Metro Pictures

Last updated

Metro Pictures Corporation
Industry Film studio
Predecessors Solax Studios
FoundedJune 23, 1915 (1915-06-23)
Founder Richard A. Rowland
George Grombacker
Louis B. Mayer
DefunctApril 17, 1924 (1924-04-17)
(8 years, 299 days)
FateMerged with Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Pictures to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Warner Bros.
HeadquartersHeidelberg Building, ,
Key people
Richard A. Rowland (President)
Louis B. Mayer (secretary)
Divisions Louis B. Mayer Pictures

Metro Pictures Corporation was a motion picture production company founded in early 1915 in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a forerunner of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The company produced its films in New York, Los Angeles, and sometimes at leased facilities in Fort Lee, New Jersey. [1] It was purchased in 1919.



Advertisement for The Right of Way (1915) with William Faversham William Faversham in The Right of Way.jpg
Advertisement for The Right of Way (1915) with William Faversham
Eye for eye - lobbycard 1918.jpg
Lobby card for Eye for Eye (1918)
Keaton Convict 13 1920.jpg
Poster for Convict 13 (1920)
Alias Jimmy Valentine poster 1920.jpg
Poster for Alias Jimmy Valentine (1920)
Off Shore Pirate 1921.jpg
Poster for The Off-Shore Pirate (1921)
Peacock Alley poster.jpg
Poster for Peacock Alley (1922)

Metro Pictures was founded as a film distribution company in February 1915 by a number of "exchange men"[ clarification needed ] with Richard A. Rowland as president, George Grombacher as vice-president and Louis B. Mayer as secretary. [2] Grombacher owned exchanges in Portland and Seattle. Rowland and Metro's 2nd vice president James B. Clark were from the Roland & Clark company based in Pittsburgh. Metro was capitalized with $300,000 in cash and founded for the purpose of controlling movie productions for the exchanges. [3] Rowland had been an investor in Alco Films which was a distribution company for a coalition of production companies. Mayer convinced Rowland to set up Metro to replace Alco to avoid being picked up by Paramount, Mutual Film, or Universal. Metro had Rolfe Photoplays, Inc. and Popular Plays and Players moving over from Alco to Metro. Additional production companies working with Metro were Columbia (1915–1917 [not the current Columbia], subsequently CBC Sales until 1918), Quality Picture Corporation, and Dyreda. [4] Mayer left to form his own production unit in 1918. [5]

In 1919, Metro established its Hollywood studio at Lillian Way and Eleanor St. while building its huge studio covering 4 city blocks at Romaine St. and Cahuenga Blvd, which opened in 1920. Its back lot was established in 1920 in Hollywood on N. Cahuenga Boulevard between Willoughby Avenue and Waring Avenue bound by Lillian Way on the east (today home to Red Studios Hollywood). [6]

Metro's first release on March 29, 1915 was Satan Sanderson, a film produced by Rolfe Photoplays which was originally to be distributed by Alco Film Company. [7] Sealed Valley was Metro's first production released on August 2, 1915. [8] William Frederick Jury distributed Metro's films in Britain.

In 1920, the company was purchased by Marcus Loew as a supplier of product for his theater chain. However, Loew was not satisfied with the amount or quality of Metro's output. A few years later in 1924, Loew merged it with the struggling Goldwyn Pictures and shortly Louis B. Mayer Productions then renamed the new entity Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that year with Mayer in charge (who was never an owner, and was only ever an employee). [9]


Metro's biggest stars during the World War I period were the romantic teams of Francis X. Bushman and Beverly Bayne and Harold Lockwood and May Allison. Also in top echelons of importance were actresses Mae Murray and Viola Dana and from the stage Lionel and Ethel Barrymore, Emmy Wehlen and Emily Stevens. Before merging into MGM in 1924, Metro's star roster had expanded to include Lillian Gish, Buster Keaton, Jackie Coogan, Marion Davies, Ramon Novarro, Wallace Beery and Lewis Stone.

Motion Picture Studios

Although the Metro film library and stars were merged into MGM in 1924, a portion of Rowland's Los Angeles film studio continued with a life of its own. Originally spanning four city blocks, one block continued as a studio known simply as Motion Picture Studios through the 1940s, and as General Service Studios and Desilu Studios through the 1950s and 1960s. It became Ren-Mar Studios in 1974. In January 2010, Ren-Mar Studios was bought by Red Digital Cinema Camera Company. The complex was renamed "Red Studios Hollywood". It is located on Cahuenga Blvd. north of Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, directly behind the Musicians AFM Local 47 on Vine Street.

David E. Kelley filmed several of his TV series there, including Picket Fences , Ally McBeal , and The Practice .


A 1965 fire in an MGM Archive #7 storage facility destroyed original negatives and prints, including the best-quality copies of every Metro picture and Louis B. Mayer Picture produced prior to 1924; over half of MGM's feature films from before 1930 are completely lost. On March 25, 1986, Ted Turner and his Turner Broadcasting System purchased pre-May 1986 MGM films (including Metro Pictures films) from Kirk Kerkorian for $600 million.

Filmed in Fort Lee, NJ

Related Research Articles

The Fox Film Corporation was an American Independent film production studio formed by William Fox (1879–1952) in 1915, by combining his earlier Greater New York Film Rental Company and Box Office Attractions Film Company.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer American media company

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is an American media company, founded in 1924, that produces and distributes feature films and television programs. It is based in Beverly Hills, California.

United Artists American digital production company

United Artists Corporation (UA), currently doing business as United Artists Digital Studios, is an American digital production company. Founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks, the studio was premised on allowing actors to control their own interests, rather than being dependent upon commercial studios. UA was repeatedly bought, sold, and restructured over the ensuing century. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired the studio in 1981 for a reported $350 million.

Orion Pictures is an American motion picture producer owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). In its original operating period, the company produced and released films from 1978 until 1999 and was also involved in television production and syndication throughout the 1980s until the early 1990s. It was formed in 1978 as a joint venture between Warner Bros. and three former senior executives at United Artists. During this early period, Orion was considered a mini-major studio.

Nicholas M. Schenck was a Russian-American film studio executive and businessman.

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. The term may also be applied more specifically to the primary motion picture business subsidiary of each respective conglomerate.

Loews Cineplex Entertainment American theater chain

Loews Cineplex Entertainment, also known as Loews Incorporated, founded on June 23, 1904 by Marcus Loew, was the oldest theater chain operating in North America. From 1924 until 1959, it was also the parent company of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM).

Louis B. Mayer Canadian-American film producer (1884–1957)

Louis Burt Mayer was a Canadian-American film producer and co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios (MGM) in 1924. Under Mayer's management, MGM became the film industry's most prestigious movie studio, accumulating the largest concentration of leading writers, directors, and stars in Hollywood.

Samuel Goldwyn Polish-American film producer (1882–1974)

Samuel Goldwyn, also known as Samuel Goldfish, was a Polish-American film producer. He was best known for being the founding contributor and executive of several motion picture studios in Hollywood. His awards include the 1973 Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1947, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1958.

William Fox (producer) Hungarian-American film producer (1879-1952)

William Fox was a Hungarian-American film executive who founded the Fox Film Corporation in 1915 and the Fox West Coast Theatres chain in the 1920s. Although he lost control of his movie businesses in 1930, his name was used by 20th Century Fox and continues to be used in the trademarks of the present-day Fox Corporation, including the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News, Fox Sports and Foxtel.

Goldwyn Pictures Former American motion picture production company

Goldwyn Pictures Corporation was an American motion picture production company that operated from 1916 to 1924 when it was merged with two other production companies to form the major studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was founded on November 19, 1916, by Samuel Goldfish, an executive at Lasky's Feature Play Company, and Broadway producer brothers Edgar and Archibald Selwyn, using an amalgamation of both last names to name the company.

Solax Studios American motion-picture studio

Solax Studios was an American motion-picture studio founded in 1910 by executives from the Gaumont Film Company of France. Alice Guy-Blaché, her husband Herbert, and a third partner, George A. Magie, established the Solax Company.

Twentieth Century Pictures Defunct film producing corporation

Twentieth Century Pictures, Inc., was an independent Hollywood motion picture production company created in 1933 by Joseph Schenck and Darryl F. Zanuck from Warner Bros. Financial backing came from Schenck's younger brother Nicholas Schenck, president of Loew's, the theater chain that owned Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Louis B. Mayer of MGM, who wanted a position for his son-in-law, William Goetz, Bank of America and Herbert J. Yates owner of the film processing laboratory Consolidated Film Industries, who later founded Republic Pictures Corporation in 1935. . The company product was distributed by United Artists (UA), and leased space at Samuel Goldwyn Studios.

Marcus Loew Film pioneer, owner of Loews/M-G-M

Marcus Loew was an American business magnate and a pioneer of the motion picture industry who formed Loew's Theatres and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio (MGM).

Selznick International Pictures Defunct American film studio

Selznick International Pictures was a Hollywood motion picture studio created by David O. Selznick in 1935, and dissolved in 1943. In its short existence the independent studio produced two films that received the Academy Award for Best Picture—Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940)—and three that were nominated, A Star Is Born (1937), Since You Went Away (1944) and Spellbound (1945).

Sony Pictures Studios Television and film studio complex, California, U.S.

The Sony Pictures Studios is an American television and film studio complex located in Culver City, California at 10202 West Washington Boulevard and bounded by Culver Boulevard (south), Washington Boulevard (north), Overland Avenue (west) and Madison Avenue (east). Founded in 1912, the facility is currently owned by Sony Pictures and houses the division's film studios, such as Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, and Screen Gems, as well as anime licensing company Crunchyroll, LLC since 2022. The complex was the original studios of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1924 to 1986 and Lorimar-Telepictures from 1986 to 1989.

Samuel Goldwyn Productions was an American film production company founded by Samuel Goldwyn in 1923, and active through 1959. Personally controlled by Goldwyn and focused on production rather than distribution, the company developed into the most financially and critically successful independent production company in Hollywood's Golden Age.

Louis B. Mayer Pictures

Louis B. Mayer Pictures was an American film production company of the silent era which operated from 1918 until 1924.

Richard A. Rowland American film producer

Richard A. Rowland was an American studio executive and film producer.

Warner Bros. Pictures American film studio

Warner Bros. Pictures is an American film production and distribution company of the Warner Bros. Pictures Group division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. The studio is the flagship producer of live-action feature films within the Warner Bros. Pictures Group unit, and is based at the Warner Bros. Studios complex in Burbank, California. Animated films produced the Warner Animation Group are also released under the studio banner.


  1. 1 2 "Studios and Films". Fort Lee Fort Lee Film Commission. Archived from the original on April 25, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  2. Eyman, S. (2008). Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer. Simon & Schuster. p. 43. ISBN   978-1-4391-0791-1 . Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  3. "The Metro Corporation", Motography, XIII (8): 278, February 20, 1915, retrieved December 5, 2013
  4. McMahan, Alison (August 22, 2014). Alice Guy Blaché: Lost Visionary of the Cinema. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 179. ISBN   9781501302695 . Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  5. "Louis B. Mayer". The A&E Television Networks. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  6. Monush, Barry; Sheridan, James (June 1, 2011). Lucille Ball FAQ: Everything Left to Know About America's Favorite Redhead. Applause Theatre & Cinema. ISBN   9781557839336 . Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  7. "Satan Sanderson". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  8. 1 2 "Sealed Valley". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  9. International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 25. St. James Press. 1999. Retrieved December 20, 2014.