Image Entertainment, Inc. is an American independent licensee, producer and distributor of entertainment programming and film and television productions in North America, with approximately 3,200 exclusive DVD titles and approximately 340 exclusive CD titles in domestic release, and approximately 450 programs internationally via sublicense agreements. For many of its titles, Image has exclusive audio and broadcast rights as well as digital download rights to approximately 2,100 video programs and over 400 audio programs containing more than 6,000 tracks. The company is headquartered in Chatsworth, California.
Founded in 1981 as a public company, Image began as a distributor of LaserDiscs, whose sound and picture quality surpassed that of VHS and Beta, the dominant tape formats of the time. Image successfully secured exclusive output deals with major studios such as Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox, and the Walt Disney Company and grew to become the dominant distributor of the format.
As the 1990s came to a close and Laserdiscs gave way to DVDs, Image re-focused on the fledgling format that quickly came to dominate the home video marketplace. While studios were busy managing the transition from VHS to DVD, Image began to acquire DVD rights to long-form music concert programs, television programming, foreign films and a broad array of special interest programming, all of which were being ignored by the major studios and music labels.
In 2005, Image signed a distribution deal with Bandai Visual to distribute select anime titles under the Honneamise label. The deal ended in March 2007, when Bandai Visual switched over to Geneon USA.
Image continued to work with its long term partner, Criterion Collection, as well as hundreds of independent content producers and rights holders to bring products to the marketplace. By the 10th anniversary of the DVD, Image has once again established itself as a dominant distributor of independently produced programs. In 2008, Image began to expand its release schedule to include feature films.
On August 31, 2010, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment partnered with Image Entertainment in a multi-year agreement, marketing and distributing some DVDs and Blu-rays by Image. Image retains its own sales and marketing.
In May 2011, Image entered into an in-house film and television production agreement. Its latest theatrical film is 44 Inch Chest. Most recently, the company announced the pick-up of The Tall Man, starring Jessica Biel.
On April 2, 2012, it was announced that RLJ Acquisition, Inc. had entered into an agreement to acquire Image Entertainment as well as Acorn Media and plan to merge the two companies together. The two companies operate under the banner "RLJ Entertainment".