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United International Pictures (1970)

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  Summary  

United International Pictures is a joint venture of Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios (owned by NBCUniversal , which is co-owned by Comcast & General Electric), to distribute some of the two studios' films theatrically outside the United States , Canada, and the Anglophone Caribbean.

UIP also had international theatrical distribution rights to features by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (which included Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and United Artists; both are now part-owned by Sony Corporation of America) when MGM was part of the venture. In 2000, as MGM left UIP, those rights were passed on to 20th Century Fox .

  Biography  

 Cinema International Corporation

Paramount's early history with MCA dates back to the 1950s, when part of its talent pool worked for Paramount Pictures, notably Alfred Hitchcock. In 1958, MCA purchased the pre-December 1949 Paramount sound feature film library. In 1962, MCA purchased Universal Studios. In 1966, Gulf+Western purchased Paramount.

In a cost-cutting move, in 1970, and as a result of anti-trust laws in the United States, and due to declining movie-going audiences, both Paramount and Universal, agreed to merge their international operations into a new company: Cinema International Corporation, registered in England and Wales. It even operated in Canada and the Caribbean before those territories were considered part of the "domestic" North American market.

In 1973, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer closed down its distribution offices and became a partner in CIC, which took over international distribution for MGM's films; however, United Artists took over the US, Canadian and Caribbean distribution for MGM's films that time. CIC also entered the home video market by forming CIC Video, which distributed Paramount and Universal titles on video worldwide. MGM however, had its own video unit, which later became a joint venture with CBS as MGM/CBS Home Video .

 United International Pictures

In 1981, MGM merged with United Artists, which had its own international distribution unit. CIC refused to let MGM drop out of the venture at the time, which led to the reorganization of the company as United International Pictures. MGM eventually left the venture in 2001, when it moved its international distribution to 20th Century Fox. The last MGM film to be released through UIP was Hannibal.

In 1986, Ted Turner purchased MGM/UA, but later resold the company except for its film library, which included the pre-May 1986 MGM film library and the pre-1950 Warner Bros. film library . After that library was acquired by Turner, UIP signed a deal to continue distributing the pre-May 1986 MGM film library for theatrical release.

CIC's name lived on in its video division, which became directly managed as a joint venture of Paramount Home Video and MCA Videocassette, Inc. . CIC Video survived until the late 1990s/early 2000s, when Universal purchased PolyGram and reorganized its video division under the Universal name, while Paramount took over full ownership of CIC Video and merged it under its own video division.

UIP also had a subscription television arm, UIP Pay TV, which distributed Paramount, MGM/UA, and Universal releases to pay TV broadcasters outside the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Anglophone Caribbean. UIP Pay TV was broken up in 1997 after a 4-year investigation by the European Union, as it accused UIP as a cartel-like organisation. The pay TV rights for the films were eventually transferred to Paramount International Television (later renamed CBS Paramount International Television and currently known as CBS Studios International; today, the Paramount films are distributed by Trifecta Entertainment & Media), Universal International Television and MGM Worldwide Television.

The company is based in London, United Kingdom, with offices in 34 countries, and is represented in 23 other countries. Regional offices are in Singapore, Japan, the Netherlands, Brazil, and Sydney, Australia.

 2007 reorganization

Starting in 2007, UIP considerably reduced its international operations. At least 15 "key countries" are now directly managed separately by Universal and Paramount .

As Universal takes over the Korean division of UIP, CJ Entertainment became the new distributor for films by Paramount.

Though it was initially planned to be kept intact, UIP's Japanese operations ceased in late 2007; Paramount took its Japanese distribution operation in-house, and Universal Pictures Japan formed distribution alliances with Toho-Towa for theatrical distribution and Geneon Entertainment for home entertainment distribution).

In 2002, Finland's UIP branch ceased operations. Its releases in that territory were later handled by Buena Vista International, then in 2006, distribution passed on to national cinema operator Finnkino.

As of 2010, UIP continues to directly distribute films in 18 countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey. Several local distributors in other countries also continue to release both Paramount and Universal films - an example is Bontonfilm in the Czech Republic, which has released films from both studios for years.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "United International Pictures", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.