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North American Theatrical Film Rental Market Shares: 1970-1990

Feature film rentals from U.S. and Canadian theaters, expressed in percentages of total industry rentals (including those of minor distributors). This data table summarizes all earlier published annual distributor market share rankings. Although much boxoffice data is recently available, film rentals – the distributors’ share of boxoffice gross – are preferable in measuring distributor performance. For convenient reference, each year’s largest market share percentage is shown in a box. Percentages do not add to 100% in any year; the residual amount is accounted for by smaller and/or defunct distributors.

See notes (1) through (10) below for important information on certain newer, minor or defunct distributors.

Notes: (1) MGM/UA means the present distribution company as well as the “old” UA, which took over domestic distribution of MGM product late in 1973.

(2) Includes old American International Pictures (1970-79), and Filmways Pictures (1980-81). Name changed to Orion in 1982.

(3) Tri-Star Pictures began operations in April 1984, absorbed Columbia Pictures late 1987; corporate name changed to Columbia Pictures Entertainment. Col and Tri-Star retain separate sales staffs, but certain administrative functions are performed by Triumph Releasing, an entity that has minimal operational significance. Triumph released several indie acquisitions in 1990; its domestic rental market share was 1 %.

(4) Embassy Pictures market shares as follows: 3% in 1980,5% in 1981,1% in 1983 and 1985, nil in 1984, insignificant in other years. Company bought by Columbia Pictures in 1985. Dino De Laurentiis acquired Embassy’s theatrical production-distribution operations from Columbia later in 1985. Name changed to De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, distribution operations resumed June 1986. Market share for 1986 just over 2%; for 1987, just over 1%. Thereafter in fiscal reorganization.

(5) Pre-’74, the “old” MGM market shares as follows: 4% in 1970, 9% in 1971, 6% in 1972 and 5% in 1973. Company exited distribution late in 1973.

(6) National General Pictures (most of its release schedule being CBS-Cinema Center Films) market shares as follows: 7 % in 1970, 8 % in 1971, 3 % in 1972 and 8 % in 1973. NGP also released First Artists product under a commitment transferred to Warner Bros. in 1974 when NGP folded.

(7) Cinerama Releasing Corp. (most of its releases being ABC Pictures product) market shares as follows: 3% over 1970-73 period. CRC folded thereafter.

(8) Allied Artists Pictures had a 4% market share in 1974. Insignificant in other years. Lorimar acquired assets in 1981. Lorimar began domestic distribution operations in August 1987. Warner Bros. acquired Lorimar in late 1988.

(9) Buena Vista releases Walt Disney Co. pix from various production subsids.

(10) New Line Cinema had 4% of 1990 rentals.

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