Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC (formerly, Magnetic Video, 20th Century-Fox Video, Fox Video, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc.) is the home video arm of the 20th Century Fox film studio, now a label only unit of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.
Fox's best selling DVD titles are the various season box sets of The Simpsons. They also once served as the U.S. distributor for television and/or film products released by BBC Video until those North American distribution rights expired in 2000 and have since then been transferred to Warner Home Video. They also distributed HIT Entertainment releases in 2006 until 2008 when video distribution moved to Lionsgate Home Entertainment, then Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, as well as distributing DreamWorks Animation films from 2013 to 2017.
In late 2006, the company began releasing its titles on Blu-ray.
History[edit | edit source]
Magnetic Video and 20th Century-Fox Video[edit | edit source]
Magnetic Video was formed in 1976 by Andre Blay. Magnetic Video licensed 50 films from 20th Century Fox, including The Sound of Music and Patton, through Twentieth Century Fox Telecommunications. The films were released under the Magnetic Video banner on video cassette tapes and sold via a back page ad in TV Guide.
Blay sold Magnetic Video to 20th Century Fox in 1977 becoming the first studio home video division. Blay continued on as the subsidiary's president and CEO. Directly with Plitt Theatres chain in early 1980, they launched a pilot theater lobbies program. Through a distributor, a similar program was set up with United Artists Theaters.
In March 1982, Magnetic Video changed its name to 20th Century-Fox Video, Inc. while continued to be headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan. However, Blay was forced out at the time, with Telecommunications division president and CEO Steve Roberts took charge of 2CF Videos.
Roberts oversaw in June 1982 the merger of 20th Century-Fox Video operations and CBS Video Enterprises and continued as the joint venture president. He was replaced as CBS/Fox Video president in January 1983 by a former Columbia Pictures executive, Larry Hilford. Hilford was verbal critic of the video rental business, but with the studio looking at a likely loss, he attempted to make the out of the results. CBS/Fox and other home video units increased prices of the cassettes by around 67% to maximize income. They also move to encourage customer purchasing instead of renting. As a part of that CBS/Fox looked to existing retail chains for direct sales. Toys R Us and Child World signed the first direct deals in July 1985 with CBS/Fox. Walt Disney Home Video soon followed with a direct deal with Toys R Us.
by 1991, 20th Century Fox had put the CBS-Fox joint venture on the back burner and began releasing videocassette under the Fox Video. Fox Video was under president Bob DeLellis, a 1984 hire at CBS/Fox and rose to group vice president and president in 1991. With expected repeat viewing, Fox Video dropped prices on family films starting in June 1991 with Home Alone at a suggested list price of $24.98 to encourage purchasing over rental.
Fox Filmed Entertainment had a new chief operating officer and president Bill Mechanic in 1993 coming from Disney Home Video. Mechanic had plans to move Fox forward including Fox Video, but initial left DeLellis alone as he was setting up multiple creative divisions within Fox. Mechanic had been the one to install the "Vault" moratorium strategy at Disney. Mrs. Doubtfire was released soon after Mechanic's arrival with a sell through price and surpassed sale projections at 10 million tapes.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment[edit | edit source]
The company was renamed Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (also called Fox Home Entertainment) on March 16, 1995 with the addition to Fox Video of distribution operations, three other labels (Fox Kids Networks, CBS Videos, CBS/Fox Videos) and two new media units, Fox Interactive, Magnet Interactive Studios. Total revenue for the expanded business unit would have been over $800 million with Fox Videos providing the bulk at $650 million. Mechanic kept DeLellis as president of the expanded unit's North American operation with Jeff Yap as international president. By May 1995, Fox had Magnet under a worldwide label deal for 10 to 12 title through 1996. TCFHE would also be responsible for DVD when they hit the market.
Mechanic had Fox Home Entertainment institute the moratorium strategy with the August 1995 release of the three original Star Wars movies giving them a sales window before going off the market forever. Four months for New Hope and until the fall of 1997 for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Sales topped 30 million copies over expectations. The company's 1996 release of Independence Day sold 18 million-unit making the industry’s bestselling live-action home video release.
With the May 1997 departure of DeLellis, a quick rotation of presidents lead Fox Home Entertainment, Yapp for four months then an interim president Pat Wyatt, head of Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising, in September 1997. With DVD being a Warner Home Video property, the company did not initial issue DVDs instead advocated for digital VHS tapes then the disposable Divx. Divx was DVD variant that had limited viewing time launched by Circuit City consumer electronics chain in June 1998. With DVD's low cost at $20 and Divx at $4.50, the DVD format won quickly out over Divx. News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch wanted a deal with Time Warner cable for the soon to launch Fox News and a lower dial position for Fox Family Channel, Mechanic adopted the DVD format to smooth the deal.
By 1998, Wyatt became permanent president of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Wyatt then became head of Fox Consumer Product, which put together the video and licensing unit. Wyatt had to drop the licensing half as the home video unit boomed. DVD sales were so strong that they factored into green-lighting theatrical films.
Wyatt reorganized the Fox Home Entertainment through a partnership with replicator Cinram and lead the way in using data mining to increase its retail business partner's margins. Being ahead of the other studios, TCFHE began picking up additional outside labels as distribution clients with their fees covering the company's overhead. Fox Home Entertainment won multiple Vendor of the Year awards. Wyatt's system was a great edge for years.
TV-on-DVD business was intiated by Wyatt through the release of whole season of The X-Files, The Simpsons and 24, which started the binge-watching concept. However, the videocassette rental business was declining such that video rental chains signed revenue-sharing deals with the studios, so additional copies of hits could be brought in a lower price and share sales for more customer satisfaction.
With the DVD boom, the company was able to have various promotional stunts for their video releases from the The Simpsons and Cast Away. For the Simpsons release, there was The Simpsons on Ice in Bryant Park, turned the Empire State Building yellow and handed out yellow Santa hats that were all over town. Cast Away had a US Coast Guard rescue co-star ‘Wilson,’ the volleyball, at sea during their water safety awareness campaign.
In 1999, MGM agreed to have Fox Home distribution its home video. Mechanic left Fox in June 2000 while Wyatt resigned in December 2002. Jim Gianopulos replaced Mechanic while executive vice president of domestic marketing and sales, Mike Dunn, took over from Wyatt. Wyatt left to start a direct-to-video film production and financing company for Japanese-style animated programming.
In 2004, 20th Century Fox passed on theatrical distribution, while picking up domestic home video rights on The Passion of the Christ. Passion sold 15 million DVDs. TCFHE continued obtaining additional Christian films' domestic home video rights for movie like "Mother Teresa" and the "Beyond the Gates of Splendor" documentary. After a 2005 test with a Fox Faith website, in 2006, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment launched its own film production banner for religious films using the same name.
Effective October 1, 2005, 20th Century Fox Scandinavia was split into two, 20th Century Fox Theatrical Sweden and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Scandinavia. For the Home Entertainment Scandinavia, Peter Paumgardhen was appointed managing director and would report to senior vice president of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Europe Gary Ferguson.
DVD was declining in 2005 and high-definition TVs almost required a new disc format, Fox and half the studios back Blu-ray while the other half backed HD DVD and a couple planned to issue in both formats. Blu-ray won the format war in 2008, but with digital distribution starting, ie. Netflix launching its streaming service, and the Great Recession, there was not the rebound that was expected.
With Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer moving its home video distribution to TCFHE in 2006, the company move into second place behind Warner Bros. and ahead of Walt Disney and had its best year yet. In October, Fox Home Entertainment issued the first to include a digital copy along on a disc with the special-edition DVD of Live Free or Die Hard.
2010 Blu-ray release of Avatar was the year’s top-selling title and the top Blu-ray Disc seller with 5 million units sold. In 2011, Fox released on Blu-ray Disc the full Star Wars double trilogy on 9 discs premium set selling 1 million units its first week in stores generating $84 million in gross sales.
In response to Warner Brothers, Sony and MGM/UA issuing manufactured-on-demand lines of no-frills DVD-R editions of older films in May 2012, TCFHE began releasing its Cinema Archives series. By November 2012, the archive series had released 100 movies.
Fox Home Entertainment started the early window policy, where the digital version is release through digital retailers two or three weeks before the discs, and was launched with Prometheus in September 2012. This also started Fox's Digital HD program where customers could download or stream 600 Fox films on connected devices at less than $15/film through miltiple major platforms. However, Digital HD was soon dropped as 4K, or Ultra HD, was introduced in 2012. In 2014, a high-tech think tank, Fox Innovation Lab, was formed under 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
In September 2015, the first Ultra HD Blu-ray player was introduced leading TCFE to have future movies released same day in Ultra HD Blu-ray as regular Blu-ray and DVD. The first Ultra HD Blu-ray films were released in March 2016 with Fox being one of four studios involved and had the most titles with 10.
After a prior home entertainment distribution arrangement for Australia and Spain, in February 2016, Entertainment One (eOne) and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment signed a new multi-territory distribution agreement. The agreement called for a distribution joint venture in Canada. In the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and Australia, Fox Home would manage eOne's home video distribution. In the US, Fox would handle marketing and sales activities for Peppa Pig physical home entertainment products.
TCFHE and MGM renewed their home video distribution deal in June 2016 to expire in June 2020. Dunn added another title in December 2016: president of product strategy and consumer business development. Dunn turned over TCFHE in March 2017 to Keith Feldman taking over his older title, president of worldwide home entertainment. Feldman was previously president of worldwide home entertainment distribution, and, before that, president of international.
In December 2017, the Acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney was proposed. After a Comcast bid and Disney counter bid approval was given. Disney took over most of 21st Century Fox on March 20, 2019. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has since became a label only unit of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, starting with Dark Phoenix.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: 20th Century Studios Home Entertainment/Gallery
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