Hammer Film Productions is a film production company based in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1934, the company is best known for a series of Gothic "Hammer Horror" films made from the mid-1950s until the 1970s. Hammer also produced science fiction, thrillers,film noir and comedies – and in later years, television series. During its most successful years, Hammer dominated the horror filmmarket, enjoying worldwide distribution and considerable financial success. This success was due, in part, to distribution partnerships with major United States studios, such as Warner Bros.
During the late 1960s and 1970s the saturation of the horror film market by competitors and the loss of American funding forced changes to the previously lucrative Hammer-formula, with varying degrees of success. The company eventually ceased production in the mid-1980s and has since then been, in effect, in hibernation. In 2000, the studio was bought by a consortium including advertising executive and art collector Charles Saatchi. The company announced plans to begin making films again after this, but none were produced. In May 2007, the company behind the movies was sold again, this time to a group headed by Big Brother backers, the Dutch consortium Cyrte Investments, who have announced plans to spend some $50m (£25m) on new horror films. The new owners have also acquired the Hammer group's film library.