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New Line Cinema, often simply known as New Line, was founded in 1967, and is one of the major Americanmarker film studios. Though it initially began as an independent film studio, it became a subsidiary of Time Warner in 1996.


One of the company's early successes was its distribution of the 1936 anti-Cannabis propaganda film Reefer Madness, which became a cult hit on American college campuses in the early 1970s. The studio has also released many of the films of John Waters (not including Cry-Baby which was released by Universal Pictures and Serial Mom, which was produced by Savoy Pictures). A Nightmare on Elm Street was New Line's first commercially successful series after a devastating financial slump, leading the company to be nicknamed "The House that Freddy Built".

New Line also released many classic foreign-language films, like Stay as you are, Immoral Tales and Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (which became the first New Line film to win an Oscar).

In 1993, New Line Cinema was acquired by Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting System, which then merged with Time Warner in 1996. While fellow Turner-owned studios Hanna-Barbera Productions and Castle Rock Entertainment eventually became absorbed into Warner Bros., New Line was kept as its own entity until February 28, 2008 when Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes announced that New Line would shut down as a privately held studio. Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne said that they would step down with a letter to their employees. They promised, however, along with Time Warner and Jeffery Bewkes that the company would continue to operate its financing, producing, marketing and distributing operations of its own films with the New Line logo, but would do so now as a part of Warner Bros. and be a smaller studio, releasing a smaller number of films than in past years. As to the company's future, according to Warner Bros. president Alan Horn, "There's no budget number required. They'll be doing about six per year, though the number may go from four to seven; it's not going to be 10." As to content, "New Line will not just be doing genre [...] There's no mandate to make a particular kind of movie."

In 2007, New Line Cinema and Castle Rock Entertainment collaborated on Fracture, their first joint venture since the mid-1990s before both companies were bought by Turner.

International distribution

Outside the U.S., New Line does not distribute its own films. Rather, it contracts other studios such as Alliance in Canadamarker, Entertainment Film Distributors in the UK, Warner Bros. in German-speaking areas, Singaporemarker, Polandmarker, and the Czech Republicmarker, Village Roadshow Pictures in Australia and New Zealandmarker, Playarte in Brazilmarker, Cine Colombia in Colombiamarker, Metropolitan Filmexport in France and AB Svensk Filmindustri (also known as SF-Film) in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and Pioneer Films of the Philippinesmarker to distribute its product overseas. International distribution of New Line films will revert to Warner Bros. after third-party distribution contracts expire (no timeframe has been set for this yet). The first expiration will be Village Roadshow as overall Australian distributor, they will remain as theatrical distributor (as they have theatrical rights to WB films there), but WB will handle DVD releases.

Divisions of New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema operated several divisions, including theatrical distribution, marketing, home video, and was a partner in new (and relatively short-lived) distribution company called Picturehouse. Specializing in independent film, Picturehouse was formed by Bob Berney (who left distributor Newmarket Films), New Line (who folded their division Fine Line into this), and HBO Films (a division of HBO and subsidiary of Time Warner), who was interested in getting into the theatrical movie business. On May 8, 2008 it was announced that Picturehouse would shut down in the fall.

Home video distribution

In comparison with other independent motion picture studios

Unlike other independent studios such as Orion Pictures, Carolco Pictures, or Cannon Films, New Line Cinema grew and prospered to become one of Hollywood's major film studios, culminating in the hit Lord of the Rings film trilogy that brought commercial success to the studio.

Prior to this, New Line was responsible for genre films and cult classics such as Dark City, The Mask, the Austin Powers film trilogy, the fantasy Pleasantville, the Nightmare on Elm Street series, the film Friday (and its two sequels Next Friday and Friday After Next) , the films of John Waters, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films, and the highly successful movie adaptation of Mortal Kombat (as well as its ill-fated sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation).

Collaborations with other major studios

The first such film was the reboot of Friday the 13th. It is co-produced with Paramount Pictures, the other major distributor of that franchise's films. The US distribution rights are with Warner Bros., while Paramount Pictures will handle international rights (distributing through either Universal Studios or United International Pictures in some countries, while Paramount Pictures distributes directly in others). This essentially mirrors the distribution setup for the original film, where Paramount Pictures had US rights, and Warner Bros. had international rights.

Later on down the road will be the upcoming film version of The Hobbit. This film is being co-produced with NLC's TV distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, as a result of various rights issues. Again, New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.) holds the US rights, while the co-producing studio (in this case, MGM through 20th Century Fox) has international rights.


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