Nelson Entertainment
Company typeSubsidiary of Nelson Holdings International, Ltd.
home video
PredecessorGalactic Films
Spikings Corporation
Embassy Home Entertainment
Founded1985; 39 years ago (1985)
FoundersBarry Spikings
Richard Northcott
Defunct1991; 33 years ago (1991)
FateRenamed Sultan Entertainment and sold to New Line Cinema, library later purchased by Epic Productions
New Line Cinema
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer[a] (with some exceptions)
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California, United States
Area served
Key people
Barry Spikings
Richard Northcott
ProductsMotion pictures
ParentNelson Holdings International, Ltd. (1986–1991)
New Line Cinema (1991)
  • Nelson Films
  • New Galactic and Tate
  • Charter Entertainment

Nelson Entertainment (also known as Nelson Entertainment Group) was a Los Angeles-based film production and home video distribution company, a subsidiary of Nelson Holdings International Ltd., a Vancouver, Canada, holding company formed in 1985 by British film producer Barry Spikings and Richard Northcott, a British financier who amassed his fortune from a chain of hardware and furniture stores.[1]


The company acquired Galactic Films as well as Spikings Corporation in 1985, then later acquired distribution rights to a majority of Embassy titles after purchasing its home video division, which Nelson paid $85 million for, and then signed an agreement with Columbia Pictures which enabled Nelson to finance their films for Columbia.[2] The company would buy out Autovend Technology Corp, which specialized in vending machines holding up to 400 videotapes for sale or rental, in September 1986, with John Lack, a former executive of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, hired to run the Autovend technology.[3]

On November 26, 1986, Nelson decided to form a foreign sales arm, Nelson International, Inc. Ian Jessel, formerly an executive at CBS Theatrical Films, was named president of the unit.[4]

On March 18, 1987, Nelson Entertainment, through its Embassy Home Entertainment division inked a pact with Hemdale Film Corporation, to co-produce 10 pictures in a co-financing agreement between Hemdale and Nelson; Nelson would receive domestic home video rights, while Hemdale retained all other rights to the 10 pictures.[5]

Throughout the summer of 1987, Embassy/Nelson announced more international distribution deals, including West German video distributor Neue Constantin Film and Nippon Herald in Japan.[6][7] Elsewhere, Nelson decided to intervene in the Hemdale Film Corporation-Vestron Video lawsuit over video rights to a package of 12 Hemdale films; Nelson then subsequently filed for rights to the same 12 pictures under almost identical terms as the arrangement Vestron was trying to have enforced, and the deal added another film to the mix, High Tide.[8]

Sometime in August 1987, Embassy Home Entertainment was renamed Nelson Entertainment,[9] but retained the earlier brand as well as Charter Entertainment for sell-through products.[10] Nelson then financed a deal with Castle Rock Entertainment to co-produce their films, and in addition handle the international distribution rights.[11]

In September 1988, Orion Home Video became Nelson's sales agent; in addition, Orion Pictures would later theatrically distribute a few of Nelson's titles. By February 1989, Orion was the official home video distributor of Nelson product.[12]

In 1991, Nelson Entertainment sold its home video division to New Line Cinema and it was rebranded as New Line Home Video.[13] The company was later renamed Sultan Entertainment and was acquired by New Line, who then later took over the video rights to the library.[14] This merger also meant Nelson's video rights changed hands, as RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video began distributing former Embassy and Nelson videos via their distribution pact with New Line. By 1994, Nelson's catalog had been acquired by Epic Productions and folded into the Alpha Library Company. After Epic's closure, Crédit Lyonnais assumed responsibility of its library. The library was put up for auction by the Consortium de Realisation as the "Epic library". Credit Lyonnais later sold the Epic film library to PolyGram Filmed Entertainment in 1997,[15] then Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) acquired 2/3 of PolyGram's pre-April 1996 library in October 1998.[16] Therefore, MGM now owns most of the Nelson Entertainment library with the copyrights being held by Orion Pictures. Due to a previous agreement with Viacom Enterprises, Paramount Pictures (through Trifecta Entertainment & Media) holds the television rights to Nelson's post-January 1989 films not co-produced with Castle Rock. Castle Rock's pre-July 1994 titles are owned by Warner Bros., but are controlled by MGM via Orion, while the film Labyrinth is currently controlled by The Jim Henson Company, with distribution rights currently licensed to Shout! Studios.


Release Date Title Co-producer Distributor
October 16, 1987 The Whales of August Alive Films
November 13, 1987 Hope and Glory Goldcrest Films Columbia Pictures
April 15, 1988 The Moderns Alive Films
April 22, 1988 A Time of Destiny Columbia Pictures
White Mischief Goldcrest Films
Columbia Pictures
September 10, 1988 Far North Alive Films
January 27, 1989 Cohen and Tate New Galactic Tate Productions Hemdale Film Corporation
February 17, 1989 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Interscope Communications
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Orion Pictures
April 14, 1989 Winter People Castle Rock Entertainment Columbia Pictures
July 21, 1989 When Harry Met Sally... Castle Rock Entertainment Columbia Pictures
November 17, 1989 Prancer Cineplex Odeon Films Orion Pictures
March 16, 1990 Lord of the Flies Castle Rock Entertainment Columbia Pictures
April 6, 1990 The First Power Interscope Communications Orion Pictures
September 28, 1990 Texasville Cine-Source Columbia Pictures
October 26, 1990 Sibling Rivalry Castle Rock Entertainment Columbia Pictures
November 30, 1990 Misery Castle Rock Entertainment Columbia Pictures
December 19, 1990 Hamlet Icon Productions
Carolco Pictures
Sovereign Pictures
Warner Bros.
January 18, 1991 Eve of Destruction Interscope Communications Orion Pictures
June 7, 1991 City Slickers Castle Rock Entertainment Columbia Pictures
July 19, 1991 Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Interscope Communications Orion Pictures
October 11, 1991 The Taking of Beverly Hills Columbia Pictures
April 29, 1994 The Favor Orion Pictures
September 23, 1994 There Goes My Baby Orion Pictures


  1. ^ Copyright is owned by Orion Pictures.


  1. ^ Coke Will Sell Embassy Unit for $85 Million : Nelson Entertainment Gets Co-Production Deal
  2. ^ "Coke Sells EHE For $85-Mil To Nelson Ent.; Blay Suit Settled". Variety. 1986-08-06. p. 35.
  3. ^ "Nelson Company Buys Autovend Majority; Lack Heads New Firm". Variety. 1986-09-24. p. 38.
  4. ^ "New EHE Owner, Nelson Ltd., Forms Foreign Sales Arm". Variety. 1986-11-26. pp. 5, 31.
  5. ^ "Nelson Gets Domestic HV Rights To 10 Pictures From Hemdale". Variety. 1987-03-18. p. 72.
  6. ^ "Nelson Joins With Nippon Herald For Homevid In Japan". Variety. 1987-05-20. pp. 82, 85.
  7. ^ "Nelson Ties Up At Neue Constantin Slip". Variety. 1987-05-20. p. 11.
  8. ^ "Nelson Steps Into Vestron-Hemdale Suit". Variety. 1987-06-03. p. 59.
  9. ^ Billboard (August 29, 1987). Embassy Logo Changed to Nelson (PDF). New York. p. 57.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  10. ^ McCullaugh, Jim (January 16, 1988). "Nelson Steps Up Sell-Through Push" (PDF). Billboard.
  11. ^ "Castle Rock Entertainment Ready For Launch With $270-Mil Purse". Variety. 1987-11-04. p. 25.
  12. ^ World Radio History
  13. ^ "Nightmares, Turtles and Profits". September 29, 1991. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  14. ^ "Company conformed name: Turner Broadcasting SYstem Inc". Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  15. ^ "New Epic librarian". 3 December 1997.
  16. ^ "Archives". Los Angeles Times. 23 October 1998.