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Touchstone Pictures is an American film production company and one of several film distribution banners of The Walt Disney Studios, owned by The Walt Disney Company. Established on February 16, 1983 by then-Disney CEO Ron W. Miller as Touchstone Films, it typically releases films that feature more mature themes and darker tones than those released under the flagship Walt Disney Pictures label.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures entered into a long-term, 30-picture distribution deal with DreamWorks Pictures by which DreamWorks' productions would be released through the Touchstone Pictures banner over seven years beginning in 2011.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures entered into a long-term, 30-picture distribution deal with DreamWorks Pictures by which DreamWorks' productions would be released through the Touchstone Pictures banner over seven years beginning in 2011. As of 2016 however, rumours spreading that Disney may sell Touchstone to Time Warner.
Taste for older children had shifted and teens began to shun G-rated films. Due to increased public assumption that Disney films were aimed at children, films produced by the Walt Disney Studios began to falter at the box office as a result. In late 1979, Walt Disney Productions released The Black Hole, a science-fiction movie that was the studio's first production to receive a PG rating (the company, however, had already distributed its first PG-rated film, Take Down—without the Disney moniker visible—almost a year before the release of The Black Hole).
Over the next few years, Disney experimented with more PG-rated fare, such as the 1981 film Condorman. With Disney's 1982 slate of PG-rated films—including the horror-mystery The Watcher in the Woods, the thriller drama Night Crossing, and the science-fiction film Tron—the company lost over $27 million. Tron was considered a potential Star Wars-level success film by the film division. A loss of $33 million was registered by the film division in 1983 with the majority resulting from Something Wicked This Way Comes, a horror-fantasy movie. Never Cry Wolf, a 1983 PG release did well as the studio downplayed the film's association with the Disney brand.
Touchstone Films was started by then-Disney CEO Ron W. Miller in February 1984 as a label for their PG films with an expected 3 to 4 movies released under the label. Touchstone's first film was Splash, a huge hit for grossing $68 million at the domestic box office was released that year. Incoming Disney CEO Michael Eisner and film chief Jeffrey Katzenberg considered renaming the label to Hollywood Pictures.
Following in 1985, Down and Out in Beverly Hills was another early success for Touchstone. Allowing the momentum to increase with additional films with Ruthless People(1986), Outrageous Fortune (1987), Tin Men (1987), and other top movies. In April 1985, Touchstone Films were licensed to Showtime/The Movie Channel for five years starting in 1986.
Touchstone Films was renamed Touchstone Pictures after the film Ruthless People in 1986. With the Touchstone movies, Disney moved to the top of box office receipts beating out all the other major film studios by 1988. In April 1988, Touchstone become a unit of Walt Disney Pictures with newly appointed president Ricardo Mestres.
On October 23, 1990, The Walt Disney Company formed Touchwood Pacific Partners I to supplant the Silver Screen Partnership series as their movie studios' primary funding source.
With several production companies getting out of film production or closing shop by December 1988, the Walt Disney Studios announced the formation of the Hollywood Pictures division, which would only share marketing and distribution with Touchstone, to fill the void. Mestres was appointed president of Hollywood.
Following the success of the Disney-branded PG-13 rated Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003, and other films that in the 1980s and '90s would have been assigned to the Touchstone (or Hollywood Pictures and Miramax Films) label, Disney has decided to weigh distribution of films more toward Disney-branded films and away from Touchstone Pictures, though not entirely disbanding them as it is continues to regularly employ the Touchstone label for R and most PG-13 rated fare.
In 2006, Disney limited Touchstone's output in favor of Walt Disney Pictures titles due to an increase in film industry costs. Disney revived Touchstone in 2009 to serve as a distribution label for DreamWorks Studios' films. Following Disney's decision not to renew their long-standing deal with Jerry Bruckheimer Films in 2013, producer Jerry Bruckheimer revealed that he insisted on revitalizing the Touchstone label for production. Disney was uninterested, with studio chairman Alan Horn admitting that Touchstone's production output had been reduced to DreamWorks' films. In addition to DreamWorks' films, Touchstone has also released non Disney-branded animated films such as Gnomeo & Juliet, The Wind Rises and Strange Magic; with the exception of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's films, in which will be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures started in 2017.
By the end of the DreamWorks deal in August 2016, Disney will have distributed fourteen of DreamWorks' original 30-picture agreement, with thirteen through Touchstone. The deal will end in August 2016, with Universal Pictures replacing Disney as DreamWorks' distributor. Disney, however, will retain the distribution rights for these DreamWorks films in perpetuity as compensation for the studio's outstanding loan.
In a most recent sources, it suggests that Time Warner may buy Touchstone Pictures in the future once The Light Between Oceans to be released on 2nd September 2016.
Some well-known Touchstone Pictures releases include Beaches, Splash, The Color of Money, Ernest Goes to Camp, Adventures in Babysitting, Good Morning, Vietnam, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Dead Poets Society, Pretty Woman, Dick Tracy, Sister Act, When a Man Loves a Woman, Rushmore, The Insider, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Prestige,The Proposal, The Help, War Horse, and Lincoln. Its highest-grossing film release is Armageddon. Although animated films are primarily released by Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone's animated releases include the original theatrical release of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Gnomeo & Juliet, The Wind Rises, and Strange Magic. Five Touchstone films have received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture; Dead Poets Society, The Insider, The Help, War Horse, Lincoln, and Bridge of Spies.
Through Touchstone, Disney's first R-rated film, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, came in January 31, 1986 and was a large box-office success. Ruthless People followed in June 27, 1986 and was also very successful. Both of these pictures starred Bette Midler, who had signed a six-picture deal with Disney and become a major film star again with these hits as well as Beaches and Outrageous Fortune.
One of the key producers behind Touchstone films has been producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who had a production deal with Disney from 1993 to 2014. His Touchstone titles include The Ref, Con Air, Enemy of the State, Gone in 60 Seconds, Coyote Ugly, Pearl Harbor, Bad Company, Veronica Guerin, King Arthur and Déjà Vu. In addition, Bruckheimer has also produced several other films released under the Disney and Hollywood labels.
Releases from Touchstone Pictures, until 2016, are distributed theatrically by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and through home media platforms via Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (branded as "Touchstone Home Entertainment").
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