Universal Pictures Home Entertainment LLC
FormerlyMCA Videocassette, Inc. (1980–1983)
MCA Videodisc (1981–1983)
MCA Home Video (1983–1990)
MCA/Universal Home Video (1990–1997)
Universal Studios Home Video (1997–2005)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment (2005–2016)
Company typeDivision
PredecessorMCA DiscoVision (1978–1981)
CIC Video (1980–1999)
PolyGram Video
USA Home Entertainment
NBC Home Entertainment
Right Entertainment
Golden Book Video
Founded1980; 44 years ago (1980), in Los Angeles, California, U.S.
HeadquartersUniversal City, California, U.S.
Area served
Worldwide, especially the UK
ProductsHome video
ParentUniversal Pictures
DivisionsUniversal 1440 Entertainment
Universal Playback
SubsidiariesStudio Distribution Services, LLC (joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment)

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment LLC[1][2] (formerly Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Video, MCA/Universal Home Video, MCA Home Video, MCA Videodisc, and MCA Videocassette, Inc.) is the home video distribution division of Universal Pictures, an American film studio, owned by NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the home video distributor for all of the Universal Pictures film library, the Focus Features film library, most of the 1929–1949 Paramount film library held by EMKA, Ltd., and shows from the NBCUniversal Syndication Studios library (NBC, E!, Syfy, USA Network, Universal Kids, and Oxygen). The division also currently has distribution deals with The Film Arcade, Aviron Pictures, STX Entertainment (save for films from EuropaCorp Films USA, which Lionsgate holds the video rights to[3]), Mattel Creations (for the long-running Barbie direct-to-video film series),[4] 101 Studios, Open Road Films, Pinnacle Peak Pictures, Picturehouse, Blumhouse Tilt, Funimation/Crunchyroll, LLC (in the United States and Canada; until 2024, after which Sony Pictures Home Entertainment took over) and Entertainment One (in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, Germany and the United States; until 2023, after which Lionsgate Home Entertainment took over).[5] Distribution is currently handled by Studio Distribution Services, LLC., a joint venture between Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.


The company was founded in 1980 as MCA Videocassette, Inc. with Gene Giaquinto as president of the division. It 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.[6] Jaws 2 and 1941 were also released that year. Before 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 MCA Videocassette label were consolidated into a single entity, MCA Home Video, alternating with the MCA Videocassette, Inc. name until December 1983.

In the mid-1980s, MCA Home Video began to license catalog titles to smaller, independent video firms with a focus on sell-through product. The first was in 1986 with Kartes Video Communications.[7] The deal was followed with a similar agreement with GoodTimes Home Video in 1987.[8]

Also in 1986, the company made agreements with Motown Productions[9] and with children's book publisher Price Stern Sloan.[10] Both deals were intended to expand MCA's non-theatrical product.

1987 was a busy year for MCA Home Video; the company underwent an executive shuffle, signed an exclusive three-year deal with International Video Entertainment for video distribution, and began offering new content from Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.[11][12]

In 1990, with the 75th anniversary of Universal Studios, it became MCA/Universal Home Video and used that name alternating with the MCA Home Video name from 1990 until 1997. On December 9, 1996, the company was renamed as Universal Studios Home Video when MCA was reincorporated as Universal Studios, which would later be merged into Vivendi Universal Entertainment in 2000.[2]

Universal's first titles on the DVD format, in 1997, were licensed to Image Entertainment for distribution. These early, bare-bones editions fell out-of-print when Universal started making their own DVDs. [citation needed]

After the founding of NBCUniversal in 2004, Universal started releasing DVDs of shows from the newly established NBCUniversal Television Distribution. Before 2004, NBC shows were distributed on DVD by Lions Gate Home Entertainment and A&E Home Video under the label NBC Home Entertainment (formerly NBC Home Video under Trimark until it was bought by Lions Gate). NBC's home entertainment on-screen logo was simply the NBC Enterprises syndication logo.

In 2005 (by which point the Universal Studios Home Entertainment name was in use), the group was restructured; Universal 1440 Entertainment was formed as an internal production arm, while the London-based Universal Pictures Visual Programming (formerly PolyGram Visual Programming) unit was folded into Universal Pictures International; Universal Cartoon Studios was absorbed into the Family Productions unit.[13][14] The year after, UPHE acquired distribution rights to the Barbie film series after negotiations between Mattel and their previous domestic distributor, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, fell apart (Universal had already been distributing these films internationally).[15][16][17]

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 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 (ironically, Summit was later bought by Lionsgate).[18]

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 has released Ultra HD Blu-rays.

In 2015, Funimation (now known as Crunchyroll, LLC), formed a multi-year home video distribution deal with UPHE.[19] Two years later, Sony Pictures Television acquired a 95% stake in Funimation, which resulted in Sony Pictures Home Entertainment taking over distribution after the UPHE deal expired.[20]

Starting on June 5, 2018, Universal began to re-release all of DreamWorks Animation's film library after their deal with 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios) 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 Warner will distribute Universal's titles in the United Kingdom, Italy and Benelux.[21] On April 7, 2020, the European Commission approved the merger.[22] The company was later named Studio Distribution Services, LLC.[23] Since June 1, 2021,[24][25][26] 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 manufactured on demand titles, including 4K[27][28] (including steelbooks)[29][30][31][32][33][34][35] and Blu-ray releases.[36][37][38][39][40] SDS does not use an on-screen logo unless in the future otherwise; Universal releases by SDS use the 2012–present Universal Pictures logo.


On February 28, 1999, Universal signed a multi-year deal with Columbia TriStar Home Video to allow the latter to distribute Universal DVDs outside North America.[41]

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 Home Video.

In South Africa, UPHE distributes films on DVD and VHS through CIC Video in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1999, the company was moved to Ster-Kinekor Home Entertainment until 2007 after CIC Video was dissolved in the same year. In 2008, it was moved later to Nu Metro Home Entertainment on DVD’s until 2013, when Next Entertainment took over until 2019.

UPHE also formerly distributes StudioCanal titles on home media in France (until 2024 when distribution moved to ESC Distribution), 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) until StudioCanal's global distribution deal with Universal expired in January 2022.[42] 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, UPHE pulled out of CIC and began distributing its films through PolyGram Video (which had international operations) which was then renamed under the Universal name.

UPHE's international operations are a joint venture with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, a carryover from the PolyGram days,[43] 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 licensed 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. Starting on March 26, 2022, NBCUEJ (through UPHE) distributes and licenses anime series and films.

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.[44][45]

On October 3, 2014, Universal established global headquarters for its home video division in Los Angeles.[2]

At the start of 2015, Paramount Home Entertainment 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 continued to distribute Paramount's DVDs and Blu-rays out of the United States and Canada until 2020.[46] With the distributor change for Universal's titles in the UK, Paramount Home Entertainment signed a new UK home entertainment distribution deal with StudioCanal UK and Lionsgate UK's Elevation Sales on July 14, 2020 that began in January 2021.[47]

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.[21] In 2020, SF Studios had signed a distribution deal with Universal to handle titles across the Nordic region.[48]

In early 2024, Plaion Pictures (who currently distributes Paramount releases in Italy and Sony Pictures releases in Germany) had signed a distribution deal with Universal to handle titles in Italy, which caused Universal's deal with Warner Bros. to expire there.

Universal 1440 Entertainment

Universal 1440 Entertainment
FormerlyUniversal Studios Family Productions (2005–2012)
Company typeDivision
Founded2005; 19 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 created in 2005. The entity is a successor to MCA Family Entertainment.

The label does not have the on-screen logo; it uses the 2012–present Universal Pictures logo.

It was originally known as Universal Studios Family Productions, and Universal Cartoon Studios was a subsidiary of the company.[14]


Year 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 Universal Animation Studios
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 6, 2018 Woody Woodpecker Universal Animation Studios
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 Imagine Entertainment
September 10, 2019 Curious George: Royal Monkey
September 24, 2019 Inside Man: Most Wanted Imagine Entertainment
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 27, 2022 The Munsters Spookshow International Films
Bring It On: Cheer or Die
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
November 22, 2022 Prancer: A Christmas Tale
July 20, 2023 Ready Jet Go!: Space Camp Wind Dancer Films
Silver Creek Falls Entertainment
August 1, 2023 River Wild Hero Squared Productions
April 12, 2024 Woody Woodpecker Goes to Camp Universal Animation Studios
April 16, 2024 Half Baked: Totally High STX Entertainment

Universal Playback

Universal Playback is a division of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and specializing in DVD and Blu-ray releases of TV shows, either it be produced or distributed by Universal Pictures. It offers a variety of titles across different TV genres, including TV shows, documentaries, and special interest content.

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Universal Pictures Home Entertainment LLC". OpenCorporates. November 12, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c Lieberman, David (October 3, 2014). "Universal Shakes Up Home Entertainment Unit Centralizing Global Leadership In L.A." Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  3. ^ "Lionsgate Secures Home Entertainment Deal With EuropaCorp. | Home Media Magazine". www.homemediamagazine.com. February 8, 2017. Retrieved December 2, 2023.
  4. ^ "UPHE Snags Exclusive 'Barbie' SVOD Rights from Mattel | Animation Magazine". Animation Magazine. December 20, 2016. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  5. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (March 26, 2019). "Entertainment One And Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Sign Multi-Territory Distribution Agreement".
  6. ^ Bierbaum, Tom (February 6, 1990). "Mixed Reviews". Daily Variety. p. 78.
  7. ^ Seideman, Tony (March 15, 1986). "Kartes Granted Exclusivity On Paramount, MCA Oldies" (PDF). Billboard. p. 67. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  8. ^ Stewart, Al (June 20, 1987). "Lorimar Drops KLV-TV Promotion" (PDF). Billboard. p. 71. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  9. ^ "MCA Turns Crank On Made-For Fare With Motown Minis". Variety. July 2, 1986. p. 34.
  10. ^ Melanson, James (November 19, 1986). "Children's Book Publisher Signs MCA Homevid Distribution Deal". Variety. p. 74.
  11. ^ "MCA To Distribute IVE's Videocassettes". Variety. February 18, 1987. p. 102.
  12. ^ "MCA Revamps Home Unit; 4 Execs Boosted". Variety. September 2, 1987. p. 47.
  13. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (September 10, 2014). "Threshold Signs First Look Deal with Universal's Home Ent Production Unit". Animation World Network. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  14. ^ a b Gallo, Scott Hettrick,Eliza; Hettrick, Scott; Gallo, Eliza (March 7, 2005). "U homevid units in family way". Variety. Retrieved October 12, 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ Netherby, Jennifer (April 13, 2006). "U enters the Barbie biz". Variety. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  16. ^ Jacobs, Evan (April 11, 2006). "Barbie Finds New Home at Universal". MovieWeb. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  17. ^ B, Brian (March 24, 2006). "Lionsgate and Mattel Say No More Barbie DVDs". MovieWeb. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  18. ^ McNary, Dave (May 18, 2007). "Summit, Universal make distrib pact". Variety. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
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  26. ^ Boogie Blu-ray (Blu-ray + Digital HD), retrieved August 10, 2021
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  28. ^ Scott Pilgrim vs. the World 4K Blu-ray (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD), retrieved November 11, 2021
  29. ^ The Thing 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved November 11, 2021
  30. ^ Rear Window 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved November 11, 2021
  31. ^ Vertigo 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved November 11, 2021
  32. ^ Inglourious Basterds 4K Blu-ray (SteelBook), retrieved November 11, 2021
  33. ^ Old 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved November 11, 2021
  34. ^ Carlito's Way 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved November 11, 2021
  35. ^ F9: The Fast Saga 4K Blu-ray (Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook), retrieved November 11, 2021
  36. ^ The Woody Woodpecker Screwball Collection Blu-ray, retrieved November 11, 2021
  37. ^ Beethoven's Christmas Adventure Blu-ray, retrieved November 11, 2021
  38. ^ How to Train Your Dragon: Holiday Double Feature Blu-ray (Gift of the Night Fury / Homecoming), retrieved November 11, 2021
  39. ^ Spirit Riding Free: Spirit of Christmas Blu-ray, retrieved November 11, 2021
  40. ^ Trolls: Holiday Double Feature Blu-ray (Trolls Holiday / Trolls: Holiday in Harmony), retrieved November 11, 2021
  41. ^ "Universal and Columbia TriStar Join for International DVD Distribution". February 28, 1999.
  42. ^ "'Terminator 2,' 'Basic Instinct' to Return to Studiocanal Distribution Portfolio as NBCUniversal Deal Ends – Global Bulletin". October 13, 2021.
  43. ^ http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=59043 Universal Studios Home Video And Columbia Tristar Home Video Join For International DVD Distribution
  44. ^ Slykura (December 14, 2018). "Some insights". Madboards. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  45. ^ 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.
  46. ^ Lieberman, David (February 12, 2015). "Universal To Distribute Paramount's DVD & Blu-ray Discs Abroad". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  47. ^ Rosser, Michael (July 14, 2020). "Paramount signs home entertainment deal with UK's Elevation". Screen.
  48. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (November 16, 2020). "SF Studios Signs Distribution Deal With Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved November 9, 2021.