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Vestron Pictures Inc.
Company typeDivision
IndustryFilm industry
Founded1986; 38 years ago (1986)
FounderSteve Tisch
Lawrence Turman
Gene Kirkwood
Defunct1992; 32 years ago (1992)
FateParent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, assets acquired by LIVE Entertainment
Key people
Austin O. Furst Jr.
ProductsMotion pictures
OwnerVestron, Inc.
ParentVestron, Inc. (1986–1991)
LIVE Entertainment (1991–1992)

Vestron Pictures Inc. was an American film studio and distributor, a former division of Austin O. Furst, Jr.'s Vestron Inc., that is best known for their 1987 release of Dirty Dancing.[1]

Vestron also has had a genre film division, Lightning Pictures, a spin-off of Vestron's Lightning Video, headed by Lawrence Kasanoff, who would later go on to found Lightstorm Entertainment and Threshold Entertainment.[2]


The company was initially kicked off to "pursue projects" with top producers, namely Steve Tisch, Larry Turman and Gene Kirkwood, and Vestron would have to finance projects, and do a decided number of series and relationships.[3] The first Vestron Pictures film released was Malcolm, the Australian feature film that launched a New York run on July 18, 1986.[4]

On October 1, 1986, Vestron Pictures and Gotham-based financial outfit Integrated Resources, Inc. established a $100 million joint venture to handle underwriting of the production and distribution of 15 Vestron Pictures feature films produced in-house, which planned to be released from 1987 to 1989.[5]

In December 1986, Vestron Pictures planned to produce ten films and to acquire 10-15 films in order to become a virtual low-budget film studio, and gave production budgets of under $2 million to the Lightning Pictures genre label, as titles from the mainstream label ran $2–6 million; the company was relegated to low-budget production without resorting to exploitation filmmaking, and shot for a broad base that expanded into all segments of the viewing audience.[6]

In 1987, the Vestron Pictures unit acquired worldwide rights to Bob Balaban's Parents, from production company Parents Productions, and Roger Holzberg's Midnight Crossing, from another independent production company, Team Effort Productions, with another Vestron subsidiary, Interaccess Film Distribution, to handle foreign sales and distribution rights for the two pictures.[7]

In September 1987, upon the success of the company's biggest hit, Dirty Dancing, Vestron acquired 24 productions and pickups that were slated for release throughout 1988, and toward that end, the company unveiled four productions before the end of the year, as well as four acquisitions, and called for quality pictures with budgets of $6 million.[8]

In October 1987, Vestron Pictures bought the rights to two films from production company Double Helix Films, Mace and Funland. Vestron would handle theatrical, television, pay cable and syndicated TV rights to the former, and home video, cable and TV rights to the latter film, and Double Helix Films would retain the rights to the two films for foreign distribution.[9]

In November 1987, Vestron Pictures was seeking to expand theatrical operations in Australia and the Benelux countries. The company already had distribution offices in the U.K. and Japan, and would cooperate with Vestron's international sales subsidiary, Interaccess Film Distribution. It decided not to set up shop in France due to declining theatrical attendance and a glut of cinemas, some of which formed a crowded field in the nation.[10]

Vestron Pictures' parent company, Vestron, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and went out of business in 1992, with their assets being acquired by LIVE Entertainment. Today, Lionsgate owns the rights to the Vestron library after acquiring Artisan Entertainment in 2003.


Vestron Pictures

Release Date Title Notes
July 20, 1986 Malcolm US distribution only
November 14, 1986 Slaughter High
November 1986 Billy Galvin
February 20, 1987 Alpine Fire
April 10, 1987 Gothic US distribution only
May 1987 Nightforce Direct-to-video
May 15, 1987 Personal Services
August 21, 1987 Dirty Dancing
September 25, 1987 China Girl
October 2, 1987 Anna
November 6, 1987 Steel Dawn
December 1987 The Family US distribution only
December 18, 1987 The Dead
1988 Dangerous Curves
January 22, 1988 Promised Land
March 4, 1988 And God Created Woman
April 8, 1988 The Pointsman
April 22, 1988 The Unholy
May 6, 1988 Salome's Last Dance
May 13, 1988 Midnight Crossing
May 20, 1988 Call Me
June 3, 1988 The Beat
June 17, 1988 Waxwork
June 1988 Paramedics
August 12, 1988 Young Guns International and video distribution only, 20th Century Fox owned North American theatrical rights
October 14, 1988 The Lair of the White Worm
November 25, 1988 Amsterdamned US distribution only
December 23, 1988 Burning Secret
January 27, 1989 Parents
February 17, 1989 Paperhouse US distribution only
March 3, 1989 Dream a Little Dream
March 1989 Big Man on Campus
April 28, 1989 The Fruit Machine US distribution only
May 5, 1989 The Rainbow
May 12, 1989 Earth Girls Are Easy US distribution only
June 29, 1989 Twister
August 25, 1989 Little Monsters Vestron produced the film but sold the film to United Artists due to financial problems.
December 1, 1989 Hider in the House
December 8, 1989 Cat Chaser
February 4, 1990 Spies on Ice
March 28, 1990 Paint It Black Direct-to-video
April 3, 1990 Catchfire
July 15, 1990 Fear
November 9, 1990 Love Hurts
October 23, 1991 Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat Direct-to-video
January 29, 1992 Enid Is Sleeping
July 29, 1992 Spies Inc. released on VHS in 1992 by LIVE Home Video, under the name Code Name: Chaos

Lightning Pictures

Release Date Title Notes
July 10, 1987 Blood Diner
September 16, 1987 Street Trash
June 30, 1989 Far From Home
September 27, 1989 C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D.
March 16, 1990 Blue Steel eventually acquired and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer due to financial problems
May 11, 1990 Class of 1999 released by Taurus Entertainment Company
September 18, 1991 Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College released by Taurus Entertainment Company
January 17, 1992 A Gnome Named Gnorm


  1. ^ "Talks on Vestron Reported". The New York Times. February 17, 1990.
  2. ^ "CAN FILMMAKING SAVE VESTRON'S HOME VIDEO?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  3. ^ "Vestron Is Looking Into Feature Film Projects By Tisch, Turman, Kirkwood". Variety. 1986-01-15. p. 8.
  4. ^ "'Malcolm' Scheduled As Vestron's Initial Release". Variety. 1986-07-02. p. 19.
  5. ^ "Vestron Pics Into Joint Venture For Prod. Of 15 Films". Variety. 1986-10-01. p. 3.
  6. ^ "Vestron Gearing Up '87 Slate To Include Lowballers, Pickups". Variety. 1986-12-10. p. 22.
  7. ^ "Vestron Buys World Rights To 2 New Pix". Variety. 1987-09-09. pp. 4, 32.
  8. ^ Greenberg, James (1987-09-16). "'Dancing' No Dirty Word At Vestron; First Hit Fuels More". Variety. pp. 6, 121.
  9. ^ "Vestron Buys Rights To Two Double Helix Pics". Variety. 1987-10-14. p. 36.
  10. ^ "Vestron is eyeing more intl. bases". Variety. 1987-11-11. p. 26.