Artisan Entertainment was founded in 1981 by Noel C. Bloom as Family Home Entertainment, Inc.. In 1983, FHE began operating its new subsidiary U.S.A. Home Video, when tapes were usually packaged in large boxes and included non-family films such as Supergirl, Silent Night, Deadly Night, and many B-movies, including those that begin and end with B-actress Sybil Danning talking about the film that is being shown under the Adventure Video label.
In 1985, FHE and U.S.A. were consolidated into International Video Entertainment, Inc.. The IVE name was used for non-family releases and FHE name was used for family releases In the late 1980s, the company branched into film distribution for television.
In 1987, IVE was acquired by Carolco Pictures. The unrated release of Angel Heart was the first Carolco film released by IVE on video. The first two Carolco films (First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part II) were released under the Thorn/EMI/HBO Video name, but were rereleased in 1990 and 1988, respectively, under IVE. The studio hired Jose Menendez as head of IVE; he was responsible for creating product deals with Sylvester Stallone's White Eagle Enterprises and producer Edward Pressman. In 1989, Menendez and his wife were murdered by their two sons.
In 1988, IVE and FHE consolidated into Live Entertainment after a merger with Lieberman. Live formed new ventures outside the home video business, including an ownership of retail music and video chains across the East Coast, after the acquisitions of such stores as Strawberries and Waxie Maxie.
Note: Although IVE and FHE consolidated into Live Entertainment in 1988, they continued to use the IVE logo until 1990.