The 50th anniversary of Orson Welles’ classic RKO film “Citizen Kane” will be marked May 1 with the first national reissue of the picture in more than 30 years.
Paramount Pictures, the distributor, and Turner Entertainment, holder of domestic rights, are co-sponsoring the ceremonial release May 1 with a repertory opening in six key cities – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, San Francisco and Seattle.
With prints supplied by Turner Entertainment, Paramount will recycle the film in its original black & white under its agreement to handle domestic distribution of selected features from the library of 650 RKO films owned by Turner Entertainment.
Paramount and Turner are 50-50 partners in the longterm distribution deal and are sharing equally in a special “Citizen Kane” revival marketing program that Turner Entertainment president Roger Mayer says is well under $1 million.
RKO/Pavilion owns exclusive remake rights to the RKO library, and is partnered with Turner Entertainment in stage rights. The TE-Paramount domestic distribution pact has been in effect since October 1989.
“Citizen Kane” represents Paramount’s first major repertory release from the collection. Already shown in limited one- or two-market spot releases have been such RKO pictures as Welles’ second film, “The Magnificent Ambersons,” “The Hunchback Of Notre Dame” and four Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, “Top Hat,” “The Gay Divorcee,” “Swing Time” and “Flying Down To Rio.”
All had limited runs in revival houses. “Citizen Kane” is the first so-called major release under the Turner agreement. Mayer said “Kane” will break wide if the platform opening sprouts legs.