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  • 1918 A Partnership is Formed

    The company’s rich history can be traced back to 1918 when brothers Harry and Jack Cohn formed a partnership with their associate Joe Brandt to produce low-budget short films and featurettes. They called the company CBC Film Sales (Cohn-Brandt-Cohn – or as it was more commonly known in the trade press, “Corned Beef and Cabbage”.) 

  • 1920 Attracting Audiences

    By 1920, the film industry was attracting audiences of 35 million a week willing to pay five cents a pop to be drawn into the magical world of filmed entertainment.

  • 1922 CBC Produces First Feature

    Backed by the success of their modest productions, CBC produced their first feature-length film in 1922 on a $20,000 budget, MORE TO BE PITIED THAN SCORNED, with resounding success, taking in $130,000 in profit. CBC saw that the company’s future lay in film production and, with it, a grander vision.

  • 1924 Becoming Columbia Pictures

    Incorporated in 1924, CBC became Columbia Pictures Corporation. Offices were set up along a section of Gower Street and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood known as "Poverty Row" because it was home to several low-budget film production companies. Each year brought new developments and growing revenues for the fledgling operation.

  • 1927 The Great Catalyst

    In its early years, Columbia Pictures was known for the production of a large volume of low-budget movies. This reputation began to change when, in 1927, the studio hired a young director named Frank Capra, who created Columbia’s first all "talkie" feature, THE DONOVAN AFFAIR.

  • 1934 First Academy Award®

    Capra's directing talents contributed to a number of "firsts" for the studio but none greater than Columbia’s first Best Picture Academy Award® for its 1934 film, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, which swept the top five awards and put Columbia on the map.

  • 1935 Burbank Backlot

    With Columbia’s increased respect and prestige during the ’30’s and ’40’s, the Cohn brothers were able to expand their studio acreage in Hollywood. In 1935, they purchased additional property in Burbank to use as a back lot for location filming. Among the many stars under contract at the time were Rosalind Russell, Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford and William Holden, all adding luster to the Columbia name.

  • 1939 Capra's Columbia Classics

    Capra went on to direct a number of classics for the studio including MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (Best Picture Oscar® in 1939) and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON starring Jimmy Stewart.

  • 1940 Columbia's First Blockbuster

    Although its films were successful, Columbia didn’t know the meaning of the word "blockbuster" until the mid ’40’s when THE JOLSON STORY became its highest-grossing movie to date.

  • 1948 Screen Gems

    Columbia Pictures was one of the first studios to venture into the television business with the creation of a division called Screen Gems in 1948, which became a lucrative new income stream for the company. The television division was later named Columbia Pictures Television, then Columbia TriStar Television.

  • 1949 Profitable Decade

    Culminating in another Best Picture Oscar® for its 1949 film, ALL THE KING’S MEN, Columbia experienced its most profitable decade to date.

  • 1958 End of an Era

    The late 1950’s saw the deaths of both Cohn brothers and with them, the end of an era.  Crowning that decade, however, under Harry’s ever-ardent watch were three more Best Picture Oscars® for Columbia:  FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953), ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) and THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957).

  • 1960 Expanding The Scope

    During the 1960’s, Columbia changed with the times by expanding the scope and appeal of its films to include youth-oriented themes (BYE BYE BIRDIE, FUNNY GIRL, DR. STRANGELOVE, TO SIR WITH LOVE) as well as Academy Award®-winning classics LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962), A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (1966) and OLIVER! (1968).

  • 1970 1970's Success

    In motion pictures, Columbia turned out a string of successes in the ’70’s such as THE WAY WE WERE (1973), MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (1978), TAXI DRIVER (1976), THE DEEP (1977), CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) and KRAMER VS. KRAMER (1979), winner of 5 Oscars® including Best Picture.

  • 1972 The Burbank Studios

    Columbia shuttered its Gower Street lot and moved to Burbank. In 1972, it merged its real estate holdings with Warner Communications Inc. to form The Burbank Studios, sharing the facility for 18 years.

  • 1979 Home Entertainment

    In 1979, Columbia Pictures Home Video was launched, marking the company’s entry into the revolutionary home entertainment market. With the introduction of Columbia Pictures’ hit films on the Beta and VHS formats, the studio established a profitable, new distribution system.

  • 1982 Coca Cola Buys Columbia; TV Library Grows

    The 1980’s were a period of change and growth for Columbia, beginning with its purchase by The Coca-Cola Company in 1982. Television programs were acquired, adding ALL IN THE FAMILY, GOOD TIMES, THE JEFFERSONS and more to an already impressive television library. GANDHI (1982) added another Best Picture Oscar® statue to Columbia’s collection. The studio continued to turn out some of its biggest box offices hits throughout the decade with TOOTSIE, THE KARATE KID, STRIPES and GHOSTBUSTERS. 

  • 1983 TriStar Pictures

    Columbia made motion picture history by joining with HBO and CBS to form TriStar Pictures, the first new motion picture studio in decades. TriStar achieved the fastest growth to major studio status in the industry’s history, releasing such films as THE NATURAL, RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II and PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED. TriStar relaunched in 2004 as a marketing and acquisition unit with particular emphasis on genre films, releasing such film as DADDY DAY CAMP and DISTRICT 9.

  • 1986 Hit TV Shows

    Merv Griffin Enterprises, producer of top game shows WHEEL OF FORTUNE and JEOPARDY!, joined the company in 1986. In 1987 Columbia TriStar Television acquired the distribution rights to Castle Rock Entertainment’s sitcom SEINFELD, the highest-earning, number one syndicated show in television history.

  • 1989 Sony Corporation & Culver City

    Sony Corporation purchased Columbia Pictures Corporation and all of its entertainment holdings from The Coca-Cola Company, forming Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). The company relocated to the former MGM lot in Culver City, California and was renamed Sony Pictures Studios.

  • 1991 The Culver Studios

    SPE purchased The Culver Studios in Culver City. Well-known as the studio lot where KING KONG, GONE WITH THE WIND and CITIZEN KANE were filmed, The Culver Studios, built by Thomas Ince in 1919, was owned by Cecil B. DeMille, David O. Selznick, RKO-Pathe and Desilu at various times. Recognized by its mansion-like exterior, the studio lot was home to Sony Pictures Television until 2003 when it was sold.

  • 1992 Sony Pictures Classics

    Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) was established to specialize in the acquisition, production, marketing and distribution of prestigious foreign and American independent films. Nominated for numerous Academy Awards®, the SPC library includes such notable titles as CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON; ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER; CAPOTE; WADJDA; BLUE JASMINE; MIDNIGHT IN PARIS; STILL ALICE and WHIPLASH.

  • 1997 Breaking Box Office Records

    SPE broke all-time records for a motion picture distributor, surpassing $2.3 billion in worldwide box office and $1.2 billion in domestic box office, and became the first company ever to gross more than $500 million in U.S. summer box office, powered by three consecutive blockbuster releases: MEN IN BLACK, the biggest-grossing film of the year and the highest-grossing movie in the company’s history to that date, AIR FORCE ONE and MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING.

  • 1999 Screen Gems Come-back

    The Screen Gems name was revitalized as a new motion picture label under SPE, focusing on films that fall between the wide-release movies traditionally developed and distributed by Columbia Pictures and those released by Sony Pictures Classics. Popular Screen Gems films include RESIDENT EVIL, UNDERWORLD, DEAR JOHN, BURLESQUE, FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS and THINK LIKE A MAN.

  • 2000 Sony Pictures Digital

    Sony Pictures Digital (SPD) was formed in 2000, combining SPE’s digital production with its online content and game services to deliver the next generation of entertainment. Some novel products from the early collaboration included the leading multiplayer online game EverQuest™, SoapCity© and Screenblast®. Also folded into the SPD group were Sony Pictures Imageworks, a state-of-the-art digital animation and visual effects company, creating computer-generated imaging (CGI) and animation for feature films; and Sony Pictures Animation Inc., responsible for the development and production of all CG features for SPE. In fact, Imageworks released its first short film with the Animation division, THE CHUBB CHUBBS, winning the Academy Award® for Best Animated Short Film.

  • 2002 The Webbed Wonder

    SPE enjoyed a blockbuster 2002 with the record-breaking SPIDER-MAN™, which crossed the $400 million threshold and was the fifth film ever to surpass that level in domestic box office gross. The studio crossed the $1 billion mark in domestic box office gross in the summer, joining the billion dollar club for the second time and shattering its own record for reaching that box office level faster than any distributor in history. In addition to the release of SPIDER-MAN™, contributing to this record were MEN IN BLACK II, STUART LITTLE 2, PANIC ROOM, BLACK HAWK DOWN and MR.DEEDS. The studio broke both the domestic and international box office records bringing in $1.57 and $2.87 billion respectively.

    © 2015 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. | Marvel, and the names and distinctive likenesses of Spider-Man and all other Marvel characters: ™ and © 2015 Marvel Entertainment, LLC & its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.

  • 2004 #1 at the Box Office

    Imageworks added another Oscar® to the mantel, this time for achievement in Visual Effects for its work on SPIDER-MAN 2™, which earned more than $800 million worldwide. Under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton and Chairman of the Motion Picture Group Amy Pascal, the studio ended the year in the #1 spot with a remarkable $1.308 billion in domestic box office receipts. The following year, Sir Howard Stringer became Chairman, Group CEO and Representative Corporate Executive Officer of Sony Corporation.

  • 2006 Crackle, The Da Vinci Code

    THE DA VINCI CODE starring Tom Hanks, the long-awaited film from the popular novel of the same name,  was released, setting international weekend records at $154.8 million. SPA released the first full-length action adventure comedy, OPEN SEASON and the end of the year brought well-deserved acclaim for the visually stunning MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, which garnered three Academy Awards® for Best Art Direction, Cinematography and Costume Design. Sony Pictures acquired Grouper, an online venture boasting one of the largest video communities. It was relaunched in 2007 as Crackle, engaging global audiences with emerging web talent, Sony Pictures’ films and television shows, and original programming such as COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE, JOE DIRT 2 and SPORTS JEOPARDY!

  • 2007 The LOT Project

    SPIDER-MAN 3™ made motion picture history with a record-breaking $382 million worldwide debut in May. Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal broke ground on a studio development called the “LOT Project,” which added over 200,000 square feet of office and support space to the Studio lot. The LOT project achieved Gold-level LEED Certification for environmentally friendly design, construction and operation. WHEEL OF FORTUNE celebrated its 25th anniversary and Sony Pictures Animation’s second film, SURF’S UP, received an Oscar® nomination for Best Animated Feature.

  • 2008 Emmy Award® Recognition

    Sony Pictures Television welcomed the return of seven series and earned a total of 29 primetime Emmy Award® nominations, a record for the company.  Sony Pictures Digital was renamed Sony Pictures Digital Productions.  HANCOCK, the Will Smith blockbuster, tallied more than $600 million in global box office receipts and QUANTUM OF SOLACE became the top Bond film of all time at the North American box office.

  • 2009 Continued Success

    Columbia Pictures and Screen Gems ended 2008 as the third biggest year at the box office in Sony Pictures’ history.  In 2009 PAUL BLART: MALL COP became the first original film to pass the $100 million mark in January and 2012 grossed more than $670 million worldwide.  ANGELS & DEMONS, the highly anticipated sequel to THE DA VINCI CODE, thrilled summer crowds to the tune of $470 million, and its release on DVD later that year made it the biggest hit of the year across all international territories.  MICHAEL JACKSON’S THIS IS IT generated more than $250 million worldwide.  The beloved storybook CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS hit movie screens in September in 3D stereoscopic and was #1 at the box office for two weekends, making SPA's their most successful film to date.  Sony Pictures Releasing International ended the year by breaking a record as it passed $2 billion overseas, a first in SPE history.

  • 2009 Sony Pictures Television

     Sony Pictures Entertainment combined its domestic and international television units under one banner, Sony Pictures Television.  THE DR. OZ SHOW enjoyed being the highest-rated talk show debut in seven years.

  • 2010 The Social Network

    Chronicling the formation of Facebook, THE SOCIAL NETWORK brought in more than $200 million worldwide and garnered numerous Oscar® nominations.  In 2010 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) released its first Blu-ray 3D™ title in the U.S., SPA’s CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS.

  • 2011 The Smurfs

    THE SMURFS takes in more than $560 million at the global box office and becomes one of the first films released as an UltraViolet title, along with Screen Gems’ FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS.  SPE partners with MGM in a worldwide theatrical distribution and co-financing pact.

  • 2012 Rainbow

    At 94’ tall, SPE installed a major work of public art on the studio lot entitled Rainbow, by renowned American multi-media artist Tony Tasset.  With the successful release of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, MEN IN BLACK 3, 21 JUMP STREET, THINK LIKE A MAN and THE VOW, SPE becomes the second studio in 2012 to hit the $1 billion box-office mark domestically.

  • 2013 Breaking Bad

    BREAKING BAD won its first primetime Emmy Award® for Outstanding Drama Series in 2013, and would win it again the following year, drawing a cable viewership record for its season finale and becoming the most binge-watched television series in history.  Tom Rothman and SPE launch a new joint venture TriStar Productions.

  • 2014 The Interview

    WHEEL OF FORTUNE airs its 6,000th episode and THE INTERVIEW is released online on Christmas Eve through Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and its own dedicated website.

  • 2015 SPE's Legacy

    Today, the motion picture and television library is one of the company’s most valuable assets with more than 3,500 film titles and more than 275 television series.  With a rich history that dates back to the birth of the motion picture industry, SPE is known throughout the world not only for its leading motion picture and television programming, but also its breakthrough digital innovations that bridge the gap between entertainment content and consumer delivery systems.

    © 2015 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. | Marvel, and the names and distinctive likenesses of Spider-Man and all other Marvel characters: ™ and © 2015 Marvel Entertainment, LLC & its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.