Castle Rock Entertainment is an American film and television production company founded in 1987 by Martin Shafer, director Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman, Glenn Padnick and Alan Horn. It is a subsidiary of Time Warner and a unit of Warner Bros..
Reiner named the company in honor of the Maine town that serves as the setting of several stories by Stephen King (which was named after the fictitious Castle Rock in Lord of the Flies), after the success of his film Stand by Me, which was based on The Body, a novella by King.
Reiner and Scheinman already had a production company. They were friends with Shafer, who worked with Horn at 20th Century Fox at the time. Horn was disappointed at Fox and agreed to join the trio at forming the company. Horn brought along Padnick, who was an executive at Embassy Television. In Castle Rock, Horn became the CEO, Shafer ran the film division, Padnick ran TV, and Reiner & Scheinman became involved in the development of productions.
The company was originally backed by The Coca-Cola Company, the then-parent company of Columbia Pictures. Coke and the company's founders jointly owned a stake in the company. Months after the deal, Coke exited the entertainment business, succeeded by Columbia Pictures Entertainment (now Sony Pictures Entertainment).
In 1989, Castle Rock was supported by another backer, Group W, a subsidiary of Westinghouse. Castle Rock later struck a deal with Nelson Entertainment, the company that owned the domestic home video rights to Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, and The Princess Bride, to co-finance Castle Rock's films.
Under the deal, Nelson also distributed the films on video in North American markets, and handled international theatrical distribution, while Columbia, which Nelson forged a distribution deal with, would receive domestic theatrical distribution rights. Some of Nelson's holdings were later acquired by New Line Cinema, which took over Nelson's duty. Columbia, shortly after the company's formation, thereafter had to re-invest with a substantial change in terms when accumulated losses exhausted its initial funding.
Reiner has stated that Castle Rock's purpose was to allow creative freedom to individuals; a safe haven away from the pressures of studio executives. Castle Rock was to make films of the highest quality, whether they made or lost money.
Castle Rock has also produced several television shows, such as the successful sitcom Seinfeld and the animated sitcom Mission Hill.
On August 1993, Turner Broadcasting System agreed to acquire Castle Rock, along with co-financing partner (and eventual Castle Rock corporate sibling) New Line Cinema. The sale was completed on December 22, 1993. The motivation behind the purchase to allow a stronger company to handle the overhead. Turner Broadcasting eventually merged with Time Warner in 1996. Castle Rock Entertainment then became a division of Warner Bros. MGM owns the rights to the pre-1994 Castle Rock Entertainment films because of the acquisition of the pre-1996 PolyGram library where Nelson Entertainment was in it. Warner Bros., through Castle Rock, owns its post-1994 library and the TV rights to the pre-1994 library with the exception of Seinfeld and Thea.