United Artists, the studio that gave birth to the James Bond film franchise, will celebrate its 90th birthday in 2009, and 007 will be playing a part in the festivities.
The New York Times today reports United Artists, recently revived by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, will launch a massive $20 million marketing campaign to celebrate the studio’s anniversary and to look towards its future. The 18-month campaign will encompass print, radio and the Internet (a website is online now), as well as a partnership with Panasonic.
Additionally, the studio will hold the United Artists Film Festival, which will tour 20 cities and screen assorted studio classics, including the very first James Bond film, 1962’s Dr. No.
United Artists Cinema Greats – Volume 1
“We want to reinforce and remind people of what a powerful film history and legacy a brand like United Artists has,” said Paula Wagner.
United Artists will also release a range of DVDs showcasing the studio’s most famous pictures, including an epic 90-title box set, certain to contain some of the early Bond films. Encased in frosted glass and weighing almost 30 pounds, the set will retail for US$869.98. For the mainstream consumer, four “Best of United Artists” gift sets were released in the U.S. this week; Volume 1 also features Dr. No (click here to order from Amazon.com).
Established in 1919 by Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Mary Pickford, United Artists produced a range of critically and commercially successful films throughout the mid-20th century. In 1961, the studio financed Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to produce a film based on Ian Fleming’s Dr. No, which kick-started the James Bond cinematic legacy. Following the release of 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun, Saltzman sold his stake in the 007 series to United Artists. Despite the fact MGM absorbed United Artists in the 1980s, who, in turn, were bought by Sony in 2004, the studio has remained public co-copyright holders for the series ever since.
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