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|MGM Home Entertainment|
The company was established as MGM Home Video, releasing MGM films and TV shows. In 1979, MGM joined forces with CBS Video Enterprises, the home video division of the CBS television network, and established MGM/CBS Home Video. In October of that year, they released their first batch of Betamax and VHS tapes.
The initial printings of all 24 films were packaged in brown leather clamshell cases with gold lettering; they were presented to CBS executives. Later printings of these films, as well as all printings of later releases by MGM/CBS, were packaged in oversized gray book-style boxes with either the MGM Abstract Lion print logo or CBS Video print logo in the upper right hand corner of the packaging. MGM/CBS also issued some early tapes of Lorimar product; those releases would instead bear the Lorimar print logo where the MGM or CBS Video print logo would normally be.
In 1982, a year after MGM bought and merged with the near-bankrupt United Artists from Transamerica, CBS dropped out of the video partnership with MGM and moved to 20th Century Fox to create CBS/Fox Video. MGM's video division became known as MGM/UA Home Entertainment Group, Inc., more commonly known as MGM/UA Home Video. MGM/UA continued to license pre-1981 UA and pre-1950 WB films (as well as some post-1981 titles) to CBS/Fox (due to an agreement UA had with Fox years earlier dating back to when CBS/Fox Home Video was called Magnetic Video).
In 1986, MGM's pre-May 1986 library (also including the pre-1950 Warner Bros. library, Bugs Bunny: Superstar, the Fleischer Studios/Famous Studios Popeye cartoons, and most US rights to the RKO Pictures library), was acquired by Ted Turner and his company Turner Entertainment Co.. After the library was acquired, MGM/UA signed a deal with Turner to continue distributing the pre-May 1986 MGM and to begin distributing the pre-1950 Warner Bros. libraries for video release (the rest of the library went to Turner Home Entertainment).
In October 1990, after Pathé bought MGM, MGM/UA Home Video struck a deal with Warner Home Video to have them distribute MGM/UA titles exclusively on home video. MGM/UA began distributing the UA library after its contract with CBS/Fox ended. In 1995, MGM/UA Home Video launched the MGM/UA Family Entertainment label for family-friendly releases. In 1996, Warner made an exclusive deal with Image Entertainment to distribute MGM/UA titles on LaserDisc. they also acquired a majority of the Cannon Films library. (certain rights for other media and select films during the Thorn EMI merger now lie with other entities, and the post-1991 films, as they are owned by Warner Bros. as well as other cannon titles distributed by that company, as well as television and digital rights are now owned by ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks under Paramount Television Studios (formerly CBS Television Distribution), successor to parent company Viacom's syndication unit.) after pathé acquired the company.
In 1997, MGM/UA, along with the other studios that were distributed by Warner Home Video, began releasing its titles on DVD. Some of the films MGM released on DVD were from the Turner catalog, which they were still allowed to keep after Turner merged into Time Warner some time before because of their distribution deal. That same year, MGM acquired Orion Pictures. As a result, Orion Home Video (Orion's home video division) was bought out by MGM/UA, and was retained as an in-name-only division until the acquisition deal was finalized in 1998. In 1998, the company was renamed MGM Home Entertainment and MGM/UA Family Entertainment was renamed MGM Family Entertainment.
In March 1999, MGM paid Warner Bros. $225 million to end their distribution agreement in February 2000; the initial deal was to have expired in 2003. As a result of the deal, MGM gave up the home video rights to the MGM/UA films owned by Turner to Warner Home Video. Upon the expiration of the Warner deal, MGM sold overseas video rights to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
On March 3, 2003, MGM Home Entertainment launched the MGM Kids sub-label.
In May 2003, MGM reinstated full distribution rights to their products in regions like Australia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, although Fox would continue to distribute for MGM in a majority of developing regions.
In 2006, after MGM ended its distribution agreement with Sony, the company announced that it would sign a new distribution deal with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Originally, DVD releases of MGM/UA and Columbia TriStar co-releases continued to be distributed by SPHE, since Sony then still owned 20% of MGM, whereas Fox has no controlling interest; however, Fox has since released DVD editions of films based on MGM IPs.
In 2010, parent company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer emerged from bankruptcy. As of 2011, MGM no longer releases or markets its own movies. Instead, MGM shared distribution with other studios that handle all distribution and marketing for MGM's projects. Since then, only a handful of MGM's most recent movies, such as Skyfall, Red Dawn,Carrie,RoboCop,If I Stay,Poltergeist (which Fox 2000 Pictures co-produced), Spectre and Lightworkers Media's Son of God have all been released on DVD and Blu-ray by its home video output and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Others, such as The Hobbit, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Hercules, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Creed, 22 Jump Street, Ben-Hur and The Magnificent Seven have been released by the home video output of the co-distributor -- in these cases, Warner Home Video, Paramount Home Media Distribution and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment respectively.
In 2011, MGM launched the "MGM Limited Edition Collection", a manufactured-on-demand (MOD) DVD service that issues unreleased and out-of-print titles from the MGM-owned library. Its releases are sold through the Warner Archive Collection.
With the acquisition of Fox's parent company 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company in 2019, MGM announced in their 2019 report that it would not renew its deal with Fox after the current agreement expired on June 30, 2020, and would search for a new distributor afterwards. In the studio's 2020 financial report, MGM named Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as their new home media distributor.
From 2006 until June 30, 2020, a majority of MGM's in-house distribution was handled through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Many of Orion Pictures' films since its revival have been released through various third-party companies. The remake of The Town That Dreaded Sundown was released by Image Entertainment. However, Fox, and later Warner Bros., would handle home video distribution of Orion's movies released through UAR.
MGM's post-April 1986 library is currently distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, which already owns and distributes the studio's pre-May 1986 library through their ownership of Turner Entertainment Co.. MGM also licenses out some of its film and television library to Olive Films, Kino Lorber and The Criterion Collection. Beginning in December 2018, several specific recent MGM films released through the United Artists Releasing joint venture are distributed by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, starting with the DVD/Blu-ray release of Operation Finale on December 4, 2018.
On January 14, 2020, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (MGM's current distributor of catalog titles) and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (MGM's current distributor of select UAR releases) formed a 10-year home entertainment joint venture in several territories, including North America.