Artisan Entertainment

Last updated
Artisan Entertainment, Inc.
FormerlyU.S.A. Home Video (1983–1987)
International Video Entertainment, Inc. (1985–1990)
LIVE Entertainment (1988–1998)
Type Subsidiary
Industry Home video
Motion pictures
Founded1983;38 years ago (1983) (as U.S.A. Home Video)
Defunct2004;17 years ago (2004)
FateAcquired and folded into Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc.
Successor Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Lionsgate Films
Headquarters15400 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA (1986–1998)
2700 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA (1998–2004)
Key people
Noel Bloom Sr.
OwnerFamily Home Entertainment (1983–1984)
NCB Entertainment Group (1984–1987)
Carolco Pictures (1987–1993)
Independent (1993–1997)
Bain Capital (1997–2003)
Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc. (2003–2004)
Divisions Artisan Pictures
Artisan Television
Artisan Home Entertainment
Artisan Digital Media
Family Home Entertainment
FHE Kids

Artisan Entertainment (formerly known as U.S.A. Home Video, International Video Entertainment (IVE) and LIVE Entertainment) was an American film studio and home video company. It was considered one of the largest mini-major film studios [1] until it was purchased by later mini-major film studio Lions Gate Entertainment in 2003. At the time of its acquisition, Artisan had a library of thousands of films developed through acquisition, original production, and production and distribution agreements. Its headquarters and private screening room were located in Santa Monica, California. It also had an office in Tribeca in Manhattan, New York. [2]


The company owned the home video rights to the film libraries of Republic Pictures, ITC Entertainment, EMI Films, Gladden Entertainment, Hemdale Film Corporation, The Shooting Gallery, and Carolco Pictures before it went defunct.

Artisan's releases included Requiem for a Dream , Pi , Grizzly Falls , Killing Zoe , National Lampoon's Van Wilder , The Blair Witch Project , Novocaine , and .


Artisan, unlike most movie studios, had its roots in the home video industry.


Artisan Entertainment was founded in 1981 by Noel C. Bloom as Family Home Entertainment, Inc.. In 1983, FHE began operating its new subsidiary U.S.A. Home Video, when tapes were usually packaged in large boxes and included non-family films such as Supergirl , Silent Night, Deadly Night , and many B-movies, including those that begin and end with B-actress Sybil Danning talking about the film that is being shown under the Adventure Video label. U.S.A. also released sports videos under the U.S.A. Sports Video label.

In 1984, FHE and U.S.A. became part of Noel Bloom's NCB Entertainment Group (which also included Bloom's other labels Caballero Home Video, Monterey Home Video, Thriller Video and later Celebrity Home Entertainment), and then a year later in 1985, both were consolidated into International Video Entertainment, Inc., formed under NCB and also taking ownership of Monterey and Thriller Video. The IVE name was used for non-family releases (although the U.S.A. name continued until 1987) and FHE name was used for family releases [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] In the late 1980s, the company branched into film distribution for television.

In 1987, IVE was acquired by Carolco Pictures from NCB Entertainment after Carolco had a short-lived minority interest in the latter a year earlier. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] The unrated release of Angel Heart was the first Carolco film released by IVE on video. The studio hired Jose Menendez as head of IVE; he was responsible for creating product deals with Sylvester Stallone's White Eagle Enterprises and producer Edward Pressman. [10] In 1989, Menendez and his wife were murdered by their two sons. [10] [15]

In 1988, IVE and FHE consolidated into LIVE Entertainment after a merger with Lieberman. [16] [17] LIVE formed new ventures outside the home video business, including an ownership of retail music and video chains across the East Coast, after the acquisitions of such stores as Strawberries and Waxie Maxie and its Lieberman subsidiary acquired Navarre Corporation. [10]


The LIVE Entertainment logo LIVEEntertainmentlogo1.jpg
The LIVE Entertainment logo

In 1990, IVE became LIVE Home Video. Carolco formed its own home video division under partnership with LIVE. The company also formed Avid Home Entertainment, which reissued older IVE products, as well as ITC Entertainment's back catalogue, on videocassette at discount prices. Also in 1990, LIVE acquired German video distributor VCL. [10] [18]

LIVE Entertainment branched into film production. The company spent more than a million dollars to finance the 1992 film Reservoir Dogs , which marked the directorial debut of Quentin Tarantino. [19] Other films included Paul Schrader's Light Sleeper . [10]

On January 11, 1991, Live announced that it would acquire Vestron for $24 million after its downfall; Vestron had been known best for Dirty Dancing , which had been the second highest-grossing independent film of all time. Vestron releases continued into 1992. [20] For several years starting in 1993, LIVE Entertainment distributed anime released by Pioneer Entertainment, including Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki and the first Tenchi Muyo! movie, Tenchi Muyo! in Love .

Much of LIVE's earnings was partially thanks to Carolco's investment in the company, but by 1991, the studio was in such debt that a plan to merge the two companies was called off that December. [21] In 1993, Carolco restructured itself and was forced to sell its shares in LIVE Entertainment to a group of investors led by Pioneer Electronic Corporation. [10] In August 1994, Carolco and LIVE plotted another merger attempt, but the plans fell apart once again that October. [22] [23] In 1996, when Carolco ceased to exist as a company, StudioCanal got full rights to their film library and thus LIVE (under a new deal with the French-based production company) continued to distribute Carolco's films for video.

Other ex-video distributors that had been owned by and folded into LIVE Entertainment included Tenth Avenue Video (and Platinum Productions), and Magnum Entertainment.


In 1997, LIVE was acquired by Bain Capital and was taken private. As part of a restructuring process, in April 1998, the company became Artisan Entertainment. [10]

In September 1998, Artisan signed a deal with Spelling Entertainment Group to distribute films from its Republic Pictures unit for home video release. [24]

From 1998 until 1999, Artisan's video unit began to expand to include the Hallmark Entertainment and Hallmark Hall of Fame movies on VHS and DVD and Discovery Communications releases. [25]

In May 2000, Marvel Studios negotiated a deal with Artisan Entertainment for a co-production joint venture that included rights to 15 Marvel characters including Captain America, Thor, the Black Panther, Iron Fist, and Deadpool. Artisan would finance and distribute while Marvel would developing licensing and merchandising tie-ins. The resulting production library, which would also include TV series, direct-to-video films and internet projects, would be co-owned. [26]

On September 13, 2000, Artisan launched Artisan Digital Media and iArtisan. [27]

In 2001, the company acquired Canadian film and TV company Landscape Entertainment. [28]

In May 2003, Artisan and Microsoft jointly announced the first release of a high definition DVD, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Extreme Edition). The release was a promotion for the Windows Media version 9 format; it could only be played on a personal computer with Windows XP. Artisan had released the movie in 2002 on D-VHS. In the summer 2003, Marvel Enterprises placed an offer for Artisan, with then-Disney-owned and Weinstein-operated Miramax Films to provide backing for Marvel's bid. [29] [30] On December 15, 2003, Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation acquired Artisan for $220 million [31] and video releases through Artisan have now been re-released under the Lionsgate Home Entertainment banner. After the sale, Artisan Entertainment, Inc. was renamed to Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc.


As LIVE Entertainment

Release dateTitleNotes
September 4, 1992 Bob Roberts [32] co-production with Paramount Pictures, Miramax Films, StudioCanal and Working Title Films
October 23, 1992 Reservoir Dogs [32] co-production with Miramax Films
November 20, 1992 Bad Lieutenant [32] distributed by Aries Films; video distributor
July 30, 1993 Tom and Jerry: The Movie U.S. co-distributor
September 17, 1993 Frauds co-production with J&M Entertainment and Latent Image Productions
July 8, 1994 Pentathlon
January 19, 1995Mutant Speciesco-production with Southern Star Studios
April 28, 1995 Top Dog
June 2, 1995 Out-of-Sync co-production with United Image Entertainment
September 9, 1995 Blood and Donuts co-production with Daban Films and The Feature Film Project
April 19, 1996 The Substitute co-production with Orion Pictures
May 31, 1996 The Arrival
August 2, 1996 Phat Beach
September 17, 1996 Deadly Outbreak co-distributed by Nu Image Films
October 11, 1996 Trees Lounge co-production with Orion Pictures and Pioneer Entertainment
February 7, 1997 Hotel de Love co-production with Village Roadshow Pictures and Pratt Films
March 7, 1997 The Grotesque
September 19, 1997 Wishmaster
October 31, 1997 Critical Care co-production with Village Roadshow Pictures, Mediaworks and ASAQ Film Partnership
November 18, 1997 Joyride co-production with Trillion Entertainment
December 19, 1997 Open Your Eyes co-production with Redbus Film Distribution
February 27, 1998 Caught Up co-production with Heller Highwater Productions
April 17, 1998 Suicide Kings co-production with Dinamo Entertainment

As Artisan Entertainment

Release dateTitleNotes
July 10, 1998 Pi co-production with Protozoa Pictures
September 16, 1998 Permanent Midnight co-production with JD Productions
October 1998 Dark Harbor co-productions with Killer Films
October 2, 1998 Strangeland co-production with Shooting Gallery, Snider Than Thou Productions, Raucous Releasing and Behaviour Communications
October 13, 1998 Butter co-production with HBO Films, CineTel Pictures, Buttler Films and World International Network
October 14, 1998 The Cruise co-production with Charter Films
November 4, 1998 Belly co-production with Big Dog Films
November 6, 1998 Arrival II co-production with Rootbeer Films and Taurus 7 Film Corporation
November 25, 1998 Ringmaster co-production with Motion Picture Corporation of America and The Kushner-Locke Company
January 1, 1999 Hot Boyz
January 29, 1999 The 24 Hour Woman co-production with Shooting Gallery
February 26, 1999 The Breaks
April 9, 1999 Foolish co-production with No Limit Films
May 18, 1999 Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
June 4, 1999 Buena Vista Social Club
July 30, 1999 The Blair Witch Project co-production with Haxan Films
September 10, 1999 Stir of Echoes
October 8, 1999 The Minus Man co-production with TSG Pictures
The Limey
November 5, 1999 Grizzly Falls co-production with Providence Entertainment
November 30, 1999 Candyman: Day of the Dead
August 11, 2000 Cecil B. Demented co-production with Le Studio Canal+ and Polar Entertainment
September 8, 2000 The Way of the Gun
October 13, 2000 Dr. T & the Women
October 27, 2000 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 co-production with Haxan Films
Requiem for a Dream co-production with Thousand Words and Protozoa Pictures
December 1, 2000 Panic
January 21, 2001 Nobody's Baby co-production with Millennium Pictures, SE8 Group and Front Street Pictures
April 19, 2001 The Center of the World co-production with Redeemable Features
May 9, 2001 'R Xmas
May 25, 2001 co-production with Artificial Eye and Noujaim Films
July 13, 2001 Made
August 17, 2001 Double Bang
September 7, 2001 Soul Survivors
September 8, 2001 Novocaine
November 13, 2001 Ticker co-production with Nu Image Films, Filmwerks, Kings Road Entertainment and Emmett/Furla Films
December 16, 2001 Say Nothing
January 6, 2002 Sins of the Father co-production with Landscape Entertainment and FX
February 14, 2002 Book of Love co-production with Crossroads Pictures
April 5, 2002 National Lampoon's Van Wilder co-production with Myriad Pictures and Tapestry Films
July 2, 2002 Chat Room co-production with Megastar Pictures and Inverness Media
July 23, 2002 Con Express co-production with PM Entertainment; U.S. theatrical distributor
October 4, 2002 Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie co-production with Big Idea Productions and FHE Pictures
October 18, 2002 Children on Their Birthdays co-production with Frantic Redhead Productions, Crusader Entertainment and Salem Productions; co-distributed by Koch Media and Moonstone Entertainment
October 25, 2002 Roger Dodger co-production with Holedigger Films
November 15, 2002 Standing in the Shadows of Motown
January 3, 2003 Final Examination co-production with Franchise Pictures, Epsilon Motion Pictures, Hawaii Filmwerks and Royal Oaks Entertainment
February 19, 2003 Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony
March 21, 2003 Boat Trip co-production with Nordisk Film and Motion Picture Corporation of America
July 13, 2003 Blue Hill Avenue co-production with Asiatic Pictures, Cahoots Productions and Den Pictures
July 22, 2003 Guilty by Association
August 5, 2003 Step into Liquid
September 12, 2003 Dummy co-production with Quadrant Entertainment and Dummy Productions LLC
October 10, 2003 House of the Dead
December 16, 2003 Devil's Pond co-production with Davis Entertainment, Filmworks and Splendid Pictures
February 27, 2004 Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights co-production with Lions Gate Films, Miramax Films, A Band Apart, Lawrence Bender Productions and Havana Nights LLC
March 16, 2004 Quicksand co-production with First Look Pictures and Cinerenta
April 16, 2004 The Punisher co-production with Marvel Entertainment and Valhalla Motion Pictures; Columbia Pictures handled international rights distribution
March 11, 2005 Dot the i co-production with Summit Entertainment, Alquima Cinema and Arcane Pictures
April 30, 2005 Man-Thing co-production with Lionsgate Films, Marvel Entertainment, Fierce Entertainment and Screenland Movieworld; the last film by Artisan

Television films

Release dateTitleNetworkNotes
August 25, 2002 RFK Fox co-production with 20th Century Fox Television
March 9, 2003 Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt CBS co-production with Fox Television Studios and The Kaufman Company

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