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      camera crane at Columbia Pictures Studios, circa 1965 (still from 'I Dream of Jeannie' episode)          Major Studios {this page}:
  • Comcast • Universal • N.B.C. • Focus
  • Viacom • Paramount • DreamWorks
  • News Corp. • Fox
  • Sony Pictures
        Columbia • Screen Gems • TriStar
  • M.G.M. • United Artists
  • Disney • A.B.C. • Buena Vista •
        Pixar • Touchstone
  • Warner Bros.
        Castle Rock • New Line • Turner
  • general books
    links

    There were (in the Old Days) traditionally seven Major Studios in Hollywood:
    Columbia (now Sony), Disney, Fox (now News Corp.), M.G.M.,
    Paramount (now Viacom), Universal (now Comcast), and Warner Bros.

    on page two: Modern Mini-Major Studios
    Amazon Studios • Amblin • C.B.S. • E.M.G. • Europa • Halcyon
    Imagine • Liberty Media • LionsGate • Relativity • Weinstein

    historic studios • foreign studios


    Domestic (U.S. & Canada) Box Office Receipts for 2006
    Sony Pictures ranked #1 at $1.7 billion; Disney (Buena Vista) ranked second at $1.5 billion; Fox ranked third at $1.4 billion; Warner Bros. ranked fourth at $1.06 billion, Paramount fifth at $961 million, Universal sixth at $798 million, LionsGate seventh at $331 million, New Line Cinema eighth at $251 million, Weinstein Co. ninth at $223 million, and Focus Features (Universal) tenth at $180 million.
    {These ten studios took in a combined 92% of the market.}

    The numbers in subsequent years are not much different.



    L i n k s
    Hollywood film studios category at Wikipedia
    online Hollywood Studio Tour (with photographs)
    info about Hollywood studio properties at Kipp's RetroWeb [est. 1996]



    General Books

    Hollywood Studio System  "The Hollywood Studio System: A History" [1986]
    by Douglas Gomery

    British Film Institute pb [9/2005] for $19.29
    British Film Institute hardcover [9/2005] for $80.00
    L'Age d'Or des Studios French-language book by Douglas Gomery  "Hollywood: L'Age d'Or des Studios" [1987]
    by Douglas Gomery

    Cahiers du Cinema French-language pb [5/87] out of print/used via Amazon.FR
    the entry at Amazon.com is mis-coded (12/2010 & 3/2012)
    Hollywood Studios / Mordden  "The Hollywood Studios: House Style In The Golden Age of The Movies" [1988]
    by Ethan Mordden

    Fireside trade pb [11/89] out of print/used
    Knopf hardcover [5/88] for $24.95
    American Film Studios Historical Encyclopedia book by Gene Fernett  "American Film Studios: An Historical Encyclopedia" [1988]
    by Gene Fernett

    McFarland & Co. 9x6 pb [12/2001] for $37.81
    McFarland & Co. 9½x6 hardcover [1988] out of print/many used
    Genius of The System  "The Genius of The System: Hollywood Filmmaking In The Studio Era" [1989]
    by Thomas Schatz

    Univ Minnesota Press 8½x5½ pb [3/2010] for $19.05
    Owl Books 9¼x6¼ pb [4/96] for $23.75
    Pantheon 9¾x6½ hardcover [2/89] out of print/60+ used
    Postcard History Series Hollywood Studios book by Tommy Dangcil  "Hollywood Studios (Postcard History Series)" [2007]
    by Tommy Dangcil

    Arcadia Publng 9x6¼ pb [4/2007] for $15.99
    America's Corporate Art / Studio Authorship of Hollywood Motion Pictures book by Jerome Christensen  "America's Corporate Art: The Studio Authorship of Hollywood Motion Pictures,
    1929-2001" [2011] by Jerome Christensen

    Not everyone agrees that studio ownership of film rights is a good thing; author examines how the legal
    situation arrived where it is today, using Warner Bros. and M.G.M. as examples, and also analyzing the
    recent Disney-Pixar merger.

    Stanford Univ Press 10x7 pb [11/2011] for $29.95
    Stanford Univ Press 10x7¼ hardcover [11/2011] for $90.00

    Major  Motion  Picture  Studios

    Comcast & Universal & N.B.C.  —  Viacom & Paramount & DreamWorks
    News Corp. + 20th Century-Fox  —  Sony Pictures & Columbia
    M.G.M. & United Artists  —  Disney + A.B.C. + Pixar  —  Warner Bros.


    parent company Comcast Corporation [est. 1963]
    Cable giant Comcast made an agreement to purchase a 53% majority stake in NBC-Universal for $13.75 billion,
    once Vivendi sold all its shares to General Electric. As-of January 2011, Comcast owned 51% of NBC-Universal
    (with G.E. owning the rest). In February 2013, Comcast signed a deal to pay G.E. $16.7B for full ownership, which
    was largely regarded as an expression of Comcast's faith in broadcast television.

    Comcast Corp. logos - new peacock version from 2012
    corporate website • official (customer) website
    Comcast entry at Wikipedia


    Universal  Pictures  Co.
    Founded in 1909 as the Yankee Film Company by clothing store owner Carl Laemmle, renamed Independent Moving Picture Co., and in 1912 merged with 8 other companies to form Universal Film Manufacturing Co.; opened 230-acre studios in California in 1915; son Carl Laemmle, Jr. took the helm in 1928, and modernized the company (converting to sound & adding movie theaters) and began producing monster-horror films (a signature genre); after several box-office failures, bankers seized control in 1936 and kicked the Laemmles out; the studio stayed afloat by making series movies starring Deanna Durbin, Abbott & Costello, and sequels to the horror classics; British entrepreneur J. Arthur Rank purchased a quarter interest in 1945; a merger in 1946 with William Goetz's International Pictures led to a name change to Universal-International Pictures; Rank sold his shares to investor Milton Rackmil (Decca Records) who took control in 1952; in 1950, M.C.A. talent agent Lew Wasserman made a deal with Universal for his client James Stewart to receive a portion of the profits of three films for reduced up-front salary, which changed the rules of the movie business; Universal sold the (now) 360-acre studio lot to M.C.A. in 1958; Wasserman took full control in 1962 and changed the name back to Universal Pictures, with an emphasis on TV production; the studio tour operation, begun in 1915, was expanded and theme park facilities built in Florida & Japan; Wasserman sold the company to Matsushita Electric in 1990, staying as chairman until Seagram took control in 1995; liquor distributor Seagram's Edgar Bronfman, Jr. bought several smaller movie companies and then sold out to water & media company Vivendi of France in 2000, and the name was changed to Vivendi Universal; in 2004, Vivendi sold 80% of Universal to General Electric, owner of N.B.C., thus the rename to N.B.C. Universal. In 2009, Comcast made an offer for a majority stake in NBC-Universal, predicated on Vivendi seeling off its 20% stake, and other financial moves; that deal closed in January 2011, with Comcast owning 51% and G.E. owning 49%. In February 2013, Comcast signed a deal to pay G.E. $16.7B for full ownership.

    Magic Lantern's Universal Studios Page

    color logo for Universal Pictures
    Universal Studios official website
    Universal Studios entry at Wikipedia


    Universal 100th Anniversary Collection box sets on DVD & Blu-ray  
    "Universal 100th Anniversary Collection" DVD Box Set [2012]
    Universal Studios Blu-ray set [11/2012] 25 disks for $246.83
    Universal Studios DVD set [11/2012] 25 disks for $211.83
    each box set contains 25 feature films: "All Quiet On The Western Front" [1930]; George Lucas's "American Graffiti" [1973]; "Apollo 13" [1995] starring Tom Hanks; "Back To The Future" [1985]; Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" [1963]; "The Bourne Identity" [2002]; "The Breakfast Club" [1985]; "Buck Privates" [1941] starring Abbott & Costello; "Despicable Me" [2010]; Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" [1989]; "Dracula" [1931] starring Bela Lugosi; Steven Spielberg's "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" [1982]; "The Fast and The Furious" [2001]; "Field of Dreams" [1989] starring Kevin Costner; Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" [1975]; Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" [1993]; "Mamma Mia! The Movie" [2008]; "National Lampoon's Animal House" [1978]; "Out of Africa"
    [1985]; "Pillow Talk" [1959] starring Rock Hudson & Doris Day; Brian De Palma's "Scarface" [1983]; Stanley Kubrick's "Spartacus" [1960]; "The Sting" [1973] starring Paul Newman & Robert Redford; and "To Kill A Mockingbird" [1962] starring Gregory Peck — on the DVD version only: Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List"
    [1993] and on the Blu-ray version only: "Dracula Spanish" [1931] — plus a 72-page booklet


    N.B.C.  Universal  Television  Group
    When M.C.A. took control of Universal in 1962, they merged their Revue Studios [1943-63] into Universal's TV division; the M.C.A. TV division [1951-2004] was folded into Universal TV in the 1990s; N.B.C.'s operations were merged into Universal's when General Electric bought Universal in 2004, creating a broadly-integrated production, distibution & broadcast division.
    peacock symbol of National Broadcasting Company TV network {replaced January 2011}        new logo for NBC-Universal Television, effective January 2011
    N.B.C. Universal Television Group entry at Wikipedia
    National Broadcasting Company (N.B.C.) entry at Wikipedia


    Focus  Features  specialty division in New York City
    U.S.A. Films was created in 1999 by mogul Barry Diller by combining October Films, Gramercy Pictures & U.S.A. Home Entertainment; Focus was formed in 2002 when Universal merged U.S.A. Films, Universal Focus & Good Machine.

    Focus Features div. of Universal Pictures
    Focus Features official website
    'Film In Focus' website for movie-lovers
    Focus Features entry at Wikipedia


    parent company Viacom
    Founded in 1971 by renaming C.B.S. Films; bought MTV and Nickelodeon and re-incorporated in 1985; acquired by National Amusements (Sumner Redstone) in 1986; purchased Paramount Communications in 1993 and the Blockbuster Video stores in 1994; merged with former parent C.B.S. Corp. in 2000; the company split on 31 December 2005, with C.B.S. Corp. having the less-profitable TV & publishing operations and 'New' Viacom having Paramount, MTV & BET.

    Viacom, Inc. logo
    official website
    Viacom entry at Wikipedia


    Paramount  Pictures
    Founded in 1912 as Famous Players Film Co. by Adolph Zukor; W.W. Hodkinson [1881-1981] merged 11 film rental bureaus and founded Paramount Pictures in Utah in May 1914; Zukor merged with Jesse L. Lasky & Paramount in 1916, as Famous Players-Lasky; moved to Hollywood, California in 1927; purchased 50% interest in fledgeling Columbia Broadcasting System in 1928; went bankrupt in 1932, Zukor was replaced, emerged as Paramount Pictures, Inc. in 1935; purchased by Charles Bluhdorn's Gulf + Western Industries conglomerate in 1966; bought Desilu in 1967; on Bluhdorn's death in 1983, sold off non-entertainment companies; headed by Sherry Lansing from 1992-2004; purchased by Viacom in 1993; launched The UPN Network in 1995 (which was replaced with The CW Network in 2006); purchased DreamWorks SKG in 2006.

    Paramount Pictures early logo
    Paramount Pictures website {requires Flash}
    Paramount Pictures entry at Wikipedia
    Paramount Movie Ranch [est. 1927] in Agoura, CA

    Paramount Pictures / Corporate Hollywood  "Engulfed: The Death of Paramount Pictures & The Birth of
    Corporate Hollywood" [1980]
    by Bernard F. Dick

    Univ Press of KY 9¼x6¼ hardcover [7/2001] for $35.00
    The Paramount Story / Studio & Films  "The Paramount Story: The Complete History of The Studio
    & The Films" [1985]
    by John Douglas Eames, with Robert Abele

    S&S hardcover [11/2004] out of print/used
    Random House 13x11 hardcover [5/87] out of print/used
    Paramount Pictures 90th Anniversary Memorable Scores music CD set   "Paramount Pictures 90th Anniversary: Memorable Scores" [2002]
    Sony soundtrack CD [7/2002] 43 tracks on 2 disks for $24.98

    more, similar music recordings on Magic Lantern's Film Music Page

    "My Seventy Years at Paramount Studios and The Directors Guild of America" [2/96]
    by Joseph C. Youngerman, Interviewed by Ira Skutch & David Shepard /1882766024/

    Paramount Pictures' Millennium Gift Set on VHS  "Paramount Pictures' Millennium Gift Set" on VHS [1998]
    Paramount VHS set [10/98] 10 tapes - out of prodn/scarce
    contains 10 widescreen feature films: "The Ten Commandments" [1956] starring Charlton Heston; widescreen {first on VHS} "Breakfast At Tiffany's" [1961] starring Audrey Hepburn; Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" [1972]; "Grease" [1978 musical] with John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John; Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" [1979]; "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" [1986]; Tony Scott's "Top Gun" [1986] starring Tom Cruise; "Ghost" [1990] with Demi Moore & Patrick Swayze; "Forrest Gump" [1994] starring Tom Hanks; and Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" [1995]

    Paramount Best Picture Oscars Collection DVD box set   "Best Picture Academy Award Winners Collection" on DVD
    from Paramount & DreamWorks [2007]

    Paramount color DVD box set [2/2007] 8 disks for $61.49
    the 7 films are: "American Beauty" [1999], "Braveheart" [1995], 2-disk "Forrest Gump" [1994],
    "Gladiator" [2000], "The Godfather" [1972] from Francis Ford Coppola, "Terms of Endearment"
    [1983], and "Titanic" [1997]
    Infamous Players, Movies, The Mob & Sex book by Peter Bart  "Infamous Players: A Tale of Movies, The Mob, (and Sex)" [2011]
    by Peter Bart

    Weinstein Books hardcover [DUE May 2011] for $16.50


    DreamWorks  SKG
    Founded in 1994 by moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg & David Geffen {the 'SKG'}; DreamWorks Animation merged with Pacific Data Images & split off in 2004; the remainder sold to Paramount in February 2006.

    Dreamworks S.K.G. moon logo      Dreamworks S.K.G. moon silhouette logo
    Dreamworks SKG official website
    Dreamworks SKG entry at Wikipedia
    Jawad's Dreamworks fansite

    Magic Lantern's DreamWorks SKG Page


    M.T.V.  Networks
    M.T.V.
    Spike TV
    Nickelodeon


    B.E.T.  {Black Entertainment Television}


    parent company News  Corp.
    Australian Rupert Murdoch re-incorporated his holdings as News Corp. in 1980; bought half of Fox in 1981, the other half in 1984; Murdoch became a U.S. citizen to allow purchase of Metromedia's television stations, which were renamed Fox Broadcasting in 1986; launched the 24-hour Fox News Channel in 1996; purchased 34% of Hughes Electronics (DirecTV) in 2003; purchased 64% of the Wall Street Journal & Dow-Jones companies for $5.6 billion in August 2007. In February 2008, News Corp. traded its controlling interest in DirecTV for News Corp. shares owned by Liberty Media (John Malone & family.)


    News Corp. entry at Wikipedia

    "The problem with Fox [News] is not that it's conservative. It's that it lies." — Eric Alterman

    Robert Greenwald's "Fox Attacks" website [est. Feb 2007]
    Robert Greenwald's "Fox News Porn" website


    Twentieth Century-Fox  Film  Corp.
    Founded in 1915 by William Fox; merged with Darryl F. Zanuck's Twentieth Century Pictures in 1935; built 300-acre Fox lot in 1926; began Fox Movietone News (with sound) in 1927 (which ended in 1963); mogul Zanuck resigned in 1956; the over-budget "Cleopatra" and other financial troubles were temporarily solved by selling the backlot (now the site of Century City) for cash to Alcoa in 1961; Zanuck convinced the board to re-install him as chairman in 1962, with his son Richard as president; by 1978, the studio was owned by Marc Rich and oilman Marvin Davis; Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. purchased Rich's half in 1981 and Davis's half in 1984.

    Magic Lantern's 20th Century-Fox Studios Page

    Twentieth Century Fox Films opening logo
    official website {requires Flash}
    Twentieth Century Fox entry at Wikipedia

    20th Century Fox First 50 Years  "20th Century Fox: The First 50 Years" documentary TV special [1997]
    Co-written, co-produced & directed by Kevin Burns
    Image Ent. 129-min. b&w/color DVD [8/2000] for $13.99
    full credits at IMDb
    "20th Century Fox: The Blockbuster Years" documentary TV special [2000]
    Co-written, co-produced & directed by Kevin Burns
    Image Ent. 113-min. b&w/color DVD [9/2002] for $13.99
    full credits at IMDb



    Sony  Pictures  Entertainment
    Sony was founded in Japan in 1946, and renamed in 1958; purchased Columbia Pictures (which included Screen Gems & TriStar) from Coca-Cola in 1989; purchased the historic Triangle/M.G.M. studio lot in Culver City, California from Warner/Lorimar in 1990; renamed Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1991; has 20% stake in the partnership that purchased M.G.M./U.A. in 2005.

    Sony Pictures logo
    Sony Pictures official website
    Sony Pictures entry at Wikipedia
    map of the Sony Pictures lot, circa 1988 (when owned by Lorimar) in new window

    Sony's VideOn Network [est. 2010]


    Sony  Pictures  Classics
    An autonomous company founded in January 1992 to make, acquire and distribute independent {i.e. 'art house'} films worldwide.
    Sony Pictures Classics official website
    Sony Pictures Classics entry at Wikipedia


    Sony  Pictures  Television
    Successor company to Columbia's Screen Gems and the later Columbia Pictures TV & Columbia-TriStar TV, renamed in 2002.
    Sony Pictures Television entry at Wikipedia

    Sony Movie Channel [est. 10/2010] is wholly-owned • entry at Wikipedia


    Sony  Pictures  Digital  Productions
    Division of Sony Pictures Entertainment; founded as Columbia TriStar Interactive; renamed Sony Pictures Interactive Network (or SPiN); renamed Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment (or SPDE); lastly renamed Sony Pictures Digital Productions; based in Culver City, CA. Subdivisions include Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Mobile & Sony Pictures Digital Networks.
    Sony Pictures Digital entry at Wikipedia

    Sony Digital's "Face of The Fan" website for actors [est 11/2010]

    Sony  Pictures  Imageworks
    Founded in 1993 as a division of Sony Pictures Digital; announced opening a facility at Albuquerque Studios in New Mexico in 2007, but that changed to offices in Downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico which opened in 2009.
    Sony Pictures Imageworks official website
    Sony Pictures Imageworks entry at Wikipedia


    Sony  Pictures  Studios
    Created in 1990 for the purpose of managing the physical studio operations when Sony purchased the old M.G.M Lot 1 property from Warner/Lorimar.
    Sony Pictures Studios official website
    Sony Pictures Studios entry at Wikipedia


    Columbia  Pictures
    Founded in 1919 as C.B.C. Film Sales Corp.; renamed Columbia Pictures Corp. in 1924; though most film product was low-budget and-or low quality, an alliance with producer-director Frank Capra [1897-1991] brought increasing success, including several Academy Awards; contract stars included The Three Stooges [1934-57] and Rita Hayworth; after founder-mogul Harry Cohn died in 1958, the studio fell on hard times, and the Gower Street studios and other assets were sold off; production & distribution continued via joint venture agreements with Warner Bros.; Coca-Cola bought Columbia in 1982, adding Embassy-Tandem and other companies; also in 1982, Coca-Cola and H.B.O. and C.B.S. formed a company that was soon renamed TriStar; following the "Ishtar" disaster, nervous Coca-Cola spun off Columbia Pictures Entertainment (which included a buyout of its partners in TriStar); Sony purchased Columbia in 1989; the attempt to make a splash by hiring producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters failed miserably, costing them hundreds of millions of dollars; but deep-pockets Sony Corp. basically started over, restored & improved the MGM studio lot acquired from Warner-Lorimar, and renamed the overall company Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1991; Columbia is today very successful: recent films include the "Spiderman" franchise.

    Columbia Pictures Industries logo
    the domain www.ColumbiaPictures.com is owned by Sony but is not in use
    Columbia Pictures entry at Wikipedia
    history of Columbia's Sunset Gower studio property {now Capital Studios}

    Columbia Comedy Shorts book by Ted Okuda & Edward Watz  "The Columbia Comedy Shorts: Two-Reel Hollywood Film Comedies, 1933-1958" [1986]
    by Ted Okuda & Edward Watz

    McFarland & Co. 9x6 pb [10/98] for $35.00
    McFarland & Co. 9½x6½ hardcover [9/86] for $45.00
    The Columbia Story book by Clive Hirschhorn  "The Columbia Story" [1989]
    by Clive Hirschhorn

    Hamlyn hardcover [12/2001] out of print/used
    Crown hardcover [11/89] out of print/used
    Columbia Pictures Checklist book by Len D. Martin  "The Columbia Checklist: The Feature Films, Serials, Cartoons & Short Subjects of Columbia Pictures Corporation, 1922-1988" [1991]
    by Len D. Martin

    McFarland & Co. 9x6 pb [7/2007] for $49.95
    McFarland & Co. 9½x6½ hardcover [7/91] out of print/used
    Columbia Pictures Portrait  "Columbia Pictures: Portrait of A Studio" [1991]
    by Bernard F. Dick

    Univ Press of KY 9½x6½ hardcover [10/91] for $24.95

    "The Merchant Prince of Poverty Row: Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures" [1993]
    by Bernard F. Dick 0813118417
    http://www.kentuckypress.com/live/title_detail.php?titleid=1043

    Columbia Best Picture Collection DVD box set   "Columbia Pictures: The Best Picture Collection - 11 Movies, 64 Academay Awards" [2008]
    11 feature films on 14 disks: "It Happened One Night" [1934] directed by Frank Capra, starring Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert; "You Can't Take It with You" [1938] directed by Frank Capra, starring James Stewart & Jean Arthur; "All the King's Men" [1949] directed by Robert Rossen, starring Broderick Crawford; "From Here To Eternity" [1953] directed by Fred Zinnemann; "On The Waterfront" [1954] directed by Elia Kazan, script by Budd Schulberg, starring Marlon Brando; 2-disk "The Bridge On The River Kwai" [1957] directed by David Lean; 2-disk "Lawrence of Arabia" [1962] directed by David Lean, starring Peter O'Toole; "A Man For All Seasons"
    [1966] directed by Fred Zinnemann, starring Paul Scofield, Robert Shaw & Orson Welles; "Oliver!" musical [1968]; "Kramer vs. Kramer" [1979] starring Dustin Hoffman & Meryl Streep; and 2-disk "Gandhi" [1982] directed by Richard Attenborough, starring Ben Kingsley; extras include radio shows, trailers, commentary, "Making of ..." featurettes

    Sony widescreen color DVD set [11/2008] 14 disks for $65.99


    Screen  Gems
    Founded in 1940 when Columbia Pictures took over an animation studio, which shut down in 1946; the division was revived in 1948 to produce television shows and to distribute them along with Columbia's feature film library to TV stations; the name was changed to Columbia Pictures Television in 1974; combined with Embassy Communications & TriStar Television before Columbia was purchased by Sony in 1989; became Columbia TriStar Television in 1994, which became Sony Pictures Television in 2002; the Screen Gems name was salvaged in 1999 for a new specialty division, to produce smaller-budget genre films.

    modern logo for Screen Gems division of Sony Pictures
    the domain www.ScreenGems.com redirects to the main Sony Pictures website
    Screen Gems entry at Wikipedia


    TriStar  Pictures
    Founded in 1982 as a joint-venture movie production company by Coca-Cola (then-owner of Columbia Pictures) and H.B.O. and C.B.S.; soon renamed TriStar Pictures; following the "Ishtar" disaster, nervous Coca-Cola spun off Columbia Pictures Entertainment, which included a buyout of its partners in TriStar; Sony purchased Columbia along with the TriStar division in 1989.

    TriStar Pictures winged horse logo
    there is no separate, official TriStar Pictures website
    TriStar Pictures entry at Wikipedia



    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer  Pictures
    Founded in 1924 by theater tycoon Marcus Loew by merging Metro Pictures [est. 1916], Goldwyn Pictures [est. 1917], and Mayer Pictures [est. 1918], with Louis B. Mayer as studio head; included in the merger were Goldwyn's studio properties in Culver City, California and Goldwyn's lion mascot; M.G.M. was the top studio for a quarter century, with Harry Rapf, 'boy wonder' Irving Thalberg, Mayer, David O. Selznick & Dore Schary as heads of production; as a result of the infamous 'consent decree', Loew's Corp. gave up control of M.G.M. in 1954; Seagram's bought M.G.M. in 1967, then sold it to multi-millionaire Kirk Kerkorian in 1969; the studio land (except for the main lot) was sold to developers and the props auctioned off with great fanfare; purchased failing United Artists in 1981; in a roundelay of high finance in 1985, TV mogul Ted Turner bought M.G.M./U.A., sold the studio lot to Lorimar TV [1968-93], kept the film library, and sold the rest back to Kerkorian - the amazing thing is that each party made money on the deals!; Italian promoter Giancarlo Parretti took over M.G.M./U.A. in a leveraged buyout in 1990, which soon collapsed in criminal lawsuits; Kerkorian bought the studio back in 1991; Sony & Comcast and a group of venture capitalists bought the studio in April 2005 (Providence Equity Partners owns 29%, Texas Pacific Group Capital owns 21%, Sony owns 20%, Comcast owns 20%, D.L.J. Merchant Banking Partners owns 7% & Quadrangle Group owns 3%); the company no longer has studio facilities, and corporate headquarters are now in a Century City, California office tower (ironically, the former backlot of rival Fox).
              By 2009, M.G.M was deeply in debt (almost $4 billion) and the owners put it up for auction; the top bid from Time Warner of $1.5 billion was rejected. In late 2010, M.G.M. hired Spyglass Entertainment execs Gary Barber & Roger Birnbaum as co-chairs & co-CEOs, while exploring other takeover offers..

    Magic Lantern's Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Page

    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer official website
    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer entry at Wikipedia

    von Stroheim's "Greed" [M.G.M. 1924] Movie Page
    M.G.M.'s 'The Thin Man' Movies Series [1934-47] Page
    "Gone With The Wind" [M.G.M. 1939] Movie Page
    "The Wizard of Oz" [M.G.M. 1939] Movie Page
    Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" [M.G.M. 1968] Movie Page

    M.G.M. Story / Complete History  "The M.G.M. Story: The Complete History of 57
    Roaring Years - All 1,738 Films of M.G.M., Described
    and Illustrated In Color and Black & White" [1977]
    by John Douglas Eames

    Crown pb [12/88] out of print/used
    Hamlyn pb [11/93] out of print/used
    Random House hardcover [8/85] out of print/many used
    M.G.M. Hollywood's Greatest Backlot book   "M.G.M.: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot" [2011]
    by Steven Bingen, Stephen X. Sylvester & Michael Troyan,
    Foreword by Debbie Reynolds

    Santa Monica Press 11¼x8½ hardcover [2/2011] for $23.07
    official book page


    United  Artists  Pictures
    Founded in 1919 by screen stars Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin & Douglas Fairbanks, director D.W. Griffith [1875-1948] and lawyer William Gibbs McAdoo; the early years were a struggle, from the advent of sound and constant rotation of 'producing partners' and The Great Depression; by 1951, U.A. was barely active, so an offer by New York producers Arthur Krim & Robert Benjamin was accepted; their timing was apt, because the studios had stopped renewing talent contracts; deals were signed with Sam Spiegel, John Huston, Stanley Kramer, Otto Preminger & Hecht-Hill-Lancaster; the studio was making good money by 1955, when Pickford sold out at top dollar; U.A. went public in 1956; successes like the James Bond series, the Pink Panther series, and 'spaghetti' Westerns added value, and Krim & Benjamin sold to insurance company Transamerica in 1967; new deals were made with Woody Allen, Robert Altman [1925-2006], Sylvester Stallone, Saul Zaentz, Miloš Forman & Brian De Palma; Transamerica was nervous with Hollywood economics, and fought the execs, who walked out in 1978 and formed Orion Pictures {see below}; the new management let "Heaven's Gate" set budget-overage records,and then bombed at the box office; Kerkorian's M.G.M. made an offer; producer Harry Saltzman sold U.A. his half-interest in Danjaq LLC (owner of the James Bond film franchise) in 1975; M.G.M. absorbed U.A. from 1981-85, moving everything to Culver City; U.A. was inactive while M.G.M. suffered the turmoil of the Turner sale & buyback and the Paretti fiasco, with ownership of M.G.M./U.A. back to Kerkorian in 1997; a consortum purchased M.G.M./- U.A. in April 2005; when actor Tom Cruise & producer Paula Wagner's 14-year deal with Paramount expired, they offered to revive U.A., and their management deal began in November 2006 (with a tiny ownership stake).

    Magic Lantern's M.G.M. Studios Page / United Artists Pictures Section

    United Artists silver logo
    United Artists official website
    United Artists entry at Wikipedia

    "The African Queen" [U.A. 1951] Movie Page
    U.A.'s Agent 007 James Bond Movies Page
    U.A.'s 'Rocky' Movies Page
    U.A.'s "Magnificent Seven" Movies {and "Seven Samurai"} Page

    The United Artists Story book by Ronald Bergen  
    "The United Artists Story" [1988]
    by Ronald Bergen

    Random House Value hardcover [4/92] out of print/used
    Random House Value hardcover [5/88] out of print/used



    Walt  Disney  Pictures
    Founded in 1923 in East Hollywood, California by Walt Disney and his brother Roy Disney and animator Ub Iwerks; released the sound cartoon "Steamboat Willie" starring Mickey Mouse, in 1928, which launched Mickey's popularity; companion characters soon followed: Pluto [1930], Goofy [1932], Donald Duck [1934]; by 1935, Mickey Mouse merchandise brought in more revenue than Mickey Mouse cartoons; studio moved to Burbank, California in 1940; founded Buena Vista Distribution and began the 'Disneyland' network TV program (starring Walt) in 1954; the Disneyland theme park opened in Anaheim, California in 1955; the company went public in 1957; Walt Disney died in December 1966; the Walt Disney World Resort opened in Orlando, Florida in 1971; EPCOT Center opened at Walt Disney World in 1982; Disney Channel launched in 1983; Touchstone Pictures launched in 1984; board of directors shakeup brought in Michael Eisner [chairman], Frank Wells [president/COO] & Jeffrey Katzenberg [CEO] to run the company; acquired independent film distributor Miramax Film Corp. in 1993; when Wells died in 1994, Katzenberg was denied promotion so he quit and co-founded DreamWorks SKG; top Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz hired as president in October 1995; acquired the A.B.C. television network from Capital Cities in 1996; Ovitz removed in November 1997 (with an outrageously excessive severance buyout); Robert Iger hired as president in 2000; bought Saban Entertainment in 2002; unhappy board members got rid of Eisner in 2004, replaced him with George J. Mitchell as chairman and Iger as CEO; purchased Pixar Animation Studios in 2006; corporate announced plans in 2007 to replace brands such as Buena Vista by converting various divisions to the Disney, A.B.C., E.S.P.N., Miramax, Pixar & Touchstone brands. The attempt to sell off Miramax Film Corp. and its 611-picture library dragged on, but finally was completed in December 2010, with Filmyard Holdings paying a total of $663 million.

    Magic Lantern's Walt Disney Pictures Page

    Walt Disney Pictures castle logo            Walt Disney Company signature logo
    Walt Disney Pictures official website
    Walt Disney Company entry at Wikipedia
    Walt Disney Studios entry at Wikipedia

    Magic Lantern's Walt Disney [1901-66] Page
    Magic Lantern's Walt Disney Studios Page
    Magic Lantern's Disney Films Page

    official Disney® Store at Amazon


    American  Broadcasting  Corporation
    Formed in 1943 from NBC's Blue radio network; first TV broadcast 1948; purchased by Capitol Cities Communications in 1985; purchased by Disney in February 1996.
    Magic Lantern's Disney Studios Page / A.B.C. Section


    Buena  Vista  Distribution
    Founded in 1953 to distribute Disney's films worldwide; as-of 2007, the Buena Vista brand & logo are scheduled to be retired.
    Magic Lantern's Disney Studios Page / Buena Vista Distribution Section


    Miramax  Film  Corp.
    Founded in 1979 by brothers Harvey & Bob Weinstein in Buffalo, New York to distribute (and later, to produce or acquire) independent & foreign films for the U.S. market; the company was financially successful, and Disney paid $70 million for it in 1993; the Weinstein brothers left in September 2005, and soon formed a new independent company, The Weinstein Company. Disney's attempt to sell off Miramax Film Corp. and its 611-picture library dragged on, but was finally signed in July 2010, for a price of $650 million; the deal was completed in December 2010, with Filmyard Holdings paying a total of $663 million.

    Magic Lantern's independent Miramax Films entry


    Pixar  Animation  Studios
    Begun in 1979 as the computer graphics animation division of George Lucas's LucasFilm in Northern California; when Apple, Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs [1955-2011] left that company in 1986, he paid $5 million to Lucas and invested another $5 million in the company, renamed Pixar; emphasis was at first on selling software & hardware, to the government and Disney and others, but the market was soon saturated, so Pixar began producing C.G.I. commercials for television; Pixar signed a deal with Disney in 1991 to produce five C.G.I. feature films, the first of which was the hit "Toy Story" [1995]; Pixar re-incorporated in December 1995, and went public in November 1996; renewal of the contract with Disney was prolonged by Pixar's demands for autonomy, and by the bullying management style of Disney's Michael Eisner (ousted in 2004); in 2006, Disney paid $7.4 billion (in stock) for Pixar, making Jobs the largest shareholder of Disney and a member of Disney's board; several Pixar execs were given powerful positions within Disney.
    Magic Lantern's Disney Studios Page / Pixar Animation Studios Section


    Touchstone  Pictures
    Founded in 1984, basically a brand (for relatively-mature product) rather than a studio.
    Magic Lantern's Disney Studios Page / Touchstone Pictures Section



    Warner  Bros.  Pictures
    Three brothers from Poland - Harry & Albert & Sam Warner - began exhibiting motion pictures in towns across Pennsylvania & Ohio in 1903; in 1904, they incorporated the Duquesne Amusement & Supply Co. in Pittsburgh; by 1918, they were producing silent films and had opened a studio in Hollywood, California; Sam & youngest brother Jack produced while Harry & Albert ran the business side; formally incorporated as Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. in 1923; bought New York studio & distributor Vitagraph (on page 2) in 1925; bought the Vitaphone sound-on-disk process from Western Electric in 1925; bought the Stanley Co. theater chain in 1928, which included a stake in First National Pictures (on page 2); Warner merged with First National in 1930 and moved to the latter's studio lot in Burbank; Technicolor musicals thrived for a while, then gritty gangster films, then historical dramas, then Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies cartoons; Jack Warner helped organize the U.S. Army's First Motion Picture Unit during World War II; Jack (secretly) brought in bankers to buy out his brothers' interest, which poisoned family relations; the studio successfully moved into television production and launched the Warner Records division [1958]; the aging Jack sold the movie & record business in 1967 to Seven Arts, which sold in two years to the Jersey mob-connected Kinney National Co.; new studio head Ted Ashley signed major stars – Paul Newman & Barbra Streisand [First Artists], Robert Redford, John Wayne [Batjac], and Clint Eastwood [Malpaso] – and invested in non-movie businesses such as theme parks and video-gamer Atari; a studio management joint venture formed with Columbia Pictures in 1972 {'The Burbank Studios' or T.B.S.) was phased out circa 1987; the surprise merger with Time, Inc. in 1989 was then the biggest merger in history; in 1995, Warner and Tribune Broadcasting of Chicago launched the W.B. Network, aimed at teens; the 2000 takeover of conglomerate Time-Warner by internet monster A.O.L. was very bumpy; in 2006, Warner and C.B.S. agreed to shut down U.P.N. & The W.B. and jointly launch the C.W. cable network. Time-Warner announced in May 2009 that it was spinning off all A.O.L. assets, which was completed in December.

    Magic Lantern's Warner Bros. Studios Page

    Warner Bros. Pictures logo
    Warner Bros. official website {requires Flash}
    Warner Bros. entry at Wikipedia

    "Casablanca" [Warner Bros. 1942] Movie Page

    You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story book & movie by Richard Schickel  "You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story" [2008]
    by Richard Schickel & George Perry

    Running Press 11½x10 bargain price hardcover [9/2008] for $31.50
    Running Press 11½x10 hardcover [9/2008] for $36.50
    this is companion book to the
    5-part TV documentary project narrated by Clint Eastwood
    Warner Home Video color DVD [8/2009] 2 disks for $26.99
    Warner Bros Story book by Clive Hirschhorn  
    "The Warner Bros. Story: The Complete History of The Great
    Hollywood Studio" [1987]
    by Clive Hirschhorn

    Random House Value 12½x9¼ hardcover [1/87] out of print/many used


    Comcast & Universal & N.B.C.  —  Viacom & Paramount & DreamWorks
    News Corp. + 20th Century-Fox  —  Sony Pictures & Columbia
    M.G.M. & United Artists  —  Disney + A.B.C. + Pixar  —  Warner Bros.

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    Magic Lantern's Movie Studios Pages

    on this page: top of page • Major Studios • Books • Links

    on page two: top of page • Modern Mini-Majors • Historic Studios • Foreign Studios



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