About the Founder
• Robert Shaye founded New Line Cinema in 1967 and guided the
company's growth from a privately held distributor of art films into
the entertainment industry’s top independent motion picture
production and distribution company.
• It was while working at the Museum of Modern Art that haye first
began to explore the world of distribution. In 1967, he formed New
Line Cinema in his Greenwich Village apartment. Starting with a
package of feature films and shorts rented to collages and building
on early re-releases such as Reefer Madness and first-run domestic
distribution of foreign films, New Line broke out commercially with
such popular franchises as the Street Fighter series, The Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and A Nightmare on Elm Street series.
Those successful franchises set the stage for a string of New Line
hits including Rush Hour, Austin Powers, Mask, Dumb & Dumber,
The Wedding Singer, Seven, Boogie Nights, and Blade.
New Line Cinema was established in 1967 by the then 27-year-old Robert Shaye as a film distribution company,
supplying foreign and art films for college campuses in the United States. Shaye operated New Line's offices out of his
apartment at 14th Street and Second Avenue in New York City. One of the company's early successes was its
distribution of the 1936 anti-cannabis propaganda film Reefer Madness, which became a cult hit on American college
campuses in the early 1970s. New Line also released many classic foreign-language films, like Stay As You Are, Immoral
Tales and Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (which became the first New Line film to win an Oscar). The studio has also
released many of the films of John Waters.
In 1976, New Line secured funding to produce its first full-length feature, Stunts, an action thriller about
murders of a number of stuntmen in Hollywood. The film was directed by Mark Lester and released in
1977. Although not considered a critical success, the film performed well commercially on the
international market and on television.
New Line produced or co-produced three more films in 1981 and 1983: Alone in the Dark, a horror film
about escapees from a lunatic asylum; Xtro, a science fiction fantasy; and Polyester, directed by John
Waters. Polyester was one of the first films to introduce a novelty cinema experience, Odorama, where
members of the audience were provided with a set of "scratch and sniff" cards, to be scratched and
sniffed during appropriate times during the film, which provided an additional sensory connection to the
A Nightmare on Elm Street was produced and released by New Line in 1984. The franchise was New Line's
first commercially successful series after a devastating financial slump, leading the company to be
nicknamed "The House that Freddy Built". The low-budget flick had a production cost of $1.8M and
grossed over $25.5M at the US box office. It was the first film to feature actor Johnny Depp. A year later, A
Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge was released. It grossed $3.3M in the first three days and
over $30M at the domestic box office. Nightmare 3 was released in 1987. In its first weekend it grossed
more than any previously released independent film and went on to make almost $45M at the US box
On January 28, 1994, New Line Cinema was acquired by Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting System,which then merged
with Time Warner in 1996. While fellow Turner-owned studios Hanna-Barbera Productions, Cartoon Network Studios,
and Castle Rock Entertainment eventually became absorbed into Warner Bros., New Line was kept as its own entity
until February 28, 2008, when Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes announced that New Line would shut down as a
separately operated studio.
Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne said that they would step down with a letter to their employees. They promised,
however, along with Time Warner and Jeffery Bewkes, that the company would continue to operate its financing,
producing, marketing, and distributing operations of its own films with the New Line logo, but would do so now as a
part of Warner Bros. and be a smaller studio, releasing a smaller number of films than in past years.
As to the company's future, according to Warner Bros. president Alan Horn, "There's no budget number required.
They'll be doing about six per year, though the number may go from four to seven; it's not going to be 10." As to
content, "New Line will not just be doing genre [...] There's no mandate to make a particular kind of movie.
in 2007, New Line Cinema and Castle Rock Entertainment collaborated on Fracture, their first joint
venture since the mid-1990s before both companies were bought by Turner.
In the coming years, New Line will release several films based on properties originated at WB. These
include a remake of the 1958 musical film Damn Yankees, a film with George Lopez playing Looney
Tunes character Speedy Gonzales, and another film in the National Lampoon's Vacation series.
Merger with Warner Bros.
New Line Cinema was merged with its parent company Warner Bros. in 2008. The
disappointment of The Golden Compass was largely blamed for the decision, in which New
Line spent $180 million on the development of the film, yet only grossed $70 million in the US
• 'Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle‘
• The Golden Compass
• 'Snakes on a Plane‘
• 'Lord of the Rings‘
• ‘ The Number 23’
• 'Code Name: The Cleaner'
• Rush Hour
• Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
•Alliance Films (1989-2010)
•Warner Bros. (2010–present)
The United Kingdom
•Entertainment Film Distributors (1990–2009)
•Warner Bros. (2009–present)
Australia & New Zealand
•Village Roadshow Pictures (1997-2009)
•Warner Bros. (2010-present)
Lucas film Ltd.
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Rank Movie Title (click to view) Studio Total Gross / Theaters Opening / Theaters
1 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King $377,027,325 3,703 $72,629,713 3,703
2 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers NL $339,789,881 3,622 $62,007,528 3,622
3 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring $313,364,114 3,381 $47,211,490 3,359
4 Rush Hour 2 $226,164,286 3,118 $67,408,222 3,118
5 Austin Powers in Goldmember NL $213,307,889 3,613 $73,071,188 3,613
Top 5 movies by NEW LINE CINEMA