Turner Buys Rights to 800 RKO Movies

From Reuters

Turner Broadcasting System, adding to its large library of classic films, said Wednesday that it acquired exclusive worldwide rights to 800 movies made by RKO Pictures, including “Citizen Kane” and “King Kong.”

The movies have been licensed from an affiliate of the Wesray Capital Corp. investment concern, which purchased RKO Pictures Inc. from the Gencorp conglomerate in September. The rights include basic and pay cable, home video and domestic free television.

Library Rights

The price of the purchase was not disclosed.


RKO, one of Hollywood’s oldest studios, made or acquired the movies between 1929 and 1959. They are part of the legacy of the late billionaire Howard Hughes, who sold the studio to General Tire & Rubber, Gencorp’s predecessor, in 1955.

Turner, which operates the WTBS Superstation and Cable News Network, already owns the rights to the 3,000-title MGM library that it acquired in 1986. Those films include such classics as “Gone With the Wind.”

The deal with Wesray also includes more than 80 television productions, 50 short subjects and more than 150 episodes of Abbott and Costello cartoons. Other RKO movie classics include “Top Hat,” “Little Women” and “The Magnificent Ambersons.”

RKO will retain the rights to sequels and remakes of the films in the library.