Crown International Pictures

Crown International Pictures
Crown International Pictures
Type Corporation
Industry Film
Founded 1959
Founder(s) Newton P. Jacobs
Headquarters Beverly Hills, California, USA

Crown International Pictures is an independent film studio formed in 1959 by Newton P. Jacobs [1]

Jacobs was a former branch head of RKO Pictures until 1947 when he formed his own company "Favorite Films"; a film releasing organisation. Jacobs became one of the first franchises for showing American International Pictures (AIP).[2] Like AIP, Crown International Pictures (CIP) is primarily known for low budget flicks, grindhouse cinema, biker films, exploitation films, and B-movie drive in fare. The company was later headed by Jacobs's original vice-president Mark Tenser who became President in 1973 with Jacobs moving up to become Chairman of the Board. Jacobs's daughter Marilyn Jacobs Tenser became vice president.



Crown International began releasing both low budget films by American producers such as Bloodlust! and The Seventh Commandment and cheaply acquired overseas films such as First Spaceship on Venus and Varan the Unbelievable released as a double feature in 1962. In 1963 Crown began producing their own films starting with Coleman Francis's The Skydivers.

CIP began by releasing 6 films a year in 1961 with the number rising to 12 films ten years later. Jacobs felt that CIP survived by having carefully planned growth and not over extending their product.[3] Jacobs said that CIP did not want to be regarded as a mini major studio but as the top of the independents to give the company more freedom in selecting and exploiting their film product.[4]

Well over 50 per cent of CIP's product market were drive-in theatres with the number decreasing to 30 per cent in 1981.[5]

Notable movies include-

They also acted as importer for Sonny Chiba's Street Fighter films to the United States.

The director of Death Machines (1976) gave an account of how Crown picked up and shot new scenes for his film[6] that included shooting a prologue that would make the martial arts film a science fiction one to make it more in line with current box office trends.

Crown often retitled their releases to make them sound more exciting or exploit current trends. Red Jacobs told the Los Angeles Times in November 1963 "A title is the handle...You can't lift a picture very high if the handle is weak"[7]

Television and DVD

In 1964 Crown packaged several of the features that they released in the cinema or had acquired rights to became part of a package of the Westhampton Film Corporation. Renown American television production company Desilu entered film syndication in 1964 by acquiring the rights to show Crown International films as part of the "Westhampton Feature Package".[8]

A great many of Crown's releases have been released to DVD on BCI Home Entertainment's Welcome to the Grindhouse Starlite Drive-In Theater and Drive-In Cult Classics series.

Several CIP films have been shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Since Navarre Corporation's closing of its subsidiary BCI Home Entertainment, DVD distribution of Crown's library has transferred to Mill Creek Entertainment.


  1. ^ p.86 Slide, Anthony The American Film Industry: A Historical Dictionary 1986 Greenwood Press
  2. ^ 1980 Obituaries Variety
  3. ^ p.13 A Salute to Red Jacobs Box Office Magazine 8 Feb 1971
  4. ^ p.14 Ibid
  5. ^ p.183 Segrave, Kerry Drive-In Theatres: A History from their Inception in 1933 1992 McFarland
  6. ^
  7. ^ Albright, Brian Who Saved Hitler's Brain? The Making and Re-Making of "Madmen of Manoras" Filmfax Plus Magazine #118
  8. ^ p.169 Heffernan, Kevin Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold: Horror Films and the American Movie Business 2004 Duke University Press

External links

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