Savoy Pictures

Last updated
Savoy Pictures Entertainment, Inc.
IndustryIndependent film studio, television station holdings company
Fateacquired by IAC/Interactive Corporation, library now owned by Universal Studios via Focus Features
FounderVictor Kaufman
United States
Key people
Victor A. Kaufman
Lewis J. Korman
ProductsMotion Pictures
Owner IAC (1995–1997)
Number of employees
16 (1997)
Subsidiaries HBO Savoy Video
Savoy Pictures Television
SF Broadcasting

Savoy Pictures Entertainment, Inc. was an American independent motion picture company in operation from 1992 to 1997. Among Savoy Pictures' noteworthy feature films were A Bronx Tale , No Escape , Last of the Dogmen and Serial Mom .



Former Columbia Pictures Entertainment chairman and TriStar Pictures founder Victor A. Kaufman became chairman and chief executive officer of Savoy Pictures in 1992 along with vice chairman executive, Lewis J. Korman. Kaufman has claimed that the name came from the Savoy Special bat Robert Redford's character used in The Natural . [1] Savoy intended to finance and distribute films in the $12–25 million range, investing in up to $15 million per film. [2] In June of that year, Savoy entered into a deal with HBO for the home video, pay-TV, and pay-per-view rights to its films. [3]

Budgets for their films grew. However, with rather poor marketing, Savoy faced a major financial slump, only three years after being formed. For three years, Savoy then released box office failures including Exit to Eden and Getting Away with Murder . It also didn't help that two of its competitors in the independent film field, Miramax and New Line Cinema, were bought out by majors (The Walt Disney Company and Turner Broadcasting, respectively), giving them stability. As a result, Savoy focused on low-budget films and the occasional blockbuster, costing up to $80 million. [2] Executives hoped to lure Sylvester Stallone with a then-hefty $20 million paycheck to star in a studio project that was ultimately never made. [2]

In the meantime, Savoy expanded into broadcasting to help the investment of films. In March 1994, Savoy created SF Broadcasting as a venture with Fox Television Stations, with Kaufman and Korman owning controlling interest. [4] As a result of purchasing these stations, all of them would become affiliates of the Fox network. Stations owned by SF Broadcasting were WALA-TV in Mobile, Alabama, WLUK-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin, WVUE in New Orleans, and KHON-TV in Honolulu, Hawaii. Savoy also launched a television production division. [5]

In January 1995, Kaufman announced that he was hiring Robert N. Fried to run the motion picture studio. Fried brought in executives Alan Sokol, Bob Levin, Cathy Schulman, Stan Brooks, Stan Wlodkowski and filmmakers Sam Raimi, and George Tillman, Rob Weiss and Peter Chelsom. In September 1995, Kaufman announced that he was cutting back on his interest in the motion picture business and was re-positioning the company as a television station holding company. [6]

Shortly thereafter, Savoy announced the sale of 14 films in its roster, in varying stages of production, to potential buyers. [7] New Line Cinema picked up Martin Lawrence's directorial debut A Thin Line Between Love and Hate , American History X , The Adventures of Pinocchio , Heaven's Prisoners , Faithful , and The Stupids . [8] [9] [10] Paramount Pictures picked up the rights to produce A Simple Plan . [11]

Savoy Pictures announced in November 1995 that Barry Diller's Silver King Communications was going to acquire Savoy for $210 million. [12] The deal was finalized in 1997. Victor Kaufman is now[ when? ] vice chairman and sits on the board of directors of IAC. The SF stations were sold to Diller's Silver King Broadcasting in 1997.

Cineplex Odeon Films was the Canadian distributor for Savoy films, then Alliance Films became the Canadian distributor after New Line Cinema picked up the later films from 1996.

In 2006, the Savoy library was purchased by Universal Studios through Focus Features.


Release DateTitleNotes
September 29, 1993 A Bronx Tale First Savoy film, co-production with TriBeCa Productions
December 25, 1993 Shadowlands US distributor; co-production with Price Entertainment and Spelling Bee International, Paramount Pictures distributed in UK
March 11, 1994 Lightning Jack US distributor only; co-production with Village Roadshow and Buena Vista Pictures
April 13, 1994 Serial Mom Co-production with Polar Entertainment Corporation
April 29, 1994 No Escape USA/Canada and UK distributor; co-production with Allied Filmmakers, Pacific Western; Columbia Pictures handled international distribution rights
October 14, 1994 Exit to Eden
February 24, 1995 The Walking Dead
March 15, 1995 Circle of Friends US distribution; Rank Organisation distribution in UK and Cineplex Odeon Films distributed in Canada
April 28, 1995 Destiny Turns on the Radio Distribution; co-production with Rysher Entertainment
May 24, 1995 Tales from the Hood Distribution only; co-production with 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks
August 25, 1995 Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde US distributor; co-production with Rastar and Rank Organisation
August 25, 1995 The Show Co-production with Rysher Entertainment
September 8, 1995 Last of the Dogmen US distributor; co-production with Carolco Pictures. Pathé distributed internationally
September 22, 1995 Bleeding Hearts Distribution; co-production with Peacock Films
September 29, 1995 Steal Big Steal Little
October 27, 1995 Three Wishes Co-production with Rysher Entertainment
November 17, 1995 Let It Be Me
December 1, 1995 White Man's Burden Co-production with Rysher Entertainment and UGC
April 3, 1996 Faithful Co-producer; New Line Cinema, Miramax Films and TriBeCa Productions
April 5, 1996 A Thin Line Between Love and Hate Co-production with New Line Cinema
April 12, 1996 Getting Away with Murder
May 17, 1996 Heaven's Prisoners producer; distribution by New Line Cinema
July 26, 1996 The Adventures of Pinocchio International distributor; co-production with New Line Cinema and The Kushner-Locker Company
August 30, 1996 The Stupids Co-production with New Line Cinema and Rank Film distributors
December 11, 1998 A Simple Plan Last Savoy Film. International distribution; co-production with Mutual Film Company, Paramount Pictures, Tele-München and BBC

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  1. "Victor Kaufman – Savoy Pictures and Home Shopping Network". Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  2. 1 2 3 Fabrikant, Geraldine. Savoy Pictures' High and Low Roads. The New York Times (January 18, 1995)
  3. Lippman, John (June 16, 1992). "Savoy Pictures and HBO Cut a Film Deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  4. THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Savoy and Fox TV Venture. The New York Times (March 18, 1994)
  5. COMPANY TOWN : Savoy Pictures Names Stanley Brooks to Head Its Television Production Division. The Los Angeles Times (May 9, 1995)
  6. Savoy Pictures To Focus on TV. The Los Angeles Times (September 18, 1995)
  7. "Savoy leaves the spotlight" . Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  8. Abramovitch, Ingrid (1997-03-09). "Lost Without a Screen: the Fate of 'Orphan' Films". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  9. Goldstein, Patrick (1998-09-13). "Courting Trouble". Los Angeles Times. ISSN   0458-3035 . Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  10. BATES, JAMES (1995-11-21). "COMPANY TOWN : New Line Gains Domestic Rights to 4 Savoy Films". Los Angeles Times. ISSN   0458-3035 . Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  11. "ILL-FATED `SIMPLE PLAN' OFF AGAIN. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  12. Peers, Martin (November 28, 1995). "Diller deal bails out Savoy stock". Daily Variety . p. 1.