Touchstone Pictures is a label (or "banner" in Disney-speak) created and owned by The Walt Disney Company which releases films aimed for more mature audiences than the Disney branded fare.Since 1979, when they released The Black Hole, Disney had begun making numerous adult and teenage-oriented films such as TRON (albeit none of them getting above a PG rating) to remain competitive in the market of live action movies. But none of their efforts were commercially successful. It was as if the Disney name was more of a burden than an asset with large segments of potential audiences, as Disney had been for the longest time associated with G-rated family-friendly fare such as The Love Bug. Then-CEO Ron Miller (son-in-law of the late Walt Disney) announced in 1984 the creation of Touchstone Films (as it was then called) as a new label to 1) protect the wholesome family-friendly image of the Disney name and 2) to remain commercially relevant.Beginning with Splash, Touchstone soon became Disney's go-to brand for mainstream live-action films that weren't saccharine enough for the Company's flagship brand. At first, Touchstone was by far Disney's most-used brand for theatrical releases (far more so in terms of quantity than the Disney branded stuff), and television productions. Studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg adopted a strategy of "singles and doubles", in essence producing lots of low-cost High Concept movies which once in a while would turn into great successes. Three Men And A Baby - the highest grossing movie of 1987 - is a perfect case in point: a remake of a French film, with television actors in the lead roles and filmed in Canada. In 1990 Disney CEO Michael Eisner even created a competing division within Disney - Hollywood Pictures - which eventually got scaled back towards the end of the decade.However, with the Pirates of the Caribbean series (the first film being the first Disney-branded movie to get a PG-13 rating), the once clear distinction between Disney and Touchstone territory began to blur, and Touchstone became more pigeonholed. In 2006 new Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the company would be making an effort to focus more heavily on its three main core brands (Disney, ABC and ESPN), as well as on major acquired properties (such as Pixar and The Muppets, and later Marvel and Lucasfilm). As consequence in 2007 it was announced that the Disney studio would scale back on the number of live-action films produced, the majority of which would now be Disney-branded.The arrival of Rich Ross as Dick Cook's replacement as Disney Studios chairman in 2009 was a huge blow to Touchstone. In an effort to streamline the studio and cut back on losses, Ross announced a new business plan: to trim the number of films that Disney distributed to eight a year, and to only make films that the studio knew how to sell. Namely, in terms of live action films this meant either big-budget Jerry Bruckheimer produced movies or Marvel Cinematic Universe films (and Star Wars movies after the company's 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm), or lower-budget Disney Channel-esque films. Most of the films in Touchstone's pipeline were cancelled, including sequels to sleeper hits The Proposal and Wild Hogs. The last in-house studio made film released through Touchstone was the 2010 ensemble comedy You Again, which flopped at the box office.In 2011, Touchstone saw new life as the distribution label for DreamWorks' live action films in North America. While the production side has nothing in the pipeline at the moment, there had been interest by new studio chairman Alan Horn (who replaced Rich Ross in 2012 after the latter resigned due to a series of high-profile flops) of increasing Disney's yearly output and diversifying the types of movies the studio makes.However, this doesn't seem to be happening. In 2013, as part of Disney's breakup with Jerry Bruckheimer, Horn admitted that the studio was not interested in reviving Touchstone as a producer (Bruckheimer wanted to head up a new version of the label). Instead, when Disney took over full distribution rights to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they chose to distribute them as simply Marvel-branded films, while the Star Wars sequel trilogy will be released under Disney. Touchstone was then used to distribute Studio Ghibli's The Wind Rises. Strange Magic, having started production by Lucasfilm when it was acquired by Disney in 2012, is scheduled to be Touchstone's next non-DreamWorks release, and the last for the foreseeable future.They had their own television unit until 2007, when it was renamed ABC Studios as part of Iger's above-mentioned company refocusing efforts.
Notable films released by Touchstone Pictures:
Notable television productions from Touchstone Television: