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Icon Productions

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Title: Icon Productions  
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Subject: Open Road Films, Five Children and It (film), Braveheart, Hamlet (1990 film), Nowhere Boy
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Icon Productions

Icon Productions LLC.
Industry Film
Founded Los Angeles, California, United States (1989)
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, United States
Key people
Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey, A. Reggie Royale
Products Motion pictures

Icon Productions LLC is an American independent production company founded in August 1989 by actor/director Mel Gibson and Australian producing partner Bruce Davey.[1]


Icon started when Gibson was having trouble in financing the 1990 film Hamlet. According to Davey, "Mel wanted to make Hamlet and the (Hollywood) agent he had who was helping him with it lasted about five minutes. It's pretty hard to get someone to give you money to make Hamlet. I told him that if he wanted to make this happen, someone had to roll up their sleeves and find the (financing) and he asked me if I wanted to have a crack at it and I agreed."[2]

Unlike most other independents, Icon internally funds most of its development and packaging costs, mainly by Gibson, allowing it to retain creative control of projects through production. Felicia's Journey director Atom Egoyan has praised the company’s creative independence and risk-taking: "Mel's dream was to create an alternative to the studio system and make films free of interference. He's been able to use his celebrity status to set up a really viable company. Icon is able to take risks that studios won't broach."[3]

The company also produces films in the UK and Australia through its British subsidiary Icon Entertainment International,[4] and distributes cinema films through its British subsidiary Icon Film Distribution Ltd,[5] and its Australian subsidiary Icon Film Distribution Pty Ltd. Furthermore, it owns a library of over 250 film titles.[6] In 2008, Icon entered the exhibition business for the first time by purchasing Dendy Cinemas, Australia's largest independent film distributor and art house cinema chain.[7] Icon Productions has also launched the label “Con Artists Productions.”

In the UK and Australia, its DVDs are usually distributed by Warner Home Video, though some UK DVDs have been released by MGM Home Entertainment. Icon films are currently distributed in DVD, Blu-ray Disc and HD VMD.

After the financial success of The Passion of the Christ, there was frequent mention of the ability of Icon to function as a mini-studio. However, Bruce Davey has downplayed those expectations, saying, "The last thing we want is to become a studio. We don't want to become that top heavy. We want to be independent and passionate. We don't want to lose the magic."[2]

Gibson has explained that the company’s name was chosen because icon means “image” in Greek, and that the inspiration came from a book on Russian icons in his den. The logo's artwork features a small crop of the mother's left eye from the Theotokos of Vladimir icon, an Eastern Orthodox icon of Mary, mother of Jesus.

The main executives at Icon were Mel Gibson (president), Bruce Davey (chairman of the board of directors), Mark Gooder (CEO), Vicki Christianson (CFO), Simon Crowe (Head of Sales) David Miercourt, and Ariel Veneziano.[8] Producer Stephen McEveety has also worked many years at Icon.

In September 2008, Davey and Gibson sold the Icon international sales and film distribution arms along with the Majestic library to Stewart Till in a multimillion-dollar deal. Neither Icon Productions nor the Dendy cinemas were part of the acquisition deal. Till’s new company will continue to use the Icon name and will have a three-year first-look deal with Icon Productions to handle the international rights to its productions.[9][10] The sale to Stewart Till with backing by Len Blavatnik was completed in November 2009. The transaction does not include the Australian distribution company and cinemas.[11][12]

In late 2012, Icon acquired a majority of the library of Lionsgate.

In 2013, it was announced that Icon UK could get backing from film fund Prescience. Earlier, the unit hired Exclusive Media to represent its library, and Lionsgate UK would distribute future Icon titles as a result of restructuring the company to solely finance and produce films and eliminate distribution.[13] In September 2013, Icon Film Distribution UK and Icon Home Entertainment UK were purchased by investment company New Sparta.[14]




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  4. ^ Contact details for Icon Entertainment International Retrieved 2012-09-09
  5. ^ Icon Film Distribution UK website Retrieved 2012-09-09
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