Anchor Bay Entertainment (formerly Video Treasures and Starmaker Entertainment) was an American home entertainment and production company. It was a subsidiary of Starz Inc.. Anchor Bay Entertainment marketed and sold feature films, series, television specials and short films to consumers worldwide. In 2004, Anchor Bay agreed to have its movies distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and renewed their deal in 2011. A year after Starz launched a home entertainment division (in-name only) in 2016, it later folded Anchor Bay Entertainment into Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
|Formerly||Video Treasures (1985–1998)|
Starmaker Entertainment (1988-1998)
|Industry||Home video, television syndication, motion pictures|
|Fate||Folded into Lionsgate Home Entertainment|
|Successor||Lionsgate Home Entertainment|
|Headquarters||Beverly Hills, California|
|Products||DVD, Blu-ray, LaserDisc, VHS|
Anchor Bay Entertainment can date its origins back to two separate home video distributors: Video Treasures, formed in 1985, and Starmaker Entertainment, founded in 1988. Both companies sold budget items — reissues of previously released home video programming — at discount prices. Video Treasures started with public domain titles, and later made licensing deals with Vestron Video, Heron Communications (including Media Home Entertainment and Hi-Tops Video), Britt Allcroft (the Thomas the Tank Engine series; this was inherited from Strand Home Video when Video Treasures purchased that label from VCI in 1993), Trans World Entertainment, Regal Video, Virgin Vision, Hal Roach Studios, Jerry Lewis, and Orion Pictures, among others. Starmaker's major distributions were films from the then-recently out-of-business New World Pictures and programs previously licensed to their video division. Viacom programs and Saturday Night Live compilations were other notable Starmaker releases. The companies competed with each other for years, until they were sold to the Handleman Company, and formed a new corporate umbrella: Anchor Bay Entertainment, on May 2, 1995. The company also bought out (through the Video Treasures and Starmaker acquisitions) other budget home video and music distributors such as MNTEX Entertainment, Teal Entertainment, Burbank Video, Drive Entertainment, and GTS Records. Both the Video Treasures and Starmaker labels were phased out a few years later.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Anchor Bay specialized in the release of horror films, particularly cult films and slasher movies from the 1970s and 1980s. One of its first releases was Prom Night in 1980. It also released Halloween (as well as its 3rd, 4th, and 5th sequels), Hellraiser, and many others, leading the home video market for obscure and retro horror films.
On February 4, 2005, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges against two former employees of Anchor Bay Entertainment, a former subsidiary of Handleman Company. The SEC's complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleges that the two employees caused the company to enter into a 2 million-dollar fraudulent transactions. The transactions involved the purported sale of slow-moving or obsolete inventory to business partners coupled with secret buy-back provisions. The inventory included worthless video boxes and sleeves and DVDs for films. Handleman subsequently restated its financial statements to correct these accounting errors. Liberty Media, the owner of the Starz cable network, purchased IDT Entertainment from IDT Corporation in 2006 and renamed it Starz Media.
In May 2007, Anchor Bay became known as Starz Home Entertainment (SHE). SHE announced on June 19, 2007, that it will be releasing high-definition versions of its films exclusively in the Blu-ray format. In 2008, Starz Media reinstated the Anchor Bay Entertainment brand, and all current releases bear this name. Many of the company's past cult titles have gone out of print, although some have been reissued by Blue Underground.
SPHE had a three-year deal with Starz's Anchor Bay Entertainment for worldwide DVD releases, with the exceptions of North America, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
On January 4, 2011, Starz, LLC sold 25% of Starz Media to The Weinstein Company, which rendered Anchor Bay the de facto video distributor of films made by TWC and Dimension. Starz later bought back the Weinstein's stake in October 2015, with Anchor Bay continuing to release TWC and Dimension video releases.
In early 2015, Anchor Bay UK (alongside Manga Entertainment UK) was bought from Starz by managing director Colin Lomax and renamed to Platform Entertainment. Kaleidoscope Film Distribution would acquire Platform in December 2016, with Manga Entertainment UK becoming an separate entity and operating on its own, which itself was eventually acquired by Funimation in 2019.
On June 30, 2016, Lionsgate agreed to acquire Anchor Bay's parent company Starz Inc. for $4.4 billion in cash and stock. The Starz/Lionsgate merger was completed on December 8, 2016. Afterwards, Lionsgate folded Anchor Bay into the former's home entertainment division. As of 2019, Anchor Bay's website remains online, but with all the links broken.
- Most of the libraries of EMI Films, and Alexander Salkind (via StudioCanal) (now handled by Lionsgate)
- Select 20th Century Fox titles under license from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
- Some of the Universal Pictures films under license from Universal Studios Home Video such as Army of Darkness, The Car and Repo Man, although licensing on these have reverted to Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
- Davis-Panzer Productions (The Osterman Weekend)
- Moustapha Akkad's Trancas International Pictures (production company behind the Halloween series)
- New World Pictures (The Boys Next Door, Children of the Corn, Creepshow 2, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Heathers, Godzilla 1985, etc.) (now handled by Image Entertainment through their deal with Lakeshore Entertainment)
- Most of the 1950s–1980s Walt Disney Productions/Walt Disney Pictures live-action library, as well as the film library of American Broadcasting Company, under license from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (The Black Hole, The Cat from Outer Space, Condorman, One Magic Christmas, The Devil and Max Devlin, The Happiest Millionaire, The Great Locomotive Chase, Return to Oz, Tex, The North Avenue Irregulars, The Watcher in the Woods, etc.), although licensing has reverted to Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, while the ABC library is currently distributed by Kino Lorber under license from Disney (formerly MGM Home Entertainment).
- Overture Films, also owned by Starz Distribution
- The Weinstein Company (now Lantern Entertainment) and Dimension Films from March 2011 until Anchor Bay went defunct in 2017 (now handled by Lionsgate)
- The libraries of Media Home Entertainment, Prism Entertainment, Wizard Video and Regal Video
- Worked alongside Troma Entertainment in re-releasing some of their older films on Blu-ray as well as distributing their newest production, Return to Nuke 'Em High.
- Against the Wild 1 & 2, from writer/director, Richard Boddington
During its original incarnation in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Anchor Bay specialized in the release of horror and cult films, particularly those of the 1970s and 1980s. The company's first-ever DVD release was The Car in April 1997, followed by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark that August, and an extended cut (erroneously titled as a director's cut) of Dawn of the Dead in November 1997. The company's next release was Prom Night in February 1998.
It also released Halloween (as well as its third and fourth sequels), Sleepaway Camp, Alice, Sweet Alice, The Hills Have Eyes, Suspiria, Maniac, the first three Hellraiser films, The Wicker Man, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Children of the Corn, The Beyond and several Lucio Fulci films. Some of these were given numbered limited edition releases which included multiple discs, information booklets and collectible tin cases. Many of these releases have since gone out of print and became sought-after collectibles.
Anchor Bay is also noted for the release of the Evil Dead film trilogy on DVD, in numerous editions. Army of Darkness for example, had been released in both a regular and limited edition set that featured the director's cut. Since then, the director's cut has been re-released on two separate occasions in addition to a 2-disc "Boomstick Edition" of the film as well. Until Anchor Bay released The Evil Dead on VHS and DVD, it was previously unavailable on video from a major label.
Also among its more profitable releases has been George A. Romero's Living Dead series. Anchor Bay has distribution rights for the middle two films in the tetralogy: Dawn and Day, however, it has also distributed DVDs of the original, Night of the Living Dead, which is in the public domain. Like the Evil Dead trilogy, the Living Dead series has seen many editions on DVD. Dawn has itself seen several releases on DVD, the most extra feature-laden being the Ultimate Edition in late 2004. An Evil Dead 3-disc Ultimate Edition DVD was released in December 2007.
In addition to feature films, Anchor Bay distributed special interest titles, including children's series, such as Bobby's World and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Until 2008, they distributed Thomas & Friends videos. Thomas has reached platinum-selling status and, in 2004, ranked consistently on the VideoScan ranking top 50 chart of children's weekly video sales. Lionsgate acquired the Thomas DVD titles after HIT Entertainment bought out the rights to Thomas. Rights to the Thomas DVDs now belong to Universal (through their deal with Mattel, HIT's current parent company). The company also has a top market share for fitness videos such as the Crunch and For Dummies series. The company also distributed UFC events on DVD and Blu-ray.
As a full-fledged production company, it handled TV syndication of Halloween, Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 (to which it also holds the video rights) and have recently entered in-house production and distribution of theatrical films.
Anchor Bay Entertainment received a Special Achievement Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in June 2002. Anchor Bay was recognized as one of the "pioneers in DVD releases and home video entertainment" and "successful in releasing dramas, comedies, foreign films, children's programming, and most prominently genre films." Cited as highlights of Anchor Bay's releases were "the films of Hammer Studios, the works of Werner Herzog, Paul Verhoeven, Wim Wenders, John Woo, Monte Hellman and Sam Raimi".
- Video Treasures
- Starmaker Entertainment
- MNTEX Entertainment
- Teal Entertainment
- Burbank Video
- Troy Gold
- Viking Video Classics
- Drive Entertainment
- GTS Records
- Media Home Entertainment
- Strand Home Video
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved May 19, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Executive Biography of George Port Archived July 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine from the MarVista Entertainment website
- Billboard (May 20, 1995), page 84-85.
- "PLATFORM ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
- "IDT acquires Anchor Bay homevid biz". Variety. December 7, 2003. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- "IDT Entertainment to acquire Anchor Bay Entertainment" (Press release). IDT Corporation. December 3, 2003. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- Kay, Jeremy (December 3, 2003). "IDT close to acquisition of DVD/video company Anchor Bay". Screen Daily. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- "A New Starz is Born" (Press release). PRNewswire. August 29, 2006. Archived from the original on December 16, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
- "Weinsteins Buy 25% Stake In Starz Media". Deadline Hollywood. January 4, 2011. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "IR Home". Investors.lionsgate.com. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
- Lieberman, David (June 30, 2016). "Lionsgate Agrees To Buy Starz For $4.4 Billion In Cash And Stock". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
- Lieberman, David (December 8, 2016). "Lionsgate Closes Deal To Buy Starz". Deadline. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
- Jordan Pinto. "Against the Wild 2 gets U.S. theatrical release". Playbackonline.ca. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
- "Discs Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment". DVDloc: The Internet DVD Database. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
- Catalogue listings state that Prom Night was released by Anchor Bay on February 18, 1998.
- "2002 Special Award". IMDb.com. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
- Official U.S. website
- Official U.K. website
- Official Australian website
- Anchor Bay Entertainment (Australia) at IMDb
- Anchor Bay Entertainment (U.K.) at IMDb
- Anchor Bay Entertainment (U.S.) at IMDb
- Anchor Bay Films at IMDb
- Video Treasures at IMDb
- Starmaker Entertainment at IMDb
- Starmaker Video at IMDb
- The Starmaker Group at IMDb