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Cinergi Pictures Entertainment Inc.
IndustryFilm studio
PredecessorCarolco International Pictures
Founded1989; 33 years ago (1989)
FounderAndrew G. Vajna
Defunct1998; 24 years ago (1998)
FateCeased operations, film library now owned by Disney
SuccessorsStudio:
C2 Pictures
Library:
Walt Disney Studios
HeadquartersSanta Monica, California, United States
Key people
Andrew G. Vajna
DivisionsCinergi Productions N.V. Inc.
SubsidiariesCinergi F/X (1995–1997)

Cinergi Pictures Inc. was an American independent film production company founded by Andrew G. Vajna in 1989, after he had sold his interest in his first production company, Carolco International Pictures. The company had a number of major hit films, most notably Tombstone, Die Hard with a Vengeance and Evita. However, the majority of their films lost money. A string of box office bombs – including Renaissance Man, Color of Night, Judge Dredd, The Scarlet Letter, Nixon, Shadow Conspiracy, Deep Rising and An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn – ultimately did the company in, and it was dissolved on February 27, 1998. Cinergi Pictures' library is now owned by Disney.[1]

Pre-founding

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Andrew G. Vajna, a Hungarian native, launched his career in the entertainment industry with his purchase of motion picture theaters in the Far East. Later, he founded Panasia Films Limited in Hong Kong before forming Carolco with Mario Kassar in 1976. In less than four years, Carolco became one of the top three foreign sales organizations in motion pictures.

In 1982, Vajna and Kassar made their film production debut with the highly successful First Blood, starring Sylvester Stallone. Rambo: First Blood Part II was released in 1985, generating more than $300 million worldwide, making it one of the most profitable films in the history of filmmaking.

Vajna and Kassar were executive producers on such films as Alan Parker's Angel Heart, Rambo III, and Johnny Handsome. Other projects included Music Box, Total Recall, Air America, Mountains of the Moon, Narrow Margin, and Jacob's Ladder.

History

Cinergi Pictures Entertainment was founded in 1989 after leaving Carolco.[2] Vajna's strategy was to develop long-term relationships with certain talent and to produce a steady supply of two to four event motion pictures per year. Upon forming Cinergi, Vajna established an alliance with The Walt Disney Company for distribution of Cinergi motion pictures in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Cinergi's first production, Medicine Man starring Oscar-winner Sean Connery, was followed by Super Mario Bros. in co-production with Allied Filmmakers and Lightmotive, Tombstone starring Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell and Renaissance Man starring Danny DeVito. In 1994, Cinergi released Color of Night starring Bruce Willis, Jane March, and Lesley Ann Warren. With the exception of Tombstone, all of those films flopped at the box office.

In 1992, Cinergi was hired to manage Sovereign Pictures' library, producer of Reversal of Fortune.[3] Cinergi went public in 1994 with Vajna converting $33.6 loans to equity. There was nother public offering of share in 1995.[2]

In 1995, Cinergi released Die Hard with a Vengeance starring Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, and Samuel L. Jackson. To date, the film has grossed over $300 million worldwide. That film was followed by Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone, The Scarlet Letter with Demi Moore, and Oliver Stone's epic Nixon, starring Anthony Hopkins. The last film released was An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn.

In the early 1990s, Cinergi started up a VFX company, Mass.Illusion, in Massachusetts.[4]

Closing

The box office and budgets for their films began to fall in late 1996, and Cinergi Pictures eventually closed on February 27, 1998. The company's film Broadway Brawler involving Bruce Willis had abruptly stopped production in March 1997.[5] After a year on consulting, Disney and Cinergi decided to wind down the company. Disney canceled $38 million in production advance owed and 5% of Cinergi shares in exchange for most of the film rights excluding the international rights of Die Hard with a Vengeance, which was acquired by 20th Century Fox,[6] which ironically was bought by Disney.[7]

The company was separately selling its development slate, a special effects facility[2] and the “Evita” soundtrack.[6] The development slate included Oliver Stone project underwritten in a first-look deal.[6] Shareholders were expected to get between $2 and $2.50 per share back.[2] The company's development projects sold through an auction to Vajna for $4.75 million. In September 1997, Vajna made a bid to purchase the company's stock at $2.30 a share which was considered underwhelming by Wall Street with the company expect to have $3.48 a share in cash or $45 million. The buyout would only cost him $15 million give his and his other own companies' shares in Cinergi. The “Evita” soundtrack and the Stone project were still not sold.[2]

Vajna had tasked Mass.Illusion former executive producer Michael Van Himbergen and Roger Davis to sell the VFX company, which had a about $1 million in debt, expert staff, likely contract for a film, The Matrix and What Dreams May Come special effects contract worth $7.5 million. Van Himbergen found Manex Group of Ohio to assume the company's debt.[4]

Three years earlier, Kassar's Carolco Pictures had also collapsed; Vajna and Kassar eventually became partners again in 2002 to form C2 Pictures.

In 2003, Vajna bought a videogame company, Games Unlimited, and renamed it Cinergi Interactive.[8] The company went on to acquire 4 development studios: Black Hole Entertainment, Clever's Games, Artex Entertainment and Digic Pictures before closing in 2007.

Filmography

In the United States, Buena Vista Pictures through their Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures imprints distributed Cinergi's movies. Cinergi division Cinergi Productions N.V. Inc. handled distribution of the company's films worldwide, which they farmed out to many independent film distributors around the world, however this excludes the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Australia rights to Die Hard with a Vengeance, a co-production with 20th Century Fox (and which Disney distributed in most international territories until acquiring worldwide rights in 2019 after the merger with Fox).

Release Date Title Notes Budget Gross (worldwide)
February 7, 1992 Medicine Man released by Hollywood Pictures $40 million $45,500,797[9]
May 28, 1993 Super Mario Bros. released by Hollywood Pictures $48 million $20,915,465[10]
December 25, 1993 Tombstone released by Hollywood Pictures $25 million $56,505,065[11]
June 6, 1994 Renaissance Man released by Touchstone Pictures $40 million $24,332,324[12]
August 19, 1994 Color of Night released by Hollywood Pictures $40 million $19,726,050[13]
May 19, 1995 Die Hard with a Vengeance released by 20th Century Fox (North America) / Buena Vista International or Summit Entertainment (non-North America) $90 million $366,101,666[14]
June 30, 1995 Judge Dredd released by Hollywood Pictures $90 million $113,493,481[15]
October 13, 1995 The Scarlet Letter released by Hollywood Pictures $46 million $10,382,407[16]
December 22, 1995 Nixon released by Hollywood Pictures $44 million $13,681,765[17]
March 1, 1996 Up Close & Personal released by Touchstone Pictures $60 million $100,688,705[18]
December 25, 1996 Evita released by Hollywood Pictures $55 million $141,047,179[19]
January 31, 1997 Shadow Conspiracy released by Hollywood Pictures $45 million $2,312,463[20]
never released Broadway Brawler never released $28 million $0 [21]
January 30, 1998 Deep Rising released by Hollywood Pictures $45 million $11,203,026[22]
February 20, 1998 An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn released by Hollywood Pictures $10 million $52,850[23]

References

  1. ^ "Cinergi to Pay Disney Debt by Turning over Its Library". Los Angeles Times. 4 April 1997.
  2. ^ a b c d e Peers, Martin (1997-04-04). "Cinergi Folding Firmed". Variety. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  3. ^ Williams, Judy Brennan,Michael; Brennan, Judy; Williams, Michael (1992-10-09). "Sovereign signs on Cinergi as librarian". Variety. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  4. ^ a b Said, Carolyn (March 24, 2000). "No Illusion -- Manex Boss Faces Real Lawsuit". SFGate. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  5. ^ Bates, James (April 4, 1997). "Cinergi to Pay Disney Debt By Turning Over Its Library". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Cinergi buyout blues". Variety. September 5, 1997. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  7. ^ Szalai, Georg; Bond, Paul (March 20, 2019). "Disney Closes $71.3 Billion Fox Deal, Creating Global Content Powerhouse". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  8. ^ http://www.cinergi-interactive.com/CI%20new%20web/main%20corporate.htm
  9. ^ "Medicine Man (1992)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  10. ^ "Super Mario Bros. (1993)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  11. ^ "Tombstone (1993)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "Renaissance Man (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  13. ^ "Color of Night (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  14. ^ "Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  15. ^ "Judge Dredd (1995)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  16. ^ "The Scarlet Letter (1995)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  17. ^ "Nixon (1995)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  18. ^ "Up Close & Personal (1996)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  19. ^ "Evita (1996)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  20. ^ "Shadow Conspiracy (1997)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  21. ^ Brennan, Judy (1997-03-13). "The Fight Over 'Broadway Brawler'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-09-27.
  22. ^ "Deep Rising (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  23. ^ "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 27, 2015.