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Hemdale Film Corporation, known as Hemdale Communications after 1993, was an independent British-American film production company and distributor. The company was founded in London in 1967 as the Hemdale Company by actor David Hemmings and John Daly, naming the company from a combination of their surnames.[2] The company produced numerous acclaimed films, often in conjunction with companies such as TriStar and Orion Pictures, including Platoon (1986) and The Last Emperor (1987), back-to-back winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture.


Hemdale began as an investment company to cut the high personal taxes on British actors. Eventually, the company went public as Hemdale Ltd. and began diversifying. Hemdale partnered with Patrick Meehan of Worldwide Artists, who once managed the band Black Sabbath,[3] invested in feature films, financed stage productions such as Grease, and became involved in boxing promotions such as The Rumble in the Jungle match between George Foreman and Muhammed Ali. John Daly was Hemdale's chairman and president. David Hemmings left the company in 1971, and Daly purchased his stock. Hemdale also distributed cable TV to hotels, which, in 1974, was its major source of revenue. After producing and distributing British films throughout the 1970s, Hemdale relocated to Hollywood in 1980 and focused extensively on movie-making.[4] A distribution agreement was made with Orion Pictures. In 1981 Derek Gibson joined the company as executive vice president and head of production. Daly and Gibson were then credited together as executive producers on all Hemdale films.[5]

Among Hemdale's best known films are The Terminator, The Return of the Living Dead, Hoosiers, Salvador, River's Edge, Platoon, and The Last Emperor; the latter two were back-to-back recipients of the Academy Award for Best Picture. Hemdale produced and or financed over 80 films during this period.

In 1986, Salvador was the first major film released by Hemdale Distribution in the United States.[6] Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf had received a regional release in December 1985.[7]

In 1991, Hemdale sold its valuable assets to another company that Daly and Gibson ran at cut-rate prices, which became Hemdale Communications.[8] Erik Parkinson joined the new company as president of Hemdale Pictures Corporation and Hemdale Home Video.[9] That same year, the new Hemdale created a collection of many video cassette titles released by Hemdale Home Video around the United States of America. Its first title was the Home Video reissue of the original Terminator in 1991,[10] via a distribution deal it signed with the old Hemdale company, then renamed NSB Film Corporation, to release some films from the latter's 150-title library.[11] In 1993, Hemdale Pictures was rechristened as Hemdale Communications. In 1995, the video rights to some of Hemdale's higher-profile titles were licensed to LIVE Entertainment (now Lionsgate).

In 1992, NSB sued Daly and Gibson for selling the Hemdale remnants to Parkinson's company, and Crédit Lyonnais Bank Nederland for breach of contract, racketeering, fraud, equitable subordination and contributing to its bankruptcy.[12][13] The next year, Crédit Lyonnais filed another lawsuit against NSB, resulting in the bank foreclosing on both NSB and its Hemdale library and forcing NSB to severe ties with Hemdale Home Video to release some of its titles. In 1994, NSB and Crédit Lyonnais settled their year-old ligation.

In March 1995, Daly and Gibson left the company, to be succeeded in their positions by Eric Parkinson.[14][15] That November, the company was reorganized; Parkinson was relegated to running only the video division, and former studio tax attorney Ray Bennett became chairman of Hemdale, while Larry Glauber became CEO. On November 9, 1995, Hemdale filed for involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[16][17]


After the studio closed, the Hemdale library was then incorporated into Consortium de Réalisation, a French holding company set up by Crédit Lyonnais to handle the rights to titles acquired by Credit Lyonnais Bank. In 1999, the library was incorporated into the Orion Pictures output now owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer via PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, after MGM acquired the Consortium de Réalisation library from PolyGram (ironically, Orion was the theatrical distributor for a number of Hemdale's films). One significant exception is The Last Emperor, a Hemdale production whose rights are now held by its producer, Jeremy Thomas. Hemdale licensed each of the US media rights to different companies; for example, Columbia Pictures handled US Theatrical only. Most of the foreign productions Hemdale distributed have subsequently returned to their original owners (such as Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, which producer Tokyo Movie Shinsha now controls worldwide). In the late '80s and early '90s, the television rights to the Hemdale library lay with Carolco Pictures.[18]

The company's last new credit was the Virgin Games video game adaptation The Terminator, which showed up on the game's start up screen as Hemdale's The Terminator.


Release Date Title Notes
December 18, 1972 Images distributed by Columbia Pictures
April 24, 1981 Cattle Annie and Little Britches distributed by Universal Pictures
September 25, 1981 Carbon Copy co-production with RKO Pictures; distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures
October 16, 1981 Strange Behavior distributed by World Northal
June 24, 1983 Yellowbeard distributed by Orion Pictures
October 1983 Escape from the Bronx distributed by New Line Cinema
April 1984 Race for the Yankee Zephyr
June 1984 A Breed Apart distributed by Orion Pictures
September 28, 1984 Irreconcilable Differences co-production with Warner Bros.
October 26, 1984 The Terminator distributed by Orion Pictures
November 16, 1984 Special Effects distributed by New Line Cinema
November 1984 Perfect Strangers distributed by New Line Cinema
January 25, 1985 The Falcon and the Snowman distributed by Orion Pictures
August 16, 1985 The Return of the Living Dead distributed by Orion Pictures
December 1985 Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf
March 5, 1986 Salvador
April 18, 1986 At Close Range distributed by Orion Pictures
November 1, 1986 Inside Out
November 14, 1986 Hoosiers distributed by Orion Pictures
November 21, 1986 Body Slam distributed by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
November 21, 1986 Defense of the Realm
December 19, 1986 Platoon distributed by Orion Pictures
May 8, 1987 River's Edge distributed by Island Pictures
May 15, 1987 Made in U.S.A. distributed by TriStar Pictures
May 1987 My Little Girl
June 12, 1987 Burke & Wills
July 10, 1987 The Whistle Blower
July 30, 1987 High Tide distributed by TriStar Pictures
August 1, 1987 Love at Stake distributed by TriStar Pictures
September 18, 1987 Hotel Colonial distributed by Orion Pictures
September 25, 1987 Best Seller distributed by Orion Pictures
November 1987 Slate, Wyn & Me
1987 Scenes from the Goldmine
February 5, 1988 The Supergrass
March 25, 1988 High Season
April 15, 1988 The Last Emperor distributed by Columbia Pictures
May 25, 1988 The Tale of Ruby Rose
July 15, 1988 A Killing Affair
September 15, 1988 War Party
November 23, 1988 Buster
December 23, 1988 The Boost
January 13, 1989 Ha-Holmim
January 21, 1989 Cheap Shots
January 27, 1989 Cohen and Tate
March 3, 1989 Out Cold
April 28, 1989 Criminal Law
May 19, 1989 Miracle Mile
June 2, 1989 Vampire's Kiss
July 21, 1989 Shag
August 18, 1989 Blood Red
September 22, 1989 The Time Guardian
October 6, 1989 The Everlasting Secret Family
November 10, 1989 Staying Together
January 5, 1990 Love or Money
January 26, 1990 Incident at Raven's Gate
April 20, 1990 Chattahoochee
May 6, 1990 The Belly of an Architect
??, 1990 Wishful Thinking
September 21, 1990 Don't Tell Her It's Me
November 2, 1990 Vincent & Theo
November 21, 1990 Hidden Agenda
April 12, 1991 Impromptu
April 19, 1991 Kill Line
June 14, 1991 Bright Angel
September 27, 1991 Prime Target distribution
November 1991 Thousand Pieces of Gold distribution
February 28, 1992 Complex World distribution
March 13, 1992 Highway to Hell distribution
May 29, 1992 Cold Heaven distribution
June 15, 1992 Beautiful Dreamers distribution
??, 1992 Round Numbers distribution
August 7, 1992 Bed & Breakfast distribution
August 21, 1992 Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland distribution
August 26, 1992 Knock Outs distribution
September 1, 1992 The Legend of Wolf Mountain distribution
October 14, 1992 Murder Blues distribution
??, 1992 Merlin - The True Story of Magic distribution
March 5, 1993 Love Your Mama distribution
April 25, 1993 The Magic Voyage distribution
??, 1993 Breakfast of Aliens distribution
September 10, 1993 The Seventh Coin distribution
September 15, 1993 Laser Moon distribution
October 6, 1993 In a Moment of Passion distribution
January 5, 1994 Quest of the Delta Knights distribution
January 19, 1994 Future Shock distribution
??, 1994 The Polar Bear King distribution
May 4, 1994 Confessions of a Hitman distribution
June 3, 1994 The Princess and the Goblin distribution
September 13, 1994 Savage Land distribution
October 19, 1994 The Story of Christmas distribution
January 3, 1995 The Littlest Viking distribution
March 28, 1995 Across the Moon distribution
May 20, 1995 Mosquito distribution
October 24, 1996 One More Shot co-distribution with Tapeworm Video Distributors
October 31, 1997 Grizzly Mountain co-distribution with Legacy Releasing and LIVE Entertainment


  1. "Release date not set for movie shot in S.C." Associated Press (November 6, 1988). Retrieved on April 1, 2011.
  2. "High-risk Movie Mogul", tribunedigital-chicagotribune. (in en) 
  3. John Daly biography - Yahoo Movies Stub
  4. The Rise and Fall of Hemdale (7 April 2015).Thomas, Bob. "Independent filmmakers may produce over half of releases." Associated Press (October 23, 1986). Retrieved on April 1, 2011.
  5. "High-risk Movie Mogul", tribunedigital-chicagotribune. (in en) 
  6. Todd McCarthy. "Film reviews - Salvador", Variety, March 5, 1986. 
  7. "1986 U.S. Film Releases by Company", Variety, February 19, 1986, p. 283. 
  8. "Former Hemdale exex target of NSB lawsuit", Variety, 1994-03-02. (in en-US) 
  9. Brennan, Judy. "Creditors file request to put NSB Corp. into default", Variety, 1992-10-27. (in en-US) 
  10. "Hemdale Sets Up Homevid Division", Variety, 1991-05-06. (in en-US) 
  11. Ayscough, Suzan. "CL, guilds pact against Hemdale", Variety, 1993-05-12. (in en-US) 
  12. Brennan, Judy. "Hemdale haunts Lyonnais", Variety, 1993-03-26. (in en-US) 
  13. Cox, Dan. "Former Hemdale unit settles Guild/Bank suit", Variety, 1994-04-04. (in en-US) 
  14. Hemdale Communications Inc. announces resignation of chairman John Daly and president Derek Gibson; March 6, 1995 Stub
  15. "Shakeup At Hemdale", Variety, 1995-03-13. (in en-US) 
  16. Nielsen Business Media (1995-11-25). Billboard (in en). Nielsen Business Media, Inc.. 
  17. TCR_Public/951109.MBX.
  18. Carolco I: Cleared for Action!. American Radio History (27 March 1989).

External links