Castle Rock Entertainment
Type Subsidiary of Warner Bros.
Founded 1987
Headquarters United States
Key people {{{key_people}}}
Industry Film
Products Motion pictures

Castle Rock Entertainment is a film and television production company founded in 1987 by Martin Shafer, director Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman, Glenn Padnick and Alan Horn. It is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which in turn is a unit of Time Warner.


Reiner named the company in honor of the fictional Maine town that serves as the setting of several stories by Stephen King (which was named after the fictional Castle Rock in Lord of the Flies), after the success of his film Stand by Me, which was based on The Body, a novella by King.

The company was originally backed by The Coca-Cola Company, the then-parent company of Columbia Pictures. Coke and the company's founders jointly owned a stake in the company.[1] Months after the deal, Coke exited the entertainment business, succeeded by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

In 1989, Castle Rock was supported by another backer, Group W, a subsidiary of Westinghouse.[2] Castle Rock later struck a deal with Nelson Entertainment, the company that owned the domestic home video rights to Reiner's This is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, and The Princess Bride, to co-finance Castle Rock's films.

Under the deal, Nelson also distributed the films on video in North American markets, and handled international theatrical distribution, while Columbia, which Nelson forged a distribution deal with, would receive domestic theatrical distribution rights. Some of Nelson's holdings were later acquired by New Line Cinema, which took over Nelson's duty.

Columbia, shortly after the company's formation, thereafter had to re-invest with a substantial change in terms when accumulated losses exhausted its initial funding.

Castle Rock has also produced several televisions shows, such as the successful sitcom Seinfeld and the animated sitcom Mission Hill.


Columbia handled Castle Rock films' distribution domestically (and later worldwide) until 1999.

On August 1993, Ted Turner agreed to acquire Castle Rock, along with co-financing partner New Line Cinema. Turner Broadcasting System eventually merged into Time Warner in 1996.

In 1999, Warner Bros. and Universal assumed distribution rights beginning with The Green Mile (WB handled domestic distribution, while Universal handled the foreign rights). Soon after, Universal backed out of their contract (and later gave international rights to The Green Mile back to WB), WB assumed full distribution of all Castle Rock films worldwide. However, a few post-1998 films still had distribution by Columbia or a related company, such as Envy (distributed by Columbia outside the US, as DreamWorks had American rights), or the 2007 remake of Sleuth (through the Sony Pictures Classics division in North America; Paramount Pictures handled distribution in a few other English-speaking countries). Presumably, WB passed on distributing these films.

In several international markets in the mid-1990s, Columbia did not distribute Castle Rock films theatrically. In Germany, they distributed their own films via a joint venture between them, Concorde Filmverleih, and Turner Pictures (a subsidiary of Castle Rock's then-parent company Turner Entertainment). Many of the company's early films were distributed by Palace Pictures in the United Kingdom, under license from Nelson.

New Line Cinema and Castle Rock Entertainment had recently collaborated on Fracture, which opened April 20, 2007; their first joint venture since the mid-1990s before both companies were bought by Turner. Also, Columbia and Castle Rock co-financed Did You Hear About The Morgans?, which was released on December 18, 2009.

Distribution changes

Castle Rock Entertainment owns the rights to nearly all of its films and television series, as they were copyrighted by the company (which is often shared by other companies on a few films). However, the distribution rights to these films have often shifted from company to company over the years.


The distribution rights to all Castle Rock films prior to 1994 (with the exception of co-productions with Columbia such as In the Line of Fire and A Few Good Men) were originally held by New Line; the company later sold off the Nelson and Castle Rock libraries to PolyGram. These films are now part of the pre-1996 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment library owned by MGM. Warner Bros., however, holds some partial distribution rights to these films, including television rights to select titles that in turn include the films co-financed by Nelson (notably excluding the co-productions with Columbia which are owned by Sony Pictures Television)

Theatrical distribution of the pre-1994 Castle Rock library came full circle in 2005, when MGM was sold to a Sony-led partnership. As Sony owns Columbia (through Sony Pictures Entertainment), that studio has assumed theatrical distribution rights to the MGM-owned features. SPE also handled TV and video distribution for a short time. In 2006, MGM returned to self-distribution on TV, and switched video distribution to 20th Century Fox.

One pre-1994 Castle Rock film, The Spirit of '76, is also currently distributed by Warner since Nelson Entertainment did not have a role in the film's production.

1994 onward

The 1994-99 Castle Rock films (except the US distribution rights to The Story of Us and The Last Days of Disco, along with the international rights to The American President, all of which are held by Universal) are now part of WB's library, although some have ancillary rights held by WB's Turner Entertainment division.

As aforementioned, WB has re-acquired the international distribution rights to The Green Mile from Universal. However, also as aforementioned, three other films with partial distribution by Universal were not part of the deal, and Universal still handles some interest in these films.

Selected films

File:Castle Rock Entertainment logo old.jpg

Television shows


External links

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