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De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
TypeFilm studio
IndustryFilm production and distribution
PredecessorEmbassy Films Associates
Founded1984; 38 years ago (1984)
Defunct1989; 33 years ago (1989)
FateStudio acquired by Carolco Pictures, film assets acquired by Paravision International
SuccessorsLibrary:
StudioCanal
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
HBO Films
HeadquartersWilmington, North Carolina
Key people
Dino De Laurentiis
ProductsMotion pictures

De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG) was an entertainment production company and distribution studio founded by Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis. The company is notable for producing Manhunter, Blue Velvet, the horror films Near Dark and Evil Dead II, King Kong Lives (the sequel to De Laurentiis' remake of King Kong), and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, as well as distributing The Transformers: The Movie.

The company's main studios were located in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is now EUE/Screen Gems Studios. The studio's first releases were in 1986. It went bankrupt two years later after Million Dollar Mystery, among other films, failed at the box office.[1] Carolco Pictures acquired DEG in 1989.[2]

History

In 1983, Dino De Laurentiis produced Firestarter in Wilmington. The governor of North Carolina, Jim Hunt, claimed that the filming increased economic activity in the state. Hunt used incentives and loans to allow De Laurentiis to buy a local warehouse to convert into a studio. In early 1984, De Laurentiis founded the North Carolina Film Corporation, with Martha Schumacher as president.[3]

In 1985, DEG acquired Embassy Pictures from The Coca-Cola Company,[4] allowing for North American distribution of De Laurentiis' new product. Dino De Laurentiis continued to pre-sell his films for overseas distribution, as he had done in the past. In May 1986, De Laurentiis took DEG public, raising $240 million in the process.[5] The following month, DEG's first slate of films were released. In 1986, De Laurentiis formed an Australian subsidiary, De Laurentiis Entertainment Limited (DEL), which built a studio on the Gold Coast.[3] Although De Laurentiis asserted that the company would make films on par with the major studios, most of DEG's slate consisted of films budgeted at $10 million or less, below the industry standard of $14–16 million, with the notable exceptions of King Kong Lives and Tai-Pan, the only studio-level films DEG financed.[5] Also that year, DEG entered into a strategic partnership with producers Fred Silverman and Gordon Farr to launch the syndicated strip Honeymoon Hotel, with a promise to run it for 100 episodes, and a new starring vehicle for Isabel Sanford.[6] Later that year, DEG also financed another syndicated strip with Silverman and Farr to set up California Girls, with Viacom Enterprises serving as distributor of the series.[7]

By August 1987, DEG was $16.5 million in debt, citing the box-office failures and/or disappointments of its product. Dino De Laurentiis refused offers to sell the company because he wanted to retain controlling interest. Around the same time, De Laurentiis' daughter Raffaella exited her role as DEG's president of production.[5]

De Laurentiis' North Carolina studio would be sold by Carolco Pictures and the Gold Coast studio would be acquired by Village Roadshow.[3]

The De Laurentiis library is currently owned by StudioCanal via its acquisition of the Paravision International library; with some exceptions. Films that were distributed by United Artists are now owned by Amazon, via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, while films by HBO Pictures are owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. North American home video rights to much of their films are split between MGM Home Entertainment (for the Embassy library via PolyGram) and Lionsgate Films (for the rest). My Little Pony: The Movie and The Transformers: The Movie are now owned by Hasbro after obtaining the rights from Sunbow Entertainment (along with all other animated series based on Hasbro properties).

Films released

Release Date Title Notes
June 6, 1986 Raw Deal
June 6, 1986 My Little Pony: The Movie
July 25, 1986 Maximum Overdrive
August 8, 1986 The Transformers: The Movie
August 15, 1986 Manhunter
September 19, 1986 Blue Velvet
Radioactive Dreams
October 24, 1986 Trick or Treat
November 7, 1986 Tai-Pan
December 12, 1986 Crimes of the Heart
December 19, 1986 King Kong Lives
January 30, 1987 The Bedroom Window
February 6, 1987 From the Hip
March 13, 1987 Evil Dead II released through shell company Rosebud Releasing Corporation to bypass MPAA regulations
June 12, 1987 Million Dollar Mystery
October 2, 1987 Near Dark
October 16, 1987 Weeds
November 6, 1987 Hiding Out
November 20, 1987 Date with an Angel
December 4, 1987 The Trouble with Spies distributed only; produced by HBO Pictures. Currently[when?] distributed by HBO in USA and worldwide
December 11, 1987 Cobra Verde direct-to-video in U.S.
May 13, 1988 Illegally Yours released by United Artists in U.S.
August 17, 1988 Traxx direct-to-video in U.S.
October 14, 1988 Pumpkinhead released by United Artists in U.S., although DEG did distribute the film outside of North America.
October 21, 1988 Tapeheads released by Avenue Pictures in U.S.
October 1988 Dracula's Widow direct-to-video in U.S.
February 17, 1989 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure co-produced with Nelson Entertainment, released by Orion Pictures in U.S.
May 12, 1989 Earth Girls Are Easy released by Vestron Pictures in U.S
April 1992 Collision Course direct-to-video in U.S.
October 30, 1992 Rampage released by Miramax Films in U.S.

Canadian distribution of DEG releases were done by Paramount Pictures.

DEG had an early version of Total Recall in pre-production with Patrick Swayze as Quaid and Bruce Beresford to direct (David Cronenberg had also been approached), where it was to have been shot in Australia. After DEG's bankruptcy, the film went in turnaround to Carolco Pictures.[8]

Along with the Embassy Pictures library, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group's library was sold to Paravision, a subsidiary of L'Oréal, in 1989. The library was later sold to Canal+ and is currently held by StudioCanal.

References

  1. ^ Adelson, Andrea (1988-08-17). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; De Laurentiis Entertainment Seeks Chapter 11 Protection". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  2. ^ "Carolco Signs Deal for DEG: Carolco Pictures signed a..." Los Angeles Times. 1989-04-21. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  3. ^ a b c Goldsmith, Ben; Ward, Susan; O'Regan, Tom (2010-08-30). Local Hollywood: Global Film Production and the Gold Coast. Univ. of Queensland Press. ISBN 9780702246395.
  4. ^ Friendly, David T. (16 November 1985). "De Laurentiis Rejoins The Ranks--at Embassy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Jr, WILLIAM K. KNOEDELSEDER (1987-08-30). "De Laurentiis : PRODUCER'S PICTURE DARKENS". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Archived from the original on 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  6. ^ "DEG producing 'instant' strip" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1986-08-25. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  7. ^ "Silverman-Farr to produce second" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1986-11-03. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  8. ^ Hammer, Joshua (8 March 1992). "Total Free Fall". Newsweek. Retrieved 24 April 2015.