|Headquarters||London, England, UK|
|Website||Handmade Films Website|
HandMade Films was formed by former Beatle George Harrison and business partner Denis O'Brien in 1978 to finance the Monty Python film Life of Brian. Harrison had first been introduced to O'Brien by actor Peter Sellers in 1973. Soon after, the two went into business together.
When the original financiers of Brian, EMI Films, pulled out of the project less than a week before filming was to commence, the creators had to find other financing. Harrison, a friend and fan of the Pythons, mortgaged his home in order to finance the feature.Eric Idle of the Pythons later called it "the most anybody's ever paid for a cinema ticket in history".Life of Brian grossed $21 million at the box office in the US.
Harrison explained: "The name of the company came about as a bit of a joke. I'd been to Wookey Hole in Somerset ... [near] an old paper mill where they show you how to make old underpants into paper. So I bought a few rolls, and they had this watermark 'British Handmade Paper' ... So we said ... we'll call it Handmade Films." The first film distributed by HandMade Films was The Long Good Friday (1980), and the first they produced was Time Bandits (1981), a co-scripted project by Monty Pythons Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. The film featured a new song by Harrison, "Dream Away", in the closing credits.Time Bandits became one of HandMade's most successful and acclaimed efforts; with a budget of $5 million, it earned $35 million in the US within ten weeks of its release.
Harrison served as executive producer for 23 films with HandMade, including Mona Lisa, Shanghai Surprise and Withnail and I. He made several cameo appearances in these films, including a role as a nightclub singer in Shanghai Surprise, for which he recorded five new songs. According to Ian Inglis, Harrison's "executive role in HandMade Films helped to sustain British cinema at a time of crisis, producing some of the country's most memorable movies of the 1980s."
Following a series of box office bombs in the late 1980s and excessive debt incurred by O'Brien, which was guaranteed by Harrison, HandMade's financial situation became precarious. The company ceased operations in 1991 and was sold three years later to Paragon Entertainment, a Canadian corporation. Afterwards, Harrison sued O'Brien for $25 million for fraud and negligence, resulting in an $11.6 million judgement in 1996.
In 1994, the company was acquired by the Canadian company Paragon Entertainment, which restarted production under the HandMade name. The company's most notable release of that era was Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). In 1999 Patrick Meehan and Cartier Investments acquired HandMade from Paragon. In June 2006 the Equator Group plc acquired Handmade Holdings Limited, and in November of that year Sequence Film Limited (a film sales, marketing and financial packaging company) was also acquired. It was subsequently renamed Handmade Films International. The parent company, now known as HandMade plc, is currently publicly traded under the symbol HMF.
On 7 January 2010, the company's shares were suspended on the London AIM stock market pending financial restructuring.
In July 2010, Handmade was purchased for £6.1 million by a syndicate of Jersey-based businessmen, including William Child-Villiers, 10th Earl of Jersey, at which time wealth-manager David Francis was reported to be deciding what to do with the business. As of March 2019, the company remains dormant.
|1979||Monty Python's Life of Brian||Terry Jones||95% (64 reviews)||77% (15 reviews)|
|A Sense of Freedom||John Mackenzie||N/A|
|1980||The Long Good Friday||John Mackenzie||96% (28 reviews)||N/A|
|1981||Time Bandits||Terry Gilliam||89% (46 reviews)||79% (18 reviews)|
|Tattoo||Bob Brooks||33% (6 reviews)||N/A|
|Venom||Piers Haggard||43% (7 reviews)||N/A|
|The Burning||Tony Maylam||86% (7 reviews)||N/A|
|1982||Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl||Terry Hughens (live segments)
Ian MacNaughton (film segments)
|The Missionary||Richard Loncraine||N/A|
|Privates on Parade||Michael Blakemore||N/A|
|1984||A Private Function||Malcolm Mowbray||88% (8 reviews)||N/A|
|1986||Mona Lisa||Neil Jordan||97% (30 reviews)||N/A|
|Shanghai Surprise||Jim Goddard||13% (8 reviews)||N/A|
|1987||Withnail and I||Bruce Robinson||94% (31 reviews)||N/A|
|Bellman and True||Richard Loncraine||N/A|
|The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne||Jack Clayton||N/A|
|1988||Track 29||Nicolas Roeg||67% (6 reviews)||N/A|
|Five Corners||Tony Bill||78% (9 reviews)||N/A|
|The Raggedy Rawney||Bob Hoskins||N/A|
|1989||Checking Out||David Leland||20% (5 reviews)||N/A|
|How to Get Ahead in Advertising||Bruce Robinson||57% (14 reviews)||N/A|
|Powwow Highway||Jonathan Wacks||100% (9 reviews)||N/A|
|Cold Dog Soup||Alan Metter||N/A|
|1990||Nuns on the Run||Jonathan Lynn||47% (19 reviews)||N/A|
|New ownership - 1994|
|1997||The Wrong Guy||David Steinberg||N/A|
|1998||Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels||Guy Ritchie||75% (65 reviews)||66% (30 reviews)|
|2006||Eloise: The Animated Series||Wes Archer||N/A|
|Fifty Dead Men Walking||Kari Skogland||84% (51 reviews)||57% (16 reviews)|
|2009||Planet 51||Jorge Blanco||22% (108 reviews)||39% (21 reviews)|
|Cracks||Jordan Scott||43% (49 reviews)||54% (12 reviews)|
|2010||127 Hours||Danny Boyle||93% (224 reviews)||82% (38 reviews)|