Bryanston Distributing Company was an American film distribution company that was very active during the early 1970s and was left dormant for almost thirty years. It is not to be confused with the British Bryanston Films or Bryanston Pictures, the production arm which was liquidated when former producer Anthony "Big Tony" Peraino was prosecuted by the federal government on an obscenity charge stemming from the production and distribution of the film Deep Throat (recognized as possibly the most financially successful independent film of all time).
Bryanston was, and still is, in the business of acquisition, finance and distribution of independently produced films and music of every type, nature and gauge through established agents, but the company will not look at unsolicited submissions.
The company's first title was Return of the Dragon, which starred Bruce Lee and was released in 1974 in the U.S with scenes removed. It also released Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, an X-rated, 3D film that was later re-released under its European title, Flesh for Frankenstein.
Among the company's more notable releases were the 1974 horror film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,Coonskin and The Devil's Rain (both 1975). Bryanston also released John Carpenter's first film, Dark Star (1974).
Warren Skaaren, then head of the Texas Film Commission, helped secure the distribution deal with Bryanston, for the rights to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. David Foster, producer of the 1982 horror film The Thing, arranged for a private screening for some of Bryanston's West Coast executives, and received 1.5% of Vortex's profits and a deferred fee of $500 (about $2,600 inflation-adjusted).
On August 28, 1974, Louis Peraino of Bryanston agreed to distribute the film worldwide, from which Bozman and Skaaren would receive $225,000 (about $1,200,000 inflation-adjusted) and 35% of the profits. Years later Bozman stated, "We made a deal with the devil, [sigh], and I guess that, in a way, we got what we deserved." They signed the contract with Bryanston and, after the investors recouped their money (with interest),--and after Skaaren, the lawyers, and the accountants were paid--only $8,100 (about $42,000 inflation-adjusted) was left to be divided among the 20 cast and crew members. Eventually the producers sued Bryanston for failing to pay them their full percentage of the box office profits. A court judgment instructed Bryanston to pay the filmmakers $500,000 (about $2,600,000 inflation-adjusted), but by then the company had declared bankruptcy. the rights to texas chainsaw film reverted back to the original owners.
During 2005 the company was resurrected and acquired rights to several large movie libraries.
Bryanston is currently a privately held company.
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