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Creator / Gramercy Pictures

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Gramercy Pictures was one of the 90s "indie" studios born from a larger, established studio, in this case Universal, which started the label in 1992 alongside PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, hence the name ("Gram" for PolyGram and "Ercy" for Universal). It was PolyGram's US distribution house and served as a dual label for Universal, concerning both "arthouse" flicks and lower-budget movies; by 1996 PolyGram bought Universal's half.

The company tended to suffer from a nasty streak of bad luck, however; while some of their films were hits, and many of the ones that underperformed (ie. Mallrats, Dazed and Confused and Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie) later became cult classics and Vindicated by Cable, most of them were duds. (The one-two punch of Mallrats and Michael Moore's Canadian Bacon nearly bankrupted them.) However, possibly due to the initial split management, they tended to have Executive Meddling in spades- and when that wasn't there, Screwed by the Network was; Kevin Smith said of them "they couldn't market their way out of a paper bag." Unfortunately for them, they followed cycling between box-office flops and successes; 1998 saw only one success, The Big Lebowski, and even then it only became a cult hit when it reached video. The company seemed to be getting back on track with Elizabeth in November of that year, but by 1999 it was too late. That year, Seagram's, the liquor company that had acquired Universal in 1996, acquired PolyGram and reduced Gramercy into an In Name Only unit (and later spun them off to millionaire Barry Diller along with the USA Network; he merged them and October Films into USA Films, which was then merged with Universal Focus, and became Focus Features). Unfortunately for them, they couldn't have chosen to do that at a worse time—by the time Gramercy was reduced to that status, they put their name on films such as Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Being John Malkovich, Nurse Betty, Pitch Black, and many more. Many of these were box-office hits that Gramercy would miss. The company was recently revived as Focus Features' answer to the recently-revived Orion Pictures; its first release in over a decade being Insidious: Chapter 3. Unfortunately, the critical and commercial calamity of Ratchet & Clank killed the label a second time... and within a year to boot! The brand has no future titles announced and the new management of Focus wants to steer away from genre fare. This means Universal will make Insidious: Chapter 4 instead. (See here for more examples of Gramercy screwing up.)

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Films produced and/or distributed by Gramercy Pictures:


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