Artisan Entertainment

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Artisan Entertainment
Industry Home video company
Motion pictures
Fate Acquired by and folded into Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc.
Successor Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Lionsgate Films
Founded 1980 (as Family Home Entertainment)
1983 (as U.S.A. Home Video)
1984 (as International Video Entertainment)
1990 (as Live Entertainment)
1998 (as Artisan Entertainment)
Defunct 2004
Headquarters 15400 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA (1986-1998)
2700 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA (1998-2004)
Key people
Noel Bloom, Sr.
Parent Family Home Entertainment (1983-1984)
International Video Entertainment (1984-1988)
LIVE Entertainment (1988-1998)
Artisan Entertainment (1998-2004)
Divisions Artisan Pictures
Artisan Television
Artisan Home Entertainment

Artisan Entertainment Inc. was a privately held independent American movie studio until it was purchased by Canadian 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. Mark Amin funded Artisan and sale was rumored to be backed by Keyur Patel, a media investor in formation of new studio. Its headquarters and private screening room were located in Santa Monica, California. It also had an office in TriBeCa, Lower Manhattan, New York City.[1]

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.

In 1985, FHE and U.S.A. were consolidated into International Video Entertainment, Inc.. The IVE name was used for non-family releases and FHE name was used for family releases[2] In the late 1980s, the company branched into film distribution for television.

In 1987, IVE was acquired by Carolco Pictures.[3] The unrated release of Angel Heart was the first Carolco film released by IVE on video. The first two Carolco films (First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part II) were released under the Thorn/EMI/HBO Video name, but were rereleased in 1990 and 1988, respectively, under IVE. 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.[3] In 1989, Menendez and his wife were murdered by their two sons.[3]

In 1988, IVE and FHE consolidated into Live Entertainment after a merger with Lieberman.[4] 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.[3]


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.[3]

LIVE Entertainment decided to branch 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.[5] Other films included Paul Schrader's Light Sleeper.[3]

In 1991, the company took over Vestron 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. 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.[6] In 1993, Carolco restructured itself and was forced to sell its shares in LIVE Entertainment to a group of investors led by Pioneer Electric Corporation.[3] In August 1994, Carolco and LIVE plotted another merger attempt, but the plans fell apart once again that October.[7][8] 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.[3]

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.

On September 13, 2000, Artisan launched Artisan Digital Media and iArtisan.[9]

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.[10] On December 15, 2003, Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation acquired Artisan for $220 million[11] and video releases through Artisan have now been re-released under the Lionsgate Home Entertainment banner. After the sale, Artisan Entertainment, Inc. was renamed as Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc.


As LIVE Entertainment

As Artisan Entertainment

See also


  1. "Company Profile." Artisan Entertainment. April 8, 2003. Retrieved on September 3, 2011.
  2. Billboard (31 August 1985, p. 49).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 "Artisan Entertainment Inc. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Artisan Entertainment Inc". Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  4. Prince, pp. 145-146.
  6. Apodaca, Patrice (4 December 1991). "Carolco Drops Merger Talks With Live." Los Angeles Times.
  7. [1]
  8. [2]
  9. "Variety" Artisan spins web, Retrieved on July 3, 2012
  10. Farrow, Boyd (April 16, 2004). "New York-Based Marvel Enterprises Launches London-Based International Division". Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  11. SHARON WAXMAN "New York Times" December 16, 2003 With Acquisition, Lions Gate Is Now Largest Indie, Retrieved on July 20, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Nichols, Peter M. (July 9, 1993). "Home Video". The New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2015. 

External links