|Formerly||Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. (1987–1991)|
|Founded||December 21, 1987 as Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc.|
August 7, 1991 as Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.
|Revenue||US$9.316 billion (FY2019)|
|US$628 million (FY2019)|
|Owner||Sony Group Corporation|
Number of employees
|9,500 (2019 )|
Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Sony Pictures or SPE, and formerly known as Columbia Pictures Entertainment Inc.) is an American entertainment company that produces, acquires, and distributes filmed entertainment (theatrical motion pictures, television programs, and recorded videos) through multiple platforms. Through an intermediate holding company called Sony Film Holding Inc., it is operated as a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., which is itself a subsidiary of the multinational technology and media conglomerate Sony Group Corporation.Based at the Sony Pictures Studios lot in Culver City, California, it encompasses Sony's motion picture, television production and distribution units. Its group sales in the fiscal year 2017 (April 2017 – March 2018) has been reported to be $9.133 billion.
SPE is a member of the Big Five and the Motion Picture Association (MPA).
Some of Sony Pictures's film franchises include: The Karate Kid , Ghostbusters , Spider-Man , Jumanji , Stuart Little , Men in Black , Zombieland , Underworld , the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, Robert Langdon , The Smurfs (via Peyo), Sniper , Hotel Transylvania , Bad Boys , Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs , and Charlie's Angels .
On September 1, 1987, The Coca-Cola Company announced plans to spin off its assets of Columbia Pictures, which it had owned since 1982. Under this arrangement, Coca-Cola would sell its entertainment assets to TriStar Pictures, of which it owned 39.6%. Tri-Star would be renamed as Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. (CPE), with Coca-Cola owning 49%, its shareholders owning 31%, and Tri-Star's shareholders owning 20%.A new company was formed in early 1988 with the Tri-Star name to take over the studio's operations.
On September 28, 1989, Sony obtained an option to purchase all of The Coca-Cola Company's stock (approximately 54 million shares or 49% of the outstanding shares) in CPE for $27 per share.The next day, Sony also announced that it reached an agreement with Guber-Peters Entertainment Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: GPEC; formerly Barris Industries, Inc.) to acquire CPE for $200 million when Sony hired Peter Guber and Jon Peters to be its co-chairmen. This was all led by Norio Ohga, who was the president and CEO of Sony during that time.
The hiring of Guber and Peters by Sony to run Columbia was conflicted by a previous contract the producers had signed at Warner Bros. Time Warner's chairman, Steve Ross, threatened Sony with a lawsuit for breach of contract. The lawsuit would be subsequently dropped when Sony sold half-interest in Columbia House and cable distribution rights to Columbia's feature films, TV movies, and miniseries to Warner Bros. That same agreement also saw Columbia sell its 35% interest in the Burbank Studios and acquired Lorimar Studios, previously the MGM lot, from Warner Bros.
On October 31, 1989, Sony completed a friendly takeover bid for the rest of shares (51%) of CPE, which was a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: KPE), and acquired 99.3% of the common stock of the company. On November 8, 1989, Sony completed the acquisition by a "short-form" merger of its wholly owned subsidiary Sony Columbia Acquisition Corporation into CPE under the Delaware General Corporation Law. Sony also completed a tender offer for shares of common stock of the Guber-Peters Entertainment Company on November 6, 1989 and acquired the company 3 days later. The acquisition cost Sony $4.9 billion ($3.55 billion for shares and $1.4 billion of long-term debt) and was backed (financed) by five major Japanese banks Mitsui, Tokyo, Fuji, Mitsubishi and Industrial Bank of Japan.The company was renamed as Sony Pictures Entertainment on August 7, 1991.
Sony has since created numerous other film production and distribution units, such as creating Sony Pictures Classics for art-house fare, by forming Columbia TriStar Pictures (also known as the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group) by merging Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures in 1998, revitalizing Columbia's former television division Screen Gems. It expanded its operations on April 8, 2005, when a Sony-led consortium acquired the legendary Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in a US$4.8 billion leveraged buyout, through the holding company MGM Holdings Inc.
This in effect re-united the MGM studio name, with the MGM main studio lot, although somewhat confusingly, the bulk of the pre-May 1986 original MGM library ended up at Time Warner via the Ted Turner-Kirk Kerkorian "Turner Entertainment Co." transactions. The post-April 1986 MGM library consists of acquisitions of various third-party libraries, such as the Orion Pictures catalogue, leading to MGM's 2014 remake of RoboCop.
On June 4, 2008, SPE's wholly owned group 2JS Productions B.V. acquired Dutch production company 2waytraffic N.V., famous for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? , acquired from the original production company Celador, and You Are What You Eat for £114.3 million ($223.2 million in US dollars).
In 2011, the Sony Pictures computer network was breached and approximately one million user accounts associated with the SonyPictures.com website were leaked.
On November 18, 2012, Sony Pictures announced it has passed $4 billion with the success of releases: Skyfall , The Amazing Spider-Man , 21 Jump Street , Men in Black 3 , Hotel Transylvania , Underworld: Awakening , The Vow , and Resident Evil: Retribution .On November 21, 2013, SPE and Sony Entertainment's CEO Michael Lynton announced that SPE will shift emphasis from movies to television by cutting its 2014 film slate. It was also announced on the same day, that there will be more Spider-Man sequels and spin-offs, though on February 10, 2015, Sony Pictures eventually signed a deal with Disney's Marvel Studios to allow Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with Captain America: Civil War , before appearing in Spider-Man: Homecoming which was released on July 7, 2017. The deal also allowed Sony to distribute and have creative control on any MCU film where Spider-Man is the main character (such as Homecoming and its sequel Spider-Man: Far From Home ), while Disney will distribute MCU films where Spider-Man appears without being the main character.
On January 22, 2014, SPE folded its technology unit into the various cores of its businesses.In April, Sony Pictures arranged a film financing deal worth $200 million with LStar Capital, the credit venture of Lone Star Capital and Citibank, half in debt and the other in equity to fund most of SPE's film slate for several years. SPE was originally considering a $300 million deal with Blue Anchor Entertainment, led by Bloom Hergott partner John LaViolette and former investment banker & producer Joseph M. Singer, and backed by Longhorn Capital Management and Deutsche Bank, which was held up by regulatory matters.
As a result of reevaluating the assets of the motion pictures and television productions businesses (capitalized film costs, including the value of the film library mostly recorded at the 1989 acquisition of CPE), Sony recorded a $962 million non-cash goodwill impairment charge in SPE in the third quarter of 2016.
On July 3, 2018, Sony accidentally uploaded the film Khali the Killer on YouTube in its entirety. The film stayed up for several hours before being removed.
In November 2019, Sony purchased the remaining 42% stake in GSN from AT&T, placing it under the direction of its television division.In April 2021, Sony signed a first look deal with Netflix, allowing the streaming service to host their films following their theatrical runs and home media releases. That same month, the company also entered into a multi-year licensing agreement with The Walt Disney Company for its films to stream across Disney's streaming and linear platforms, including Disney+ and Hulu.
In November 2014, the Sony Pictures computer network was compromised by a group of hackers named Guardians of Peace, disabling many computers.Later the same week, five of Sony Pictures' movies were leaked, including some not yet released (such as Fury and Annie ), as well as confidential data about 47,000 current and former Sony employees. Film historian Wheeler Winston Dixon suggested that the hack, which exposed the inner workings of the studio, was "not a pretty picture," and served as a "wake-up call to the entire industry." The hack also revealed some other documents, emails between Hollywood moguls referring to Barack Obama's cinematic tastes, a possible partnership with Marvel Studios for the inclusion of the superhero Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War , which was later confirmed in February 2015, amongst others. On December 16, the hackers issued a warning to moviegoers, threatening to attack anyone who sees The Interview during the holidays and urging people to "remember the 11th of September 2001". On December 17, 2014, Sony cancelled the previously planned December 25 release of The Interview in response to hacker threats.
On February 24, 2015, Tom Rothman was named chairman of SPE's motion picture group to replace Amy Pascal.
On April 16, 2015, WikiLeaks published over 30,287 documents, 173,132 e-mails, and 2,200 corporate e-mail addresses of Sony Pictures' employees. WikiLeaks said in a press release that the content of the leaks were "newsworthy and at the center of a geo-political conflict" and belonged "in the public domain". Sony Pictures later condemned the hack and subsequent leaks, calling it a "malicious criminal act", while also criticizing WikiLeaks for describing the leaked content as public domain.
Seth Rogen has expressed doubts about North Korea being responsible for the 2014 Sony hack. Based on the timeline of events and the amount of information hacked, he believes the hack may have been conducted by a Sony employee.
Headquartered in Culver City, California, USA, SPE comprises various studios and entertainment brands, including Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures and GSN.
The following are other Sony Pictures divisions that are not subsidiaries of the California-based Sony Pictures Entertainment, but are instead subsidiaries of the main Tokyo-based Sony Corporation.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of feature films and television programs. One of the world's oldest film studios, MGM's corporate headquarters are located in Beverly Hills, California.
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film studio and production company that is a member of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, a division of Sony Entertainment's Sony Pictures Entertainment, itself a subsidiary of the Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony.
TriStar Pictures, Inc. is an American film studio and production company that is a member of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment's Sony Pictures, itself is a subsidiary of the Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony Group Corporation. TriStar Pictures is a sister studio of the older Sony studio Columbia Pictures.
Sony Pictures Television Inc. is an American television production and distribution studio that was established on September 16, 2002 as the successor to Columbia TriStar Television, TriStar Television, Columbia Pictures Television, Screen Gems, and Pioneer Telefilms. Based at the Sony Pictures Studios complex in Culver City, it is a division of Sony Entertainment's Sony Pictures Entertainment and a unit of the Japanese conglomerate Sony.
Carolco Pictures, Inc. was an American independent motion picture production company that existed from 1976 to 1995, founded by Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna. Kassar and Vajna ran Carolco together until 1989, when Vajna left to form Cinergi Pictures. Carolco hit its peak in the 1980s and early 1990s, with blockbuster successes including the first three films of the Rambo series, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Total Recall, Basic Instinct and Stargate. Nevertheless, the company was losing money overall, and required a corporate restructuring in 1992. The 1995 film Cutthroat Island, intended to be a comeback for the studio, instead lost $147 million and brought the company to an end.
Columbia TriStar Television, Inc. was an American television production and distribution company that was active for eight years from 1994 to 2002. It was formed in 1994 by the merger of Columbia Pictures Television and TriStar Television. It was operated as the third name of the early television studio Screen Gems and the fourth name of Pioneer Telefilms, both part of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the third company to use the Columbia and TriStar names together.
TriStar Television, Inc. is an American television production studio that is a division of Sony Entertainment's Sony Pictures Television. TriStar Television was launched in 1986 by TriStar Pictures, then a joint-venture between Columbia Pictures, CBS, and HBO, but is now fully owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, the parent of both Columbia and TriStar. The television studio was relaunched twice and is currently a specialty label for Sony Pictures Television. The entity was originally a sister company of Columbia Pictures Television which was shut-down in 2001.
ELP Communications was an American television production company that originally began in 1974. It's currently an in-name-only unit of Sony Pictures Television.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the home video distribution division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Group Corporation.
Sony Pictures Digital is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation. Operating under the trade name Sony Pictures Digital Productions Inc., it is currently based in Japan, and was formerly based in Culver City, California, up until 2013. Bob Osher was the president of Sony Pictures Digital before he was fired in February 2015.
Screen Gems, Inc. is an American film production and distribution studio that is a division of Sony Pictures's Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, a subsidiary of Japanese multinational conglomerate, Sony Group Corporation. It has served several different purposes for its parent companies over the decades since its incorporation. The label currently specializes in genre films, mainly horror.
The Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group is a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment to manage its motion picture operations. It was launched in 1998 by integrating the businesses of Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and TriStar Pictures, Inc.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the home video distribution division of American film studio Universal Pictures, owned by the NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment division of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast.
Amy Beth Pascal is an American business executive and film producer. She served as the Chairperson of the Motion Pictures Group of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and Co-Chairperson of SPE, including Sony Pictures Television, from 2006 until 2015. She has overseen the production and distribution of many films and television programs, and was co-chairperson during the late-2014 Sony Pictures hack.
Sony Entertainment, Inc. is an American entertainment company established in 2012. It focuses on most of Sony's motion picture, television and music businesses. It is a subsidiary of the Japanese Sony Group Corporation, managed by Sony's American subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America.
Michael Mark Lynton is a businessman and current chairman of Snap Inc. He previously served as chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment. In 2017, Lynton stepped down as CEO of Sony Entertainment to become Chairman of Snap, makers of the Snapchat mobile app. On February 12, 2019, he was named as chairman of Warner Music Group.
TriStar Productions (TSP) is an American film and television production company, a division of TriStar Pictures and a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and former 20th Century Fox chairman Tom Rothman.