Gramercy Pictures was a film distributor launched in May 1992, a joint venture of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Universal Pictures. Gramercy, a so-called "mini-major," was the distributor of PolyGram movies in the United States and Canada. In January 1996, PolyGram brought the 50% stake owned by Universal, thus assuming full control of Gramercy. When Seagram acquired PolyGram in 1999, it reacquired Gramercy as it controlled Universal. In turn, Seagram sold Gramercy and another specialty division, October Films, to Barry Diller's USA Networks, and merged both companies into USA Films. USA Films then transformed into Focus Features in 2002.
Gramercy Pictures released its first film, the Mario Van Peebles western Posse, in May 1993. The distributor also had box office hits in 1994's Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1996's Fargo and 1997's Bean. Several Gramercy releases of the 1990s have grown in stature to become cult classics in the present day: The Big Lebowski, Dazed and Confused, Clay Pigeons and Mallrats. In addition, 1996's The Usual Suspects won two Oscars, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor.