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TriStar Pictures

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

TriStar Pictures, Inc.
FormerlyNova Pictures (1982–1983)
Company typeDivision[1]
FoundedMarch 2, 1982; 42 years ago (1982-03-02) (as Nova Pictures), Burbank, California, U.S.
FounderVictor Kaufman
Headquarters10202 West Washington Boulevard, Culver City, California, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Nicole Brown (president)[2]
ProductsMotion pictures
ParentSony Pictures Motion Picture Group
DivisionsTriStar Productions

TriStar Pictures, Inc. (spelled as Tri-Star until 1991) is an American film studio and production company that is a member of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group,[1] part of the multinational conglomerate Sony Group Corporation. It is a corporate sibling of fellow Sony studio, Columbia Pictures.

TriStar Pictures was established on March 2, 1982, and founded by Victor Kaufman as Nova Pictures. On May 16, 1983, its name was changed to Tri-Star in order to avoid confusion with the PBS series Nova.[3]

Originally a joint venture between Columbia Pictures, CBS, and HBO, (the latter of which would later be owned by Paramount Pictures' parent company Viacom/Paramount Global and Warner Bros.' parent company Time Warner/Warner Bros. Discovery respectively) whose individual video units handled video, broadcast, and pay cable rights to its products,[4] the company scored a number of box office hits with modestly-budgeted fare in the 1980s, as well as fortuitous distribution deals with the Producers Sales Organization,[5] Carolco Pictures[6] and the Taft Entertainment Group.[7] It also expanded ambitiously throughout the decade with the acquisition of Loews Theatres and the formation of its own television arm. Among the various hits TriStar scored on its own during the decade were About Last Night, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Real Genius, Nothing in Common, Peggy Sue Got Married, The Principal, Look Who's Talking and Steel Magnolias.

On November 15, 1985, CBS dropped out of the joint venture, selling its stake to Columbia Pictures.[8] HBO sold its shares to the same studio in 1986 in order to form HBO Pictures.[9] On December 21, 1987, Tri-Star Pictures, Inc. was renamed Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. following The Coca-Cola Company's merger of Tri-Star and Columbia to become "Columbia/Tri-Star", of which it owned 80% of its stock.[10] In January 1988, CPE's stocks somewhat fell, and Coca-Cola decreased its shares in CPE to 49%. On April 13, 1988, the name of the company was reverted back to Tri-Star Pictures, Inc.[11] On November 8, 1989, the Sony Corporation of Japan acquired Columbia Pictures Entertainment for $3.4 billion. On August 7, 1991, under Sony Pictures Entertainment, the hyphen was officially removed from the name of the studio. TriStar became the first new american major film studio since RKO Pictures which was founded in 1928.

During the 1990s, TriStar operated autonomously from Columbia. Although its products were mostly indistinguishable from that of its sister studio, it soon scored a string of hits at the box office with such films as Sleepless in Seattle, Philadelphia, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Jerry Maguire, As Good as It Gets, Bugsy and Jumanji, and it also scored a major video hit with Danny DeVito's Matilda.[12] However, in 1998, the company fell on hard times following the box office disappointment of an ambitious remake of the Japanese monster film Godzilla, and Sony quickly responded by merging the studio with Columbia to form the Columbia TriStar Motion Pictures Group.[13] The TriStar name was subsequently used by Sony on a very limited basis until 2004, when the company decided to turn the studio into a genre label that specialized in acquisitions.[14] In 2015, Sony formed TriStar Productions as a vehicle for film and television productions.[15] TriStar Pictures is currently being used as a vehicle for distribution of products from that new entity and other items from Sony Pictures, including titles from Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions.[16]

TriStar Pictures is a member of the Motion Picture Association (MPA).[17]

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Early era (1982–1987)

The concept for Tri-Star Pictures can be traced to Victor Kaufman, a senior executive of Columbia Pictures (then a subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Company),[18] who convinced Columbia, HBO, and CBS to share resources and split the ever-growing costs of making movies, leading to the creation of a new joint venture on March 2, 1982. On May 16, 1983, it was given the name Tri-Star Pictures (when the new company was formed and did not have an official name, the press used the code-name "Nova", but the name could not be obtained as it was being used as the title for the PBS science series).[3][19] Tri-Star embarked on a 12 to 18 feature film slate per year, with a combined budget of $70 to $80 million and signed producer Walter Colbenz as vice president of the Tri-Star feature film studio, and signed initial development deals with director John Schlesinger and producers Jeffrey Walker and Michael Walker.[20] Tri-Star's first project to roll out was The Muppets Take Manhattan.[21]

On May 11, 1984, the studio's first produced film was released, The Natural starring Robert Redford. Tri-Star's first release, however, was the film, Where the Boys Are '84; a 1984 remake of the 1960 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) picture, Where the Boys Are that was co-distributed on behalf of ITC Entertainment after Universal rejected it; the film was a commercial flop.[22]

Many of Tri-Star's productions were released on VHS by RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video, HBO/Cannon Video, or CBS/Fox Video. In addition, HBO owned exclusive cable distribution rights to the films, with broadcast television licenses going to CBS.[4]

On May 8, 1984, Tri-Star Pictures secured North American distribution rights for the film Supergirl from Warner Bros., which enabled the film to be ready for distribution by Christmas 1984.[23] On May 15, 1984, the studio hit big through its association with Carolco Pictures, with the release of Rambo: First Blood Part II, which eventually became a smash hit for the studio the following year.[6][24] The company also partnered with Producers Sales Organization to handle theatrical distribution of the PSO titles,[5] while both Tri-Star and Columbia struck a deal for film financing with Delphi Film Associates.[25]

CBS dropped out of the Tri-Star venture in 1985.[8] In 1986, HBO also dropped out of the venture and sold half of its shares to Columbia Pictures.[9] Despite the changes in majority ownership, Tri-Star continued ambition-laden expansion plans. Chief among these plans was an expansion of their successful relationship with Carolco; a new extension of their pre-existing deal included Tri-Star gaining theatrical distribution rights to various Carolco projects, including Rambo III and Air America; Carolco retained all foreign, cable, television and videocassette rights.[26] Taft/Barish Productions, a joint venture of Taft Broadcasting and Keith Barish Productions, signed a $200 million domestic distribution deal with Tri-Star (much like Carolco, Taft/Barish retained non-theatrical and ancillary distribution rights). Of the four films to emerge from this pact, only The Running Man would become a major success.[7]

Another avenue of expansion was acquiring the storied Loews Theaters chain of cineplexes in October 1986 for $300 million, after a deal to purchase United Artists Theaters from Tele-Communications, Inc. did not come to fruition. At the time, Loews had 260 theaters in six states.[27][28][29]

1987 was another ambitious year for Tri-Star; plans were in place to take Tri-Star from a relatively new, untested film company into a major film studio. Components of these plans included the formation of Tri-Star Television, and joining forces with Stephen J. Cannell Productions and Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions to create a television distribution company known as TeleVentures; they also proposed forming their own home video label, Tri-Star Video, taking over from the trio of distributors (RCA/Columbia, CBS/Fox and HBO/Cannon).[30][31] A full-on international distribution arm was also in the planning stages.[32] Another distribution deal was signed by Tri-Star and Hemdale Film Corporation in September 1987, but only one film, High Tide, would result from that deal.[33]

Columbia Pictures Entertainment era (1987–1989)

However, Tri-Star's ambitions were curtailed by yet more change in ownership. The Coca-Cola Company boosted its stake in Tri-Star to 29.3% that September.[34] That December, following several high-profile flops (including Ishtar), Coca-Cola began a plan to get out of the media industry; Tri-Star Pictures, Inc. was renamed as Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc., and Coca-Cola sold its entertainment business to Tri-Star for $3.1 billion. Coca-Cola would then gradually reduce their holdings in the new company to 49%. Both studios continued to produce and distribute films under their separate names; a new Tri-Star Pictures, Inc. entity was created in April 1988.[10][11]

As a result, Tri-Star's television division was consolidated into a single operating entity with Columbia/Embassy Television and Coca-Cola Television to form a new incarnation of Columbia Pictures Television. Merv Griffin Enterprises would continue to operate separately.[35][36] Similarly, Tri-Star's nascent video division was absorbed into RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video.[37]

Sony era (1989–present)

In 1989, Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. was acquired by Japanese conglomerate Sony Corporation, which merged Columbia and Tri-Star, but continued to use the separate labels. On July 11, 1990, Tri-Star Pictures dissolved and sold its venture in TeleVentures to Stephen J. Cannell Productions and TeleVentures became Cannell Distribution Co. Most of the series and the Tri-Star film packages that were distributed by TeleVentures were transferred to Columbia Pictures Television Distribution.[38] Sony Pictures Entertainment later revived TriStar Television as a television production banner in 1991 (by way of acquiring rights to shows from New World Television) and merged with its sister television studio Columbia Pictures Television (CPT) to form Columbia TriStar Television (CTT) on February 21, 1994.[39][40] Both studios continued to operate separately under the CTT umbrella until TriStar folded in 1999 and CPT in 2001.

In addition to its own slate, TriStar was the theatrical distributor for many films produced by Carolco Pictures (the rights to only one of its films, Cliffhanger, has been retained by TriStar). TriStar also theatrically distributed some FilmDistrict movies. In 1992, TriStar, along with Japan Satellite Broadcasting signed an agreement with The IndieProd Company to distribute movies produced by IndieProd in order to fill the void left by Carolco, whose deal with TriStar was on the verge of expiring amid financial troubles.[41]

Around summer 1998, SPE merged Columbia and TriStar to form the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, but just like Columbia Pictures Entertainment, both divisions continued producing and distributing films under their own names. Some of the movies slated to be released by TriStar, including Stepmom would go to its flagship label Columbia Pictures following the merger.[13]

TriStar was relaunched on May 13, 2004, as a marketing and acquisitions unit that had a "particular emphasis on genre films".[14] Screen Gems' executive vice president Valerie Van Galder was tapped to run the revived studio after being dormant.[42] However, the release of its 2013 film Elysium represented the label's first big-budget release since The Mask of Zorro in 1998.

The same year, former 20th Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman joined Sony Pictures and created TriStar Productions as a joint venture with existing Sony Pictures executives. The new TriStar will develop, finance and produce up to four films per year, as well as television programming and acquisitions, starting on September 1.[15][43][44] Sony's TriStar Pictures unit is currently being retained for "other product, including titles from Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions", and is distributing product from the new TriStar.[16]

Original Tri-Star logo used from 1984 until 1993 with the release of Cliffhanger.
The TriStar logo used from 1993 to 2015; 2014 version shown.

TriStar's logo features the winged horse Pegasus (either stationary or flying across the screen). The idea came from executive Victor Kaufman and his family's interest in riding horses. The original logo was created with the assistance of Sydney Pollack, who was an adviser at Tri-Star. The horse in the original filmed logo was the same one used in Pollack's film The Electric Horseman.[45]


Film series

Title Release date No. Films Notes
Rambo 1985–88 2 co-production with Carolco Pictures
Short Circuit 1986–88
Iron Eagle
Look Who's Talking 1989–93 3
Universal Soldier 1992–99 2 Co-production with Carolco Pictures and IndieProd Company Productions
Sniper 1993–2002
3 Ninjas 1994–98 3
Matilda 1996–2022 2
Starship Troopers 1997–2004
Godzilla 1998–99 From Godzilla to Godzilla 2000: Millennium; Co-production with Centropolis Entertainment and Toho Pictures
Thanksgiving 2023–present 1 Co-production with Spyglass Entertainment

See also


  1. ^ a b "Divisions - Sony Pictures". Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Nicole Brown To Lead TriStar In Wake Of Hannah Minghella Exit To Bad Robot". October 17, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "What's in a name". Broadcasting. 1983-05-16. p. 102.
  4. ^ a b Prince, S. (2000) A new pot of gold: Hollywood under the electronic rainbow, 1980–1989 (p. 31). Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. ISBN 0-684-80493-X.
  5. ^ a b Harmetz, Aljean (1984-11-16). "Producers Sales, Delphi in Merger (Published 1984)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-23.
  6. ^ a b "SPARING RAMBO'S LIFE MADE SEQUEL POSSIBLE". Los Angeles Times. 1985-08-21. Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  7. ^ a b Tusher, Will (1986-08-20). "Taft/Barish Pacts With Tri-Star For 10 Pics, With More Possible". Variety. p. 7.
  8. ^ a b "CBS Sells Stake In Tri-Star Inc". The New York Times. Associated Press. 16 November 1985.
  9. ^ a b Prince, Stephen (2002) [2000]. A New Pot of Gold: Hollywood Under the Electronic Rainbow. History of the American Cinema Vol. 10. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p. 31. ISBN 9780520232662. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  10. ^ a b KATHRYN HARRIS (September 2, 1987) Coke, Tri-Star Confirm Plans for $3.1-Billion Deal Los Angeles Times, Retrieved on August 8, 2013
  11. ^ a b "State of New York Division of Corporations - Entity Search: Tri-Star Pictures, Inc". Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  12. ^ Simon, Rachel (September 13, 2016). "Mara Wilson Is Done Backing Away From 'Matilda'". Bustle. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  13. ^ a b Cox, Dan; Carver, Benedict (1998-07-27). "Post-'Godzilla'". Variety. Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  14. ^ a b "Sony Pictures – Corporate Fact Sheet". Sony Pictures Entertainment. Archived from the original on January 7, 2012. The label will have a particular emphasis on genre films{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  15. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. Tom Rothman To Launch New TriStar Productions Label For Sony Deadline Hollywood (August 1, 2013).
  16. ^ a b "Industry News: Sony Pictures and Tom Rothman Launching TriStar Productions". 2 August 2013. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Motion Picture Association of America – Who We Are – Our Story". MPAA. Archived from the original on August 30, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  18. ^ "Victor Kaufman - Founding TriStar Pictures". Vimeo.
  19. ^ Palmer, L. (1998) "How to write it, how to sell it: everything a screenwriter needs to know about Hollywood" (pp. 232–235). St. Martin's Press, New York. ISBN 0-312-18726-2.
  20. ^ "Tri-Star Firms Six Feature Starts, Two Pickups, En Route To Slate of 12-18; Coblenz To Prod. Slot". Variety. 1983-05-25. p. 3.
  21. ^ "'Muppets' Rolls as First Tri-Star Pic". Variety. 1983-06-01. p. 5.
  22. ^ London, Michael. "Tri-Star Bows With a Universal Castoff". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (February 18, 1984).
  23. ^ "Tri-Star To Distrib 'Supergirl', Not WB". Variety. 1984-05-09. p. 5.
  24. ^ "Tri-Star To Distribute Next Four Carolco Pics; 'Blood II' First Up". Variety. 1984-05-16. p. 4.
  25. ^ "7 Tri-Star Pix in Delphi III Float; Gross Cut as Invester Protection; HBO, CBS Deals: 'Fair Market'". Variety. 1984-02-15. p. 3.
  26. ^ "Third 'Rambo' Centerpiece Of Tri-Star-Carolco Deal". Variety. 1986-07-02. p. 5.
  27. ^ "Tri-Star Pictures to acquire cinema chain - UPI Archives". UPI. Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  28. ^ McCarthy, Todd (2002-11-20). "Loews prez Myerson dies". Variety. Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  29. ^ "THEATER CHAIN EYES TOP". Chicago Tribune. 1986-10-22. Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  30. ^ "Orion, TriStar enter home video arena" (PDF). Billboard. 1987-02-28. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  31. ^ Tusher, Will (1987-03-11). "Tri-Star Launches Video Division; Messner Switches Executive Roles". Variety. p. 91.
  32. ^ "Tri-Star Intl. Taps Anthony Manne As O'Seas Sales Rise". Variety. 1987-03-04. pp. 4, 43.
  33. ^ "Tri-Star To Release 'Major' Pix From Hemdale; 15 Over 3 Years". Variety. 1987-09-30. pp. 3, 30.
  34. ^ "CPI Holdings Increases Tri-Star Stake To 29%". Variety. 1987-07-22. p. 3.
  35. ^ "Coca -Cola Entertainment and Tri-Star to merge TV units" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1987-10-19. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  36. ^ "Coke's EBS & Tri-Star Merge TV Biz, Forming Col Pictures TV". Variety. 1987-10-21. pp. 512, 528.
  37. ^ "RCA/Columbia Is a Home for Tri-Star" (PDF). Billboard. 1988-02-20. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  38. ^ "IN BRIEF". Broadcasting. 1990-07-16. p. 110.
  39. ^ "TriStar President Expected to Head Combined Unit". Los Angeles Times, February 11, 1994. Retrieved on June 28, 2012
  40. ^ Feltheimer heads new Columbia TriStar TV, Retrieved on December 18, 2012
  41. ^ Frook, John Evan; Brennan, Judy (1992-12-14). "IndieProd pacts with JSB, TriStar for distrib'n, prod'n". Variety. Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  42. ^ Brodesser, Claude; Dunkley, Cathy (May 13, 2004). "TriStar takes flight again". Variety Magazine. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  43. ^ Faughnder, Ryan (August 1, 2013). "Tom Rothman teams with Sony Pictures to create TriStar Productions". Los Angeles Times.
  44. ^ MICHAEL CIEPLY (August 1, 2013) Sony Hires Rothman to Head Revived TriStar Unit The New York Times, Retrieved on August 2, 2013
  45. ^ "Victor Kaufman – Creating the TriStar Logo". Vimeo.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 June 2024, at 20:59
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