Hemdale Film Corporation

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. The company produced numerous acclaimed films, often in conjunction with companies such as TriStar and Orion Pictures, including Platoon and The Last Emperor, 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, 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. 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.
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. had received a regional release in December 1985.
In 1991, Hemdale sold its valuable assets to another company that Daly and Gibson ran at cut-rate prices, which became Hemdale Communications. Erik Parkinson joined the new company as president of Hemdale Pictures Corporation and Hemdale Home Video. 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, 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.


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/“Epic” library from PolyGram. 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 distribution only. Most of the foreign productions Hemdale distributed have subsequently returned to their original owners. In the late '80s and early '90s, the television rights to the Hemdale library lay with Carolco Pictures.
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.