... pictures, and other classics such as Trouble in Paradise, Shanghai Express, She Done Him Wrong, Sullivan's Travels, The Palm Beach Story, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Double Indemnity, Going My Way, The Lost Weekend and The Heiress.

Over the years, MCA took in more than a billion dollars in rentals of these supposedly "worthless" films. In 1962, MCA purchased the US branch of Decca Records, then the parent company of Universal Studios, and subsequently divested MCA of the talent agency business. MCA was eventually acquired by Japan-based Matsushita Electric in 1990 and then by Seagram in 1995, renamed as Universal Studios in 1996 which was sold to Vivendi in 2000. In 1997, Universal Television was sold to USA Networks, 5 years later on May 28, 2002, its entertainment assets were sold to Vivendi Universal. In 2004, Vivendi, merged its entertainment division with General Electric's NBC to form NBC Universal. In 2011, Comcast bought 51% of NBC Universal from Vivendi and renamed it NBCUniversal, and in 2013, Comcast bought remaining 49% of NBCUniversal from GE.

Current status

EMKA continues to exist as a division of Universal Television with Universal holding theatrical and home video distribution rights, while NBCUniversal Syndication Studios holding television distribution rights. Some of EMKA's films were remade by Universal in later years such as Meet Joe Black, a remake of Death Takes a Holiday, and a few other films became adapted by Revue Studios as television series.


  1. ^ "Too many classic films remain buried in studios' vaults". Los Angeles Times. October 25, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  2. ^ "The Monopolist". The New Yorker. April 21, 2003. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  3. ^ "If I Had a Million: Paramount's 99 Percent". Chicago Film Society. November 20, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2024.
  4. ^ Dick, Bernard F. (1997). City of Dreams: The Making and Remaking of Universal Pictures. University Press of Kentucky. p. 160. ISBN 978-0813158891. Retrieved April 5, 2024 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Hilmes, Michele (1990). Hollywood and Broadcasting: From Radio to Cable. University of Illinois Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0252054938. Retrieved April 5, 2024 – via Google Books.

External links

This page was last edited on 22 April 2024, at 20:07
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