Indie Timeline


August 1967 -- With $1,000, Bob Shaye founds New Line Cinema in his Greenwich Village apartment. He soon hits his stride showing "Reefer Madness" on college campuses.

July 1970 -- Roger Corman's New World Pictures releases "Angels Die Hard." New World will give directors Jonathan Demme and Ron Howard their first breaks.

May 1974 -- Yale classmates Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz start Troma Studios, which has released 1000 cult films, including "The Toxic Avenger."

June 1979 -- Harvey Weinstein sells his share of a concert promotion business to form Miramax with his brother, Bob. The company begins distributing concert films.

March 1981 -- The American Film Marketing Assn. hosts its first AFM at the Westwood Marquis. Now 180-plus members strong, it hosts 600 screenings each year.

October 1984 -- Hemdale Film hits the big time with James Cameron's "The Terminator," which pulls in more than $78 million worldwide.

January 1985 -- The U.S. Film Festival links itself with the Sundance Institute. Six years later, the event officially becomes the Sundance Film Festival.

June 1985 -- Norman Lear's Embassy Pictures, which produced 1967's "The Graduate" and 1981's "Escape From New York," sells to Coca-Cola, which also owns Columbia Pictures.

August 1987 -- Vestron Video releases the $6 million "Dirty Dancing," which grosses $170 million worldwide. Vestron goes belly-up four years later.

January 1989 -- Steven Soderbergh's "sex, lies and videotape" wins the audience award at Sundance before grossing $24 million for Miramax.

December 1990 -- Producer Lawrence Bender passes Quentin Tarantino's script "Reservoir Dogs" to his acting teacher's ex, who gives it to Harvey Keitel. Keitel helps find financing.

January 1991 -- Tom Bernard, Michael Barker and Marcie Bloom co-found Sony Pictures Classics. They have since released almost 300 films.

March 1992 -- "Silence of the Lambs" wins five Oscars and gives Orion Pictures back-to-back best picture wins (after "Dances With Wolves"). It is later sold to MGM after a long bankruptcy struggle.

May 1993 -- Disney acquires Miramax for an estimated $60 million. The Weinsteins agree to stay on and run the company.

January 1994 -- Kevin Smith's "Clerks," made for an estimated $27,500, wins the Filmmakers Trophy at Sundance.

August 1997 - Fox Searchlight's "The Full Monty" opens, eventually grossing more than $250 million worldwide and scoring a best picture Oscar nom.

November 1998 -- Lionsgate registers Made for $35,000, "The Blair Witch Project" earns more than $140 million domestically. The site remains active today.

March 1999 -- Harvey Weinstein accepts his first best picture Oscar, for "Shakespeare in Love," after dropping a reported $10 million campaigning.

February 2003 -- For the first time, all five best picture Oscar nominees are from nonmajors.

April 2003 -- IFC Films' "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" ends its yearlong run in U.S. theaters with a gross of more than $241 million, the largest indie gross ever, until ...

October 2003 -- Newmarket Films announces it will release
Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," which grosses $371 million domestically ($612 million worldwide).

March 2004 -- New Line's "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" tops $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales, the most successful nonmajor film of all time.

March 2005 -- The Weinsteins announce they are leaving Miramax. In November, "Derailed" unspools under the new Weinstein Co. banner.

January 2008 -- Fox Searchlight's "Juno" passes $100 million domestically -- a first for the specialty house, established in 1994 -- on its way to $229 million worldwide.

February 2008 -- Time Warner announces that New Line Cinema will be rolled into Warner Bros. Pictures. In May, Warner Independent Pictures and Picturehouse are shuttered.