Batjac Productions is an independent film production company co-founded by John Wayne in 1952 as a vehicle for Wayne to produce as well as star in movies. Its first release was Big Jim McLain with Warner Bros. in 1952, and its final film was also with Warner Bros., McQ, in 1974. After the actor's death, his son Michael Wayne managed and owned the company for over 30 years before he died in 2003, at which time his wife Gretchen took over as owner and president.
|Founded||1952 (as Wayne/Fellows Productions)|
1956 (as Batjac Productions)
|Products||Motion pictures, television programs|
About the company
Wayne and producer Robert Fellows founded Batjac in 1952 as Wayne/Fellows Productions. When Fellows left the company several years later, Wayne renamed the corporation after a fictitious trading company mentioned in the film Wake of the Red Witch (1948). The company name in Wake of the Red Witch was spelled Batjak, but Wayne's secretary misspelled it as Batjac on the corporation papers, and Wayne let it stand. Having his own company was intended to give Wayne artistic control over the films he made.
The best known of all Batjac's films is Wayne's version of The Alamo (1960), a project he had planned for several years. It was an account of the battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution of 1836. A labor of love for Wayne, The Alamo cost Wayne much of his personal fortune. Among Batjac's other productions are Hondo, Cahill U.S. Marshal, Big Jake, McLintock!, The Green Berets, Seven Men from Now, and McQ.
The "Lost" Wayne films
Because of a production/distribution deal with Warner Bros. and United Artists, Batjac was allowed to retain all rights to four Wayne films — The High and the Mighty, Hondo, Island in the Sky, distributed by Warner Bros.; and McLintock!, distributed by United Artists. It also held full copyright ownership in several non-Wayne movies, Seven Men from Now, Man in the Vault, Ring of Fear, Plunder of the Sun, Track of the Cat, China Doll, Escort West and Gun the Man Down.
After Wayne's death, his son Michael assumed full ownership and managed the company for over 30 years. He meticulously managed the release pattern of his films and restored Hondo and McLintock! in the early 1990s for release on VHS and television. His passion was to restore the other two films, but water damage to the original elements made it impossible during his lifetime. Taking advantage of the new digital restoration processes, Michael's widow Gretchen restored these films in 2004 and released them through a distribution deal with Paramount Pictures in 2005.
List of Batjac productions
List of John Wayne productions at Republic Pictures
John Wayne served as Producer for Republic Pictures on the following films, prior to the founding of Wayne-Fellows/Batjac Productions in 1952.
|1947||Angel and the Badman||Republic||John Wayne||James Edward Grant||John Wayne & Gail Russell|
|1949||The Fighting Kentuckian||Republic||John Wayne||George Waggner||John Wayne & Vera Ralston|
|1950||The Dangerous Stranger||Short Film||Sid Davis & John Wayne (uncredited)||Sid Davis|
|1951||Santa and the Fairy Snow Queen||Short Film||John Wayne (uncredited)||Sid Davis||Rochelle Stanton, Edmund Penney, Margo Von Leu|
|1951||Bullfighter and the Lady||Republic||John Wayne||Budd Boetticher||Robert Stack & Joy Page||Best Story (Budd Boetticher & Ray Nazarro)|