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Golan and Globus

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2003-11-30

Menahem Golan

Menahem Golan

If you were a cinemagoer in the 70s and 80s, chances are you would have come across the Israeli filmmaking duo Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, founders of Cannon Films, at some point.

 

For not only did the pair, who are actually cousins, notch up nearly 200 movies between them, working with the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Katherine Hepburn, Charles Bronson and Dolph Lundgren along the way, but they also owned many of the UK’s high street cinemas, which sprang up all over the country after they bought the ABC cinema chain in 1986.

 

Menahem Golan was born Menahem Globus in 1929 in Tiberias, Israel, to Polish parents, and spent some time in the Israeli air force (changing his name to Golan in 1948 for ‘patriotic’ reasons) before the arts world came calling. Initially he worked as a theatre director before going into business with Yoram Globus (his younger cousin, born in Tiberias in 1941); their first film, El Dorado, was produced in 1963.

 

Throughout the 60s and 70s the pair worked mainly in Israel, their best-known work including the 1978 teen comedy Lemon Popsicle (aka Eskimo Limon), which was so successful that it spawned several sequels. But it was in 1979 that their careers began to take off internationally, after they bought an ailing production company, The Cannon Group – which under their guidance became huge.

 

The company became synonymous with action thrillers, including Death Wish 2, 3, and 4 (starring Charles Bronson), the Delta Force series (featuring Chuck Norris) and the American Ninja series (a vehicle for action star Michael Dudikoff). They also teamed up with Sylvester Stallone on the thriller Cobra and the family film Over The Top (for which they paid him $13m, a record fee when the movie was made in 1987). Other productions included Breakdance: The Movie, its memorably titled sequel Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo, Superman IV, and Masters Of The Universe. They also worked with the likes of Katherine Hepburn on the 1984 black comedy Grace Quigley, and Mickey Rourke in 1987’s Barfly.

 

Cannon filed for bankruptcy in 1989, but Golan and Globus are still going strong – the pair fell out after the company went bust, but Golan continued to make movies through a number of different production companies, including The 21st Century Film Corporation and Global Pictures.

 

In 1997 the two began working together again under the banner of First Miracle Pictures. “After nine years apart we agreed both together we're stronger, wiser and we can serve the industry better," Golan said of their reunion. But the pair left to form a subsidiary company called Magic Entertainment and released a string of flop movies, which ultimately led to Golan being fired from the company and having charges of fraud and breach of contract levied against him by First Miracle.

 

These days, Golan is in charge of New Cannon Inc, where he is attempting to recreate Cannon’s 1980s success, while Globus is back in Israel, where he continues to produce movies and also owns a chain of cinemas. His recent projects have included the eighth film in the Lemon Popsicle series, Lemon Popsicle: The Party Goes On.

 

Golan’s projects, meanwhile, include an updated version of Dostoyevsky’s Crime And Punishment and an Death Wish-esque action thriller, Death Game. His new production partner is an Israeli filmmaker, Evgeny Afineevsky.  “We are doing a remodeling and reconstruction of the old Cannon stuff,” Afineevsky says, “with new beautiful stories of our time. Menahem wants to use the same concepts of low-budget movies with great stories and slowly rebuild Cannon to make it New Cannon.".

 

Related links:

 

New Cannon Inc