Screen Gems


Screen Gems
Screen Gems
Type Subsidiary of Sony Pictures
Industry Film
Founded 1940 (as animation studio)
1948 (as television subsidiary)
1999 (as film studio)
Headquarters Culver City, California
Key people Clint Culpepper (President)
Products Motion pictures
Owner(s) Sony
Parent Columbia Pictures (1940-1974)
Sony Pictures Entertainment (1999-present)
Website sonypictures.com

Screen Gems is an American movie production company and subsidiary company of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group that has served several different purposes for its parent companies over the decades since its incorporation.

Contents

Animation studio: 1940–46

For an entire decade, Charles Mintz distributed his Krazy Kat, Scrappy, and Color Rhapsody animated film shorts through Columbia Pictures. When Mintz became indebted to Columbia in 1939, he ended up selling his studio to them. Under new management, the studio assumed a new name, Screen Gems. The name was derived from an early Columbia Pictures slogan, "Gems of the Screen", itself a takeoff on the song "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean". Jimmy Bronis, Mintz's production manager became the studio head, but was shortly replaced by Mintz's brother-in-law, George Winkler. After this, Columbia decided to "clean house" by ousting the bulk of the staff (including Winkler) and hiring creative cartoonist, Frank Tashlin. After Tashlin's short stay came Dave Fleischer, formerly of the Fleischer Studios, and after several of his successors came Ray Katz and Henry Binder from Warner Bros. Cartoons (previously Leon Schlesinger Productions). Animators, directors, and writers at the series included people such as Art Davis, Sid Marcus, Bob Wickersham, and, during its latter period, Bob Clampett.

Like most studios, the Screen Gems studio had several established characters on their roster. These included Flippity and Flop, Willoughby Wren, and Tito and His Burrito. However, the most successful characters the studio had were The Fox and the Crow, a comic duo of a refined Fox and a street-wise Crow.

Screen Gems is also notable for being, in an attempt to keep costs low, the last American animation studio to stop producing black and white cartoons. The final black-and-white Screen Gems shorts appeared in 1946, over three years after the second-longest holdouts (Famous Studios and Leon Schlesinger Productions). During that same year, the studio shut its doors for good, though their animation output continued to be distributed until 1949.

The Screen Gems cartoons were only moderately successful when compared to those of Disney, Warner Bros., and MGM. The studio's purpose was assumed by an outside producer, United Productions of America (UPA), whose cartoons, including Gerald McBoing Boing and the Mr. Magoo series, were major critical and commercial successes.

Theatrical short film series

One-shot theatrical short films

  • How War Came (1941)
  • The Great Cheese Mystery (1941)
  • The Dumbconscious Mind (1942)
  • The Vitamin G-Man (1943)
  • He Can't Make It Sick (1943)

Television subsidiary: 1948–74

Older Screen Gems logo used in 1965, notably referred by its viewers as the "S from Hell", partially because of the electronic music composed by Eric Siday that accompanied its display.[1]

In 1948, Screen Gems was revived to serve as the television subsidiary of Columbia, producing and syndicating several popular shows (see below) and also syndicating Columbia Pictures' theatrical film library to television, including the wildly successful series of two-reel short subjects starring The Three Stooges in the late 1950s. Earlier in August 1957, they also acquired syndication rights to "Shock!", a package of Universal horror films (later reverted to MCA TV), which was enormously successful in reviving that genre.[2] The name "Screen Gems", at the time, was used to hide the fact that the film studio was entering television production and distribution. Many film studios saw television as a threat to their business, thus it was expected that they would shun the medium. However, Columbia was one of a few studios who branched out to television under a pseudonym to conceal the true ownership of the television arm. That is until 1955, when Columbia decided to use its Torch Lady logo under the Screen Gems banner.

From 1958 through 1974, under President John H. Mitchell and Vice President of Production Harry Ackerman, Screen Gems delivered classic TV shows and sitcoms: Father Knows Best, Dennis the Menace, The Donna Reed Show, Hazel, Here Come the Brides, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gidget, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun, The Monkees, and The Partridge Family. It was also the original distributor for Hanna-Barbera Productions, an animation studio founded by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera after leaving Columbia's now-semi-sister studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

In the late 1950s Screen Gems would also go into broadcasting. Stations that would be owned by Screen Gems over the years would include KCPX (Salt Lake City), WVUE (New Orleans), WAPA (San Juan), WNJU (Linden, NJ), and several radio stations as well, including 50,000-watt clear channel WWVA (Wheeling WV). As a result in funding its acquisitions, 18% of Screen Gems' was spun-off from Columbia and it became a publicly traded company in NYSE until 1969.

From 1964 to 1969, former child star Jackie Cooper was Vice President of Program Development. He was responsible for packaging series (such as Bewitched) and other projects and selling them to the networks.

In 1965 Columbia Pictures acquired a fifty percent interest in the New York-based commercial production company EUE, which was incorporated into Screen Gems and renamed EUE/Screen Gems. The studios were sold in 1982 to long time Columbia Pictures Executive, George Cooney, shortly after Columbia Pictures was sold to The Coca-Cola Company.

In September 1968, Screen Gems merged with its parent company Columbia Pictures Corporation and became part of the newly-formed Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

In 1974, Screen Gems was renamed Columbia Pictures Television. The final notable production from this incarnation of Screen Gems before the name change was the 1974 mini-series QB VII. Columbia was the last major studio to enter television by name.

Changes in corporate ownership of Columbia came in 1982, when Coca-Cola bought the company, although continuing to trade under the CPT name. In the mid-1980s, Coca-Cola reorganized its television holdings to create Coca-Cola Television, merging CPT with the television unit of Embassy Communications as Columbia/Embassy Television, although both companies continued to use separate identities until February 8, 1988, when it and Tri-Star Television were reunited under the CPT name.

In 1987, Coca-Cola spun off its entertainment holdings into a separate company called Columbia Pictures Entertainment. In 1989, Columbia Pictures was purchased by Sony Corporation of Japan. On August 7, 1991, Columbia Pictures Entertainment was renamed to Sony Pictures Entertainment as a film production-distribution subsidiary, and subsequently combined CPT with a revived TriStar Television in 1994 to form Columbia TriStar Television.

The television division today is presently known as Sony Pictures Television.

Selected TV shows

Television programs produced and/or syndicated by Screen Gems (most shows produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions are now owned and distributed by Warner Bros. Television, except for Jeannie and Partridge Family 2200 A.D. (see below):

Specialty feature film studio, 1999–present

The current Screen Gems "S from Heaven" logo (July 1999-present)

On September 16, 2002, Columbia TriStar Television became Sony Pictures Television,[3] while three years earlier, in 1999, Screen Gems was resurrected as a fourth specialty film producing arm of Sony's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, after Sony Pictures Classics, Triumph Films and Destination Films. Screen Gems produces and releases "films that fall between the wide-release movies traditionally developed and distributed by Columbia Pictures and those released by Sony Pictures Classics."[4] Many of its releases are of the horror, thriller, action, and comedy genres, making the unit similar to Dimension Films (part of The Weinstein Company), Hollywood Pictures (part of the Walt Disney Company), and Rogue Pictures (currently owned by Relativity Media, but distributed by former owners Universal Studios).

The most-successful Screen Gems film commercially as of November 2010 was Resident Evil: Afterlife, which grossed $296,221,566 in international box office receipts.

Screen Gems films

Title Release Date Notes
Limbo June 4, 1999
Arlington Road July 9, 1999
Black and White April 5, 2000
Timecode April 28, 2000
Girlfight September 29, 2000
The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy September 29, 2000
Snatch January 19, 2001
The Brothers March 23, 2001
The Forsaken April 27, 2001
Ghosts of Mars August 24, 2001
Two Can Play That Game September 7, 2001
The Mothman Prophecies January 25, 2002
Slackers February 1, 2002
Resident Evil March 15, 2002
Swept Away October 11, 2002
The 51st State October 18, 2002
Half Past Dead November 15, 2002
The Medallion August 22, 2003 theatrically released by TriStar Pictures in USA
Underworld September 19, 2003 also with Lakeshore Entertainment
In the Cut October 31, 2003
You Got Served January 30, 2004
Breakin' All the Rules May 14, 2004
Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid August 27, 2004
Resident Evil: Apocalypse September 10, 2004
Boogeyman February 4, 2005 also with Ghost House Pictures
The Cave August 26, 2005
The Exorcism of Emily Rose September 9, 2005
The Gospel October 7, 2005
Underworld: Evolution January 20, 2006 also with Lakeshore Entertainment
When a Stranger Calls February 3, 2006
Ultraviolet March 3, 2006
The Covenant September 8, 2006
Stomp the Yard January 12, 2007
The Messengers February 2, 2007 also with Columbia Pictures and Ghost House Pictures)
Vacancy April 20, 2007
Hostel Part 2 June 8, 2007 also with Lions Gate
The Brothers Solomon September 7, 2007 also with Revolution Studios
Resident Evil: Extinction September 21, 2007
This Christmas November 21, 2007
First Sunday January 11, 2008
Untraceable January 25, 2008 also with Universal Pictures and Lakeshore Entertainment
Outpost March 11, 2008 co-production with Newmarket Films
Prom Night April 11, 2008 co-production with Alliance Films
Wieners June 3, 2008
Lakeview Terrace September 19, 2008
Quarantine October 10, 2008
Not Easily Broken January 9, 2009
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans January 23, 2009
Fired Up February 20, 2009
Obsessed April 24, 2009
The Stepfather October 16, 2009
Armored December 4, 2009
Legion January 22, 2010
Dear John February 5, 2010
Death at a Funeral April 16, 2010
Takers August 27, 2010
Resident Evil: Afterlife September 10, 2010
Easy A September 17, 2010
Burlesque November 24, 2010
Country Strong December 22, 2010 (limited); January 7, 2011 (wide)
The Roommate February 4, 2011
Priest May 13, 2011
Friends with Benefits July 22, 2011 co-production with Castle Rock Entertainment
Attack the Block July 29, 2011

Upcoming releases

  • Straw Dogs – September 16, 2011
  • Underworld: Awakening – January 20, 2012
  • The Vow – February 10, 2012
  • Tyrannosaur - TBA 2011
  • Resident Evil: Retribution - September 14, 2012
  • Area 51 (CGI Computer animated 3D) - Thanksgiving, 2015

References

External links


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