Major film studios

Big Five studios in the San Fernando Valley (Universal, Warner Bros., and Disney)
Big Five studios in Hollywood (Paramount) and on the Westside (Columbia)

Major film studios are production and distribution companies that release a substantial number of films annually and consistently command a significant share of box office revenue in a given market. In the American and international markets, the major film studios, often known simply as the majors or the Big Five studios, are commonly regarded as the five diversified media conglomerates whose various film production and distribution subsidiaries collectively command approximately 80 to 85% of U.S. box office revenue.[1][2][3][4] The term may also be applied more specifically to the primary motion picture business subsidiary of each respective conglomerate.

Since the dawn of filmmaking, the U.S. major film studios have dominated both American cinema and the global film industry.[5][6] U.S. studios have benefited from a strong first-mover advantage in that they were the first to industrialize filmmaking and master the art of mass-producing and distributing high-quality films with broad cross-cultural appeal.[7] Today, the Big Five majors – Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, and Columbia Pictures – routinely distribute hundreds of films every year into all significant international markets (that is, where discretionary income is high enough for consumers to afford to watch films). It is "nearly impossible" for a film to reach a broad international theatrical audience without being first picked up by one of the majors for distribution.[4]

  1. ^ Epstein, Edward Jay (2006). The Big Picture: Money And Power in Hollywood. New York: Random House. pp. 14–19, 82, 109, 133. ISBN 9780812973822.
  2. ^ Schatz, Thomas (2009). "New Hollywood, New Millennium". In Buckland, Warren (ed.). Film Theory and Contemporary Hollywood Movies. New York: Routledge. pp. 19–46. ISBN 9781135895747. Archived from the original on 5 April 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  3. ^ Bettig, Ronald V.; Jeanne Lynn Hall (2012). Big Media, Big Money: Cultural Texts and Political Economics (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 59–108. ISBN 9781442204294. Archived from the original on 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  4. ^ a b Davis, Glyn; Dickinson, Kay; Patti, Lisa; Villarejo, Amy (2015). Film Studies: A Global Introduction. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 299. ISBN 9781317623380. Archived from the original on 16 July 2022. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  5. ^ Kerrigan, Finola (2010). Film Marketing. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 18. ISBN 9780750686839. Archived from the original on 16 July 2022. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  6. ^ Gomery, Douglas; Pafort-Overduin, Clara (2011). Movie History: A Survey (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. p. 143. ISBN 9781136835254. Archived from the original on 2022-07-16. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  7. ^ Flew, Terry (2012). The Creative Industries: Culture and Policy. London: SAGE. p. 128. ISBN 9781446273081. Archived from the original on 2022-07-16. Retrieved 2020-08-16.

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