Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
PredecessorCIC Video (1980–1999)
FoundedLos Angeles, California, United States
(1980; 42 years ago (1980))
HeadquartersUniversal City, California, United States
Area served
ProductsHome video
ParentUniversal Pictures
DivisionsUniversal 1440 Entertainment
SubsidiariesStudio Distribution Services, LLC. (US/Canadian Joint-venture with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment[1] (formerly Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Video, MCA/Universal Home Video, MCA Home Video, MCA Videodisc Inc. and MCA Videocassette Inc.) is the home video distribution division of American film studio Universal Pictures, owned by the NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment division of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast.


The company was founded in 1980 as MCA Videocassette, Inc. with Gene Giaquinto as president of the division and released 24 films on Betamax and VHS in May 1980, including Jaws, Animal House and The Deer Hunter as well as classic films such as Dracula, Animal Crackers and Scarface.[2] Jaws 2 and 1941 were also released that year. Prior to 1980, Castle Films (known as Universal 8 after 1977) had served as Universal's home film distribution unit. In late 1983, both the Laserdisc sister label MCA Videodisc and the VHS/Beta label MCA Videocassette were consolidated into a single entity, MCA Home Video, alternating with the MCA Videocassette name until December 1983. In 1990, with the 75th anniversary of Universal Studios, it became MCA/Universal Home Video, alternating with the MCA Home Video name from 1990 until 1997. The company later went by various company names, including Universal Studios Home Video (1997–2005) and Universal Studios Home Entertainment (2005–2016).[1]

In 1980, they released two '50s 3-D motion pictures, Creature from the Black Lagoon and It Came from Outer Space, in anaglyphic format on Beta and VHS.

In 1986, MCA Home Video had inked a distribution deal with video distributor Kartes Video Communications to re-release older and classic titles on videocassette, with six titles from the Universal catalog.[3] This was followed by a similar agreement in 1987, when MCA Home Video had inked a distribution deal with GoodTimes Home Video to re-release several MCA catalog titles for a low price.[4]

In 1986, the company had inked an agreement with Motown Productions, in order to launch a series of four "Motown Video Originals" in an effort to enter the direct-to-video market as "mini-movies" which was budgeted in the mid-six figures, and wanted to be viewed as breakthrough programs by MCA in the anticipated "longform music video" category.[5] Also that year, the company formed a partnership with children's book publisher Price Stern Sloan, who already succeeded with the Wee Sing titles, inked a deal with the company to handle videocassette releases of children's programs, like Mr. Men and The World's Worst Jokes, which are the first two projects offered by $100,000, and MCA handled worldwide distribution of PSS projects, with the exceptions of Mr. Men and Wee Sing, which PSS handled worldwide distribution.[6]

In 1987, MCA Distribution Corp., who normally distributed titles from MCA Home Video and independent home video distributor International Video Entertainment signed an exclusive three-year agreement, that provided that all product produced by IVE, as well as subsidiary label Family Home Entertainment, would be delivered to MCA, which that would only handle distribution for the company, as well as IVE, which would continue to control sales and marketing policies and activities, to be in effect by March 1, and that the IVE subsidiary Creative Video Services would handle a multi-year agreement with the company, which Creative Video Services would supply over 1 million videocassettes that was produced by MCA a year, and initial releases covered by the agreement are a series of titles produced by Carolco Pictures and Scotti Bros. Pictures, and that MCA would offer to distribute new videocassettes from Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.[7] That year, MCA has restructured its MCA Home Entertainment unit, naming business affairs vice president Sondra Berchin to take over the new position as executive president of the MCA Home Entertainment division, and responsible for handling out new titles and responsibilities to Ned Nalle, Louis Feola and Blair Westlake, all of them were previously alumus of various MCA/Universal units, namely Universal Pay Television.[8]

After the founding of NBC Universal in 2004, Universal started releasing DVDs of shows from the newly established NBC Universal Television Distribution.

Universal 1440 Entertainment was formed in 2005 as the production arm of Universal Studios Home Entertainment.[9]

This company was the worldwide video distributor for DreamWorks titles until DreamWorks was sold to Paramount Pictures' parent company, Viacom, in 2006, at which point Paramount took over distribution. After Viacom spun off DreamWorks in 2008, Universal Studios Home Entertainment was planned to resume distributing DreamWorks' movies, but this deal fell through. Until Lionsgate formed their home video division, their releases were distributed by Universal with the exception of Dogma, which was distributed by Columbia TriStar Home Video. In 2007, it was signed on as home video distributor of releases by Summit Entertainment.[10]

In addition to DVDs, Universal was a major supporter of the HD DVD format until Toshiba discontinued the format. Since July 22, 2008, UPHE released Blu-rays and it was the last major Hollywood movie studio to do so. The first three Blu-ray releases to come out in the U.S. were The Mummy, its sequel The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King. Since August 9, 2016, UPHE started releasing Ultra HD Blu-rays.

UPHE is the U.S. home video distributor for all of the Universal Pictures film library, the Focus Features film library, and shows from NBCUniversal Television Distribution (NBC, E!, Syfy, USA Network, Universal Kids, and Oxygen). The division also currently has distribution deals with Bleecker Street, The Film Arcade, Aviron Pictures, STX Entertainment, 101 Studios, Open Road Films, MGM Home Entertainment (select new releases only, most of them are handled by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, although both companies own Studio Distribution Services, LLC. via a joint venture), Pure Flix Entertainment, Picturehouse, Blumhouse Tilt, DreamWorks Classics (via DreamWorks Animation), Big Idea Entertainment, Neon (until 2021 when distribution shifted to Decal), Entertainment One (in Canada, UK, Australia, Spain, Germany and USA),[11] and Amazon Studios (starting with Brad's Status). Distribution is currently handled by Studio Distribution Services, LLC., a joint venture between UPHE and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

In 2015, two years prior to Sony Pictures Television acquiring a 95% stake in Funimation (now known as Crunchyroll, LLC), Funimation formed a multi-year home video distribution deal with UPHE. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment soon took over after the UPHE deal expired.[12][13]

Starting on June 5, 2018, Universal re-released all of DreamWorks Animation's film library after their deal with 20th Century Fox ended.

Studio Distribution Services, LLC

On January 14, 2020, Universal and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced that they would partner on a 10-year multinational joint-venture, merging their physical operations in North America. Universal will distribute Warner Bros.' titles in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan; while Warners will distribute Universal's titles in the U.K., Italy and Benelux.[14] On April 7, 2020, the European Commission approved the merger.[15] The company was later named Studio Distribution Services, LLC.[16] Since June 1, 2021,[17][18][19] SDS' logo took the UPHE logo's place on the back covers of the home releases; while there have been several exceptions that had the UPHE logo in place, mainly 4K[20][21] (including steelbooks)[22][23][24][25][26][27][28] and Blu-ray releases.[29][30][31][32][33]


In February 1999, Universal signed a multi-year deal with Columbia TriStar Home Video to allow the latter to distribute Universal DVDs outside North America.[34]

In the Netherlands, UPHE used to distribute most DVDs of films released theatrically by Independent Films, although this is now limited to catalog releases, as more recent films are now released through Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and later on, Belga Films.

UPHE also distributes StudioCanal titles on home media in France, most of the Republic Pictures library in the UK and most of the Carolco Pictures library in Australia, Latin America, and several European countries (along with other StudioCanal properties). In the 1980s until the late 1990s, they also distributed tapes released by Cineplex Odeon in Canada.

UPHE previously distributed its films on video internationally through CIC Video (a division of Cinema International Corporation, later United International Pictures) alongside Paramount Pictures. In Japan, releases from both Universal and Paramount appeared on CIC-Victor Video Ltd. (a joint venture between CIC Video and JVC) for VHS and on Pioneer LDC, Inc. for Laserdisc. Following Universal's acquisition of PolyGram in 1999, PolyGram Video (which had international operations) was dissolved into Universal.

UPHE's international operations are a joint venture with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, a carryover from the PolyGram days,[35] but more often than not, both UPHE and SPHE operate a joint venture in Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia called Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The venture distributes UPHE and SPHE titles on home media in those countries and also licenses anime series and films from the anime library of NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan, the Japanese division of UPHE's sister company, Universal Pictures International Entertainment, formerly known as Pioneer LDC from 1981 to 2003, Geneon Entertainment from 2003 to 2009 and Geneon Universal Entertainment from 2009 to very late 2013, the year they switched to their current name. The name of the joint venture is Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia. Before that, though, NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan had a marketing and distribution division in North America called Geneon USA, which, like UPHE, also distributed home video. At the time, NBCUEJ was known as Geneon Entertainment. Geneon USA shut down in late 2007, and Universal has licensed all of NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan's catalog to other companies rather than directly distributing them themselves.

From 2017 to 2018, Funimation began directly distributing a select number of its titles in Australia and New Zealand through Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia. In September 2018, Funimation transferred distribution to Madman Entertainment, with Madman handling distribution and classification within the region.[36][37]

In October 2014, Universal established global headquarters for its home video division in Los Angeles.[1]

At the start of 2015, Paramount Home Media Distribution signed a distribution agreement with Universal, whereby the latter will distribute the former's titles overseas, particularly the territories where Paramount holds an office. The deal began on July 1, 2015, in the United Kingdom. Universal will continue distributing Paramount's DVDs and Blu-rays out of the United States and Canada.[38] With the distributor change for Universal's titles in the UK, Paramount Home Media Distribution signed a new UK home entertainment distribution deal with StudioCanal and Lionsgate UK's Elevation Sales in July 2020 that began in January 2021.[39]

Along with the announcement of the Universal/Warner Bros. NA physical home media joint-venture, Universal announced that they would begin handling home video distribution of Warner Bros. titles in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan in the third quarter of 2020, while Warner Bros. announced that they would begin handling home video distribution of Universal titles in the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in the first quarter of 2021.[14] In 2020, SF Studios had inked a distribution deal with Universal to handle titles across the Nordic and Baltic regions.[40]

Universal 1440 Entertainment

Universal 1440 Entertainment
Founded2005; 17 years ago (2005) in Los Angeles, California
Area served
United States
ParentUniversal Pictures Home Entertainment

Universal 1440 Entertainment is the direct-to-video entertainment label of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.


Release date Title Co-production with
January 10, 2012 The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption
October 9, 2012 Werewolf: The Beast Among Us
January 22, 2013 Death Race 3: Inferno
September 24, 2013 Curse of Chucky
October 22, 2013 Dead in Tombstone
April 1, 2014 The Little Rascals Save the Day
August 19, 2014 Jarhead 2: Field of Fire
October 28, 2014 Beethoven's Treasure Tail
January 13, 2015 The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power
April 14, 2015 The Man with the Iron Fists 2
June 23, 2015 Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle
September 29, 2015 Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls
October 6, 2015 Tremors 5: Bloodlines
February 2, 2016 The Land Before Time XIV: Journey of the Brave
May 17, 2016 Kindergarten Cop 2
June 7, 2016 Jarhead 3: The Siege
September 6, 2016 Honey 3: Dare to Dance
Hard Target 2
Mostly Ghostly: One Night in Doom House
January 17, 2017 Death Race 2050
April 18, 2017 Bigger Fatter Liar
June 13, 2017 Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire
August 1, 2017 Cop and a Half: New Recruit
August 29, 2017 Bring It On: Worldwide Cheersmack
September 12, 2017 Dead Again in Tombstone
October 3, 2017 Cult of Chucky
November 14, 2017 All I Want for Christmas Is You
February 27, 2018 Woody Woodpecker
March 6, 2018 Aliens Ate My Homework
April 3, 2018 Honey: Rise Up and Dance
May 1, 2018 Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell
October 2, 2018 Death Race: Beyond Anarchy
Tales from the Hood 2
October 23, 2018 Scorpion King: Book of Souls
December 11, 2018 Unbroken: Path to Redemption
January 8, 2019 The Car: Road to Revenge
January 29, 2019 Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls Revolution Studios
February 5, 2019 Grand-Daddy Day Care Revolution Studios
April 20, 2019 How High 2 Smith-Garr Productions
Capital Arts Entertainment
May 14, 2019 Backdraft 2
September 10, 2019 Curious George: Royal Monkey
September 24, 2019 Inside Man: Most Wanted
October 1, 2019 Doom: Annihilation
Jarhead: Law of Return
November 5, 2019 Undercover Brother 2
January 7, 2020 Bulletproof 2
February 4, 2020 Dragonheart: Vengeance
August 4, 2020 Aliens Stole My Body
September 8, 2020 Curious George: Go West, Go Wild
September 13, 2020 Wish Upon a Unicorn
September 29, 2020 Welcome to Sudden Death
October 6, 2020 American Pie Presents: Girls' Rules
Tales from the Hood 3
October 20, 2020 Tremors: Shrieker Island
December 8, 2020 Bobbleheads: The Movie Threshold Entertainment
April 12, 2021 Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island The Jim Henson Company
September 30, 2021 Curious George: Cape Ahoy
September 2022 The Munsters Spookshow International Films
October 25, 2022 Blade of the 47 Ronin Scrappy Heart Productions
November 15, 2022 R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned Dark Horse Entertainment

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c Lieberman, David (3 October 2014). "Universal Shakes Up Home Entertainment Unit Centralizing Global Leadership In L.A." Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  2. ^ Bierbaum, Tom (February 6, 1990). "Mixed Reviews". Daily Variety. p. 78.
  3. ^ Seideman, Tony (1986-03-15). "Kartes Granted Exclusivity On Paramount, MCA Oldies" (PDF). Billboard. p. 67. Retrieved 2021-12-28.
  4. ^ Stewart, Al (1987-06-20). "Lorimar Drops KLV-TV Promotion" (PDF). Billboard. p. 71. Retrieved 2021-12-27.
  5. ^ "MCA Turns Crank On Made-For Fare With Motown Minis". Variety. 1986-07-02. p. 34.
  6. ^ Melanson, James (1986-11-19). "Children's Book Publisher Signs MCA Homevid Distribution Deal". Variety. p. 74.
  7. ^ "MCA To Distribute IVE's Videocassettes". Variety. 1987-02-18. p. 102.
  8. ^ "MCA Revamps Home Unit; 4 Execs Boosted". Variety. 1987-09-02. p. 47.
  9. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (September 10, 2014). "Threshold Signs First Look Deal with Universal's Home Ent Production Unit". Animation World Network. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  10. ^ McNary, Dave (2007-05-18). "Summit, Universal make distrib pact". Variety. Retrieved 2021-11-09.
  11. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (March 26, 2019). "Entertainment One And Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Sign Multi-Territory Distribution Agreement".
  12. ^ "Funimation and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Enter Into Multi-Year Distribution Agreement". PR Newswire. June 22, 2015. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  13. ^ "Sony and Funimation: What does that mean for you?". August 1, 2017.
  14. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (15 January 2020). "Universal & Warner Bros. Form Home Entertainment Joint Venture". Deadline. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  15. ^ "European Commission Approves Warner, Universal Home Entertainment Joint Venture – Media Play News".
  16. ^ Hunt, Bill (April 23, 2021). "BILL'S ON THE LATEST HOME THEATER UNITED PODCAST, PLUS AN APPLE DIGITAL PURCHASE LAWSUIT & WARNER AND UNIVERSAL COMBINE THEIR PHYSICAL MEDIA OPERATIONS". thedigitalbits.com. Retrieved May 6, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Curious George 5-Movie Collection DVD (Curious George / Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey / Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle / Curious George: Royal Monkey / Curious George: Go West, Go Wild), retrieved 2021-08-10
  18. ^ Daniel Radcliffe Collection DVD (Jungle / Escape from Pretoria / Beast of Burden), retrieved 2021-08-10
  19. ^ Boogie Blu-ray (Blu-ray + Digital HD), retrieved 2021-08-10
  20. ^ Howard the Duck 4K Blu-ray (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital), retrieved 2021-11-11
  21. ^ Scott Pilgrim vs. the World 4K Blu-ray (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD), retrieved 2021-11-11
  22. ^ The Thing 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved 2021-11-11
  23. ^ Rear Window 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved 2021-11-11
  24. ^ Vertigo 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved 2021-11-11
  25. ^ Inglourious Basterds 4K Blu-ray (SteelBook), retrieved 2021-11-11
  26. ^ Old 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved 2021-11-11
  27. ^ Carlito's Way 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved 2021-11-11
  28. ^ F9: The Fast Saga 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved 2021-11-11
  29. ^ The Woody Woodpecker Screwball Collection Blu-ray, retrieved 2021-11-11
  30. ^ Beethoven's Christmas Adventure Blu-ray, retrieved 2021-11-11
  31. ^ How to Train Your Dragon: Holiday Double Feature Blu-ray (Gift of the Night Fury / Homecoming), retrieved 2021-11-11
  32. ^ Spirit Riding Free: Spirit of Christmas Blu-ray, retrieved 2021-11-11
  33. ^ Trolls: Holiday Double Feature Blu-ray (Trolls Holiday / Trolls: Holiday in Harmony), retrieved 2021-11-11
  34. ^ "Universal and Columbia TriStar Join for International DVD Distribution". 28 February 1999.
  35. ^ http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=59043 Universal Studios Home Video And Columbia Tristar Home Video Join For International DVD Distribution
  36. ^ Slykura (December 14, 2018). "Some insights". Madboards. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  37. ^ Slykura (January 7, 2019). "In short, we have a new distribution agreement with Funimation which means that we are their local distributors NOT licensee, but distributor for their products". Madboards. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  38. ^ Lieberman, David (12 February 2015). "Universal To Distribute Paramount's DVD & Blu-ray Discs Abroad". Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  39. ^ Rosser, Michael (2020-07-14). "Paramount signs home entertainment deal with UK's Elevation". Screen.
  40. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (2020-11-16). "SF Studios Signs Distribution Deal With Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2021-11-09.