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Turner Entertainment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Turner Entertainment Company
Company typeSubsidiary
FoundedAugust 2, 1986; 37 years ago (1986-08-02)
FoundersTed Turner
Area served
  • Films
  • Television shows
Number of employees
137+ (2020)
  • Turner Home Entertainment (1986–1996)
  • Turner Pictures (1989–1996)

Turner Entertainment Company[1] is an American multimedia company founded by Ted Turner on August 2, 1986. Purchased by Time Warner Entertainment on October 10, 1996, as part of its acquisition of Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), the company was largely responsible for overseeing the TBS library for worldwide distribution. In recent years, this role has largely been limited to being the copyright holder, as it has become an in-name-only subsidiary[1] of Warner Bros., which currently administers their library.[2]


On March 25, 1986, Ted Turner and his Turner Broadcasting System purchased Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) from Kirk Kerkorian for $1.5 billion, and renamed MGM Entertainment Company, Inc. However, due to concerns in the financial community over the debt-load of his companies, on August 26, 1986, he was forced to sell the MGM name, all of United Artists (UA), and the MGM Culver City-based studio lot back to Kerkorian for approximately $300 million after months of ownership.[3] But in order to still go about his plans to broadcast the MGM/UA assets as "originals" on his TBS and upcoming TNT channels, Turner struck a deal with Kerkorian; Turner kept the studio's film, television and cartoon library as well as a small portion of the United Artists library (MGM originals up to Killer Party), forming Turner Entertainment Company during the exchange.[4][5] The company was headed by Roger Mayer, who was former executive of MGM, and formed a development division with the intention of making movies and TV shows.[6] The library also included the pre-1950 Warner Bros. library (as well as most of the pre-August 1948 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons), the Fleischer Studios/Famous Studios Popeye cartoons originally released by Paramount Pictures, the US/Canadian/Latin American/Australian distribution rights to the RKO Radio Pictures library (not including the Disney, several Goldwyn and now-Viacom film libraries that RKO previously distributed), and most of the Gilligan's Island television franchise (not counting the TV movie sequels owned by other companies), all of which were owned by United Artists.[7] In order to use funds, Turner instituted a policy that they would pass on making sequels to classic Turner-owned properties, in favor of making colorization of old black-and-white movies.[8] On December 2, 1987, Turner Entertainment had entered into an agreement with American Film Technologies to computer-colorize three films that were originally in black-and-white, namely the three films from the MGM library, such as Boom Town, They Were Expendable and Catered Affair, and Turner would have the option to have AFT to have an order for additional 22 films and has a second option for another 24 films between now and 1992.[9] On December 10, 1987, Turner acquired the worldwide licensing rights to 800 of RKO's films from its then-parent company Wesray Capital Corporation.[10]

On October 3, 1988, Turner Broadcasting System launched the TNT network, and later Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in 1994 to use their former MGM/UA library. In doing so, Turner has played a major part in film preservation and restoration. By broadcasting such classic films as King Kong, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Meet Me in St. Louis, Singin' in the Rain and the original The Jazz Singer, on numerous Turner affiliated cable channels, as well as in showing them in revival movie houses and home video worldwide, Turner introduced a new generation to these films.

On November 29, 1989, Turner made another attempt to buy MGM/UA, but the deal failed, and they formed Turner Pictures and Turner Pictures Worldwide instead.[11]

On October 29, 1991, Turner acquired Hanna-Barbera Productions and most of the pre-1991 Ruby-Spears Productions library from Great American Broadcasting for $320 million.[12] Shortly after the acquisition, on October 1, 1992, Turner Broadcasting System launched Cartoon Network, and later Boomerang, to use its vast animation library for primary broadcasts.

On August 17, 1993, Turner purchased Castle Rock Entertainment and New Line Cinema for over $650 million.[13][14][15]

Turner Entertainment self-distributed much of its library for the first decade of its existence, but on October 10, 1996, Turner Broadcasting System was purchased by Time Warner Entertainment and its distribution functions were largely absorbed into Warner Bros. As a result, Turner Entertainment is now an in-name-only subsidiary of Warner Bros., serving merely as a copyright holder for a portion of their library. Hanna-Barbera's current purpose as the in-name only unit of Warner Bros. Animation is to serve as the copyright holder for its creations such as The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo and Yogi Bear while Warner Bros. handles sales and merchandising.

Production company

As a production company, Turner Entertainment also created original in-house programming, such as documentaries about the films it owns, new animated material based on Tom & Jerry and other related cartoon properties, and once produced made-for-television films, miniseries, and theatrical films such as Gettysburg, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Fallen, The Pagemaster and Cats Don't Dance under the Turner Pictures banner. In 1995, the Turner Pictures production company developed a film slate.[16] Turner also had an international distribution sales unit, accordingly named Turner Pictures Worldwide Distribution, Inc. Turner Pictures was folded into Warner Bros. after the Turner-Time Warner merger, and currently holds the distribution rights to the films made by the production division. Time Warner transferred some of Turner's leftover projects like City of Angels and You've Got Mail into Warner Bros.[17]

Turner Feature Animation

Turner Feature Animation
Company typeAnimation Studio
FoundedEarly 1991; 33 years ago (1991)
FoundersDavid Kirschner
Paul Gertz
FateFolded into Warner Bros. Feature Animation
SuccessorWarner Bros. Feature Animation
ProductsAnimated films
ParentTurner Broadcasting System

Turner Feature Animation was Turner's animation unit headed by David Kirschner and Paul Gertz.[18] The two animated movies The Pagemaster and Cats Don't Dance were produced under Turner's animation unit. Spun off from the feature film division of Hanna-Barbera Productions, Turner Feature Animation was folded into Warner Bros. Feature Animation, which was then merged into Warner Bros. Animation.

Home video

In the first decade of its existence, Turner released most of its own catalogue on home video through Turner Home Entertainment (THE). However, the MGM and Warner Bros. film libraries which Turner owned were still distributed by MGM/UA Home Video along with THE until their rights expired in 1999, while THE handled the home video distribution of titles from the RKO library. THE released films produced by Turner Pictures on home video with their distributors and independently released the Hanna-Barbera cartoon library on home video.

THE also released World Championship Wrestling (WCW) pay-per-view (PPV) events, wrestler profiles, and "Best Of" packages on video until the demise of WCW in 2001; the WCW video library, along with the rights to the WCW name and certain talent contracts, were sold to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now known as WWE) in March 2001.[19][20][21] In 1987, THE had signed a distribution deal with the Video Institute of the Soviet Union to release 10 titles from the pre-May 1986 MGM library in Russian videocassette rental shops, and the deal with Turner would be a first for the Soviet home video market, where officials indicate that there are 660,000 VCR recordings, and films include Zabriskie Point, and other titles, none of them were colorized.[22]

From early 1995 to early 1997, THE also distributed home video releases from New Line Home Video, taking over from Columbia TriStar Home Video as well as distributing PBS programs on home video the year before (taking over from the defunct Pacific Arts). NLHE distributed New Line films on video by itself from 1997 until New Line Cinema merged with Warner Bros. in 2008.[23][24][25] PBS shows are now distributed on video and DVD by PBS's own distribution company, PBS Distribution.

In 1995, THE entered a distribution deal with Columbia TriStar Home Video in France, Britain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland,[26] the deal expired in 1997 (although some films released on VHS by THE are distributed in the UK by First Independent Films).

Upon the Turner-Time Warner merger, THE was absorbed into Warner Home Video as an in-name-only unit in December 1996.[27] However, Turner Classic Movies does release special edition DVD boxsets of films from both the Turner and Warner catalogs under the TCM label. (Some magazines, most notably Starlog, when listing upcoming releases from Warner related to Cartoon Network programming listed it as being released by THE, likely to differentiate it from other, adult-oriented titles.)[28]


Turner Entertainment's current library includes:


  1. ^ The latest released Warner Bros. cartoon sold to a.a.p. was Haredevil Hare, which was released on July 24, 1948.


  1. ^ a b "EX-21 (Subsidiaries of Time Warner Inc.)". Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Warner Archive Podcast (4/8/14)". Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. April 8, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "TURNER, UNITED ARTISTS CLOSE DEAL". Orlando Sentinel. United Press International. August 27, 1986.
  4. ^ "TURNER MAY SELL EQUITY IN COMPANY". Chicago Tribune. May 7, 1986.
  5. ^ a b Gendel, Morgan (June 7, 1986). "Turner Sells The Studio, Holds On To The Dream". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Galbraith, Jane (July 23, 1986). "Turner Forming Company Built On MGM Library; Mayer To Top". Variety. p. 4.
  7. ^ "Turner Plans New Channels." Associated Press (June 5, 1993).
  8. ^ Galbraith, Jane (April 15, 1987). "Turner Passes On Classic Sequels In Favor of a Colorization Push". Variety. pp. 43, 206.
  9. ^ "Turner Enters Into Pact With AFT On Colorization". Variety. December 2, 1987. p. 44.
  10. ^ "Turner Buys Rights to 800 RKO Movies". Los Angeles Times. Reuters. December 10, 1987.
  11. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (November 29, 1989). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Turner Broadcasting Seen In Talks to Buy MGM/UA". The New York Times.
  12. ^ a b "COMPANY NEWS; Turner Buying Hanna-Barbera". The New York Times. October 30, 1991.
  13. ^ "Done deal: Turner Broadcasting System Inc. said..." Chicago Tribune. December 25, 1993.
  14. ^ Citron, Alan (August 18, 1993). "Turner gets nod to buy New Line and Castle Rock: Entertainment: The deals, worth a combined $750 million, establish the cable mogul as a major Hollywood force". Los Angeles Times.
  15. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (August 18, 1993). "Turner Buying New Line and Castle Rock Film Companies". The New York Times.
  16. ^ "Turner Pictures' debut slate" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. October 23, 1995. p. 1.
  17. ^ Cox, Dan (October 16, 1995). "Turner Pix bows starry slate". Variety. Retrieved September 12, 2021.
  18. ^ "'Cats' Tries to Mix Parody and Nostalgia". Los Angeles Times. March 26, 1997.
  19. ^ "Turner Sells Wrestling Rival to WWF". ABC News. ABC. March 23, 2001. pp. 1–2.
  20. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (March 19, 2001). "Turner Drops Wrestling in First Decision by Its New Chief". The New York Times.
  21. ^ "WWF buys rival WCW". CNN Business. CNN. March 23, 2001.
  22. ^ "10 MGM Titles From Turner Due On Soviet Video". Variety. September 23, 1987. p. 116.
  23. ^ Eller, Claudia (February 29, 2008). "New Line, old story: A small studio falls". Los Angeles Times.
  24. ^ Barnes, Brooks (February 28, 2008). "Warner Studio Takes Control of New Line". The New York Times.
  25. ^ Li, Kenneth (February 28, 2008). "Time Warner puts New Line Cinema under Warner Bros". Reuters.
  26. ^ "Company Town : TBS Agrees to Movie, Video Distribution Pact With Sony". Los Angeles Times. August 9, 1994.
  27. ^ Landler, Mark (September 23, 1995). "Turner to Merge Into Time Warner; A $7.5 Billion Deal". The New York Times.
  28. ^ "Full text of "Starlog Magazine Issue 130"".
  29. ^ Delugach, Al (March 16, 1987). "Investors Will Pay $48 Million for RKO: Confidential Memo Details Management Group's Purchase Deal". Los Angeles Times.
  30. ^ "Turner Buys Rights to 800 RKO Movies". Los Angeles Times. December 10, 1987.
  31. ^ You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story (2008)
  32. ^ 1957 a.a.p. sales catalogue
  33. ^ Mendoza, N. F. (July 3, 2014). "Timeless 'Tunes'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  34. ^ LoBrutto, Vincent (2018). TV in the USA: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas. Vol. 3. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-4408-4847-6.
  35. ^ Tom Kenny, Jerry Beck, Frank Caruso, Glenn Mitchell, et al. (2007). Popeye the Sailor: 1933–1938, Volume 1. Special Features: I Yam What I Yam: The Story of Popeye the Sailor (DVD). Warner Home Video.

External links

This page was last edited on 3 July 2024, at 09:29
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