TriStar Pictures

Last updated
TriStar Pictures, Inc.
Type Division [1]
Founded1983;38 years ago (1983) (as Nova Pictures), Burbank, California, U.S.
FounderVictor Kaufman
Headquarters 10202 West Washington Boulevard, Culver City, California, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Nicole Brown (President) [2]
ProductsMotion pictures
Owner Sony
Parent Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Sony Entertainment)
Divisions TriStar Productions

TriStar Pictures, Inc. (spelled as Tri-Star until 1991 and stylized on-screen as TRISTAR since 1992) is an American film studio and production company that is a member of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, [1] 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.


TriStar Pictures was established in 1983 and founded by Victor Kaufman as Nova Pictures.


Early era

The concept for TriStar Pictures was the brainchild of Victor Kaufman, a senior executive of Columbia Pictures (then a subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Company), [3] who convinced the studio, HBO, and CBS to share resources and split the ever-growing costs of making movies, creating a new joint venture in 1983. On May 16, 1983, it was given the name Tri-Star Pictures (when the new company was formed and did not have an official name, the press used the code-name "Nova", but the name could not be obtained as it was being used as the title for the PBS science series [4] [5] ). It was the first new major Hollywood studio to be established since RKO Pictures was founded in 1928. [6]

The studio's first produced film in 1984 was The Natural starring Robert Redford. Their first release, however, was the film, Where the Boys Are '84 ; a 1984 remake of the 1960 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer picture, Where the Boys Are that was co-distributed on behalf of ITC Entertainment after Universal rejected it; the film was a commercial flop. [7] During this venture, many of Tri-Star's releases were released on VHS by either RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video, CBS/Fox Video, and HBO/Cannon Video. In addition, HBO would own exclusive cable distribution rights to these films, and broadcast television licenses would go to CBS. [8]

CBS dropped out of the venture in 1985, [9] though they still distributed some of Tri-Star's films on home video until at least 1992. In 1986, HBO dropped out of the Tri-Star venture as well[ failed verification ] and sold half of its shares to Columbia Pictures. [10] The same year, Tri-Star entered into the television business as Tri-Star Television. It was formed when the studio joined forces with Stephen J. Cannell Productions and Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions and created a television distribution company called TeleVentures.

Columbia Pictures Entertainment era (1987–1989)

On December 21, 1987, Tri-Star Pictures, Inc. was renamed to Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. when Coke sold its entertainment business to Tri-Star for $3.1 billion. Both studios continued to produce and distribute films under their separate names. [11] On April 13, 1988, CPE spun off Tri-Star Pictures, Inc. as a reformed company of the Tri-Star studio. [12]

Sony era (1989–present)

In 1989, Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. was acquired by Sony Corporation of Japan, who merged Columbia and Tri-Star, but continued to use the separate labels. On July 11, 1990, Tri-Star Pictures dissolved and sold its venture in TeleVentures to Stephen J. Cannell Productions and TeleVentures became Cannell Distribution Co. Most of the series and the Tri-Star film packages that were distributed by TeleVentures were transferred to Columbia Pictures Television Distribution. [13] Sony Pictures Entertainment later revived TriStar Television as a television production banner in 1991 and merged with its sister television studio Columbia Pictures Television to form Columbia TriStar Television on February 21, 1994. [14] [15] Both studios continued to operate separately under the CTT umbrella until TriStar folded in 1999 and CPT in 2001.

In addition to its own slate, TriStar was the theatrical distributor for many films produced by Carolco Pictures (the rights to only one of their films, Cliffhanger , has been retained by TriStar). TriStar also theatrically distributed some FilmDistrict movies.

Around summer 1998, SPE merged Columbia and TriStar to form the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, but just like Columbia Pictures Entertainment, both divisions continued producing and distributing films under their own names.

TriStar was relaunched on May 13, 2004 as a marketing and acquisitions unit that had a "particular emphasis on genre films". [16] Screen Gems' executive vice president Valerie Van Galder was tapped to run the revived studio after being dormant. [17] However, the release of its 2013 film Elysium represents the label's first big-budget release since The Mask of Zorro in 1998.

The same year, former 20th Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman joined Sony Pictures and created TriStar Productions as a joint venture with existing Sony Pictures executives. The new TriStar will develop, finance and produce up to four films per year, as well as television programming and acquisitions, starting on September 1. [18] [19] [20] Sony's TriStar Pictures unit will be retained for "other product, including titles from Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions", and will distribute product from the new TriStar. [21]

Original Tri-Star logo used from 1984 until 1993 with the release of Cliffhanger. TriStar Pictures 1992 logo.png
Original Tri-Star logo used from 1984 until 1993 with the release of Cliffhanger .
The then-current TriStar logo used from June 25, 1993 until mid-2015, with modification in 2014. It makes a brief return in 2019's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood to blend with the film's late '90s setting. TriStar logo.jpg
The then-current TriStar logo used from June 25, 1993 until mid-2015, with modification in 2014. It makes a brief return in 2019’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood to blend with the film’s late ‘90s setting.

TriStar's logo features a Pegasus (either stationary or flying across the screen). The idea came about because of executive Victor Kaufman and his family's interest in riding horses. The original logo was created with the assistance of Sydney Pollack, who was an adviser at Tri-Star. The horse in that logo was the same one used in Pollack's film The Electric Horseman . The horse in that film was dark, so Pollack had the image altered to look white in the logo. [22]

The second logo was originally painted by Alan Reingold and debuted in 1992 (same time as the television division), along with sister studio Columbia Pictures, with both logos sharing a background of clouds. [23] The theatrical version was animated by Intralink Creative in 1993. The white stallion was shot in a hangar at the Santa Monica Airport. The wings were done by combining real white feathers and computer-generated-imagery then merged with Pegasus by computer morphing. The background is nighttime blue. The clouds were shot from the Haleakala Crater on Maui. [24]

In 2015, a new TriStar Pictures logo was made and debuted in The Walk . This time, it was animated by JAMM VFX. [25] The clouds are completely white in this iteration and it's clearly daytime; also, the Pegasus itself is white.

The original TriStar Pictures theme, which accompanied the studio's logo, was composed by jazz musician Dave Grusin. [26] The theme was remixed in 1993 by Bill Johnson and again in 1998.


See also

Related Research Articles

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.

Lorimar Productions, Inc., later known as Lorimar Television and Lorimar Distribution, was an American production company that was later a subsidiary of Warner Bros., active from 1969 until 1993. It was founded by Irwin Molasky, Merv Adelson, and Lee Rich. The company's name was a portmanteau of Adelson's then wife, Lori, and McClellan-Palomar Airport in San Diego.

Major film studios Film production and distribution company with high output

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 simply known as the majors, 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.

Sony Pictures Television Inc. is an American television production and distribution studio founded in 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.

Sony Pictures American television and film production and distribution unit of Sony

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. is an American entertainment company that produces, acquires, and distributes filmed entertainment 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 has been reported to be $9.133 billion.

Columbia TriStar Television American television production and distribution studio

Columbia TriStar Television, Inc. was an American television production and distribution studio 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.

Columbia Pictures Television American content company

Columbia Pictures Television, Inc. was launched on May 6, 1974 by Columbia Pictures as an American television production and distribution studio. It is the second name of the Columbia Pictures television division Screen Gems (SG) and the third name of Pioneer Telefilms. For 26 years, the company was active from 1974 until New Year's Day 2001, when it was folded into Columbia TriStar Television, a merger between Columbia Pictures Television and TriStar Television. A separate entity of CPT continues to exist on paper as an intellectual property holder, and under the moniker CPT Holdings to hold the copyright for the TV show The Young and the Restless, as well as old incarnations from the company's television library such as What's Happening!!.

TriStar Television Production label for Sony Pictures Television

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.

Merv Griffin Enterprises Former U.S. television production company

Merv Griffin Enterprises was an American television production company founded by Merv Griffin, in business for 31 years from 1963 to 1994.

ELP Communications

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 Japanese conglomerate Sony Corporation.

Screen Gems Film studio of the United States of America

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.

Savoy Pictures Defunct american independent film production and distribution company

Savoy Pictures Entertainment, Inc. was an American independent motion picture company in operation from 1992 to 1997. Among Savoy Pictures' noteworthy feature films were A Bronx Tale, No Escape, Last of the Dogmen and Serial Mom.

Spelling Television Inc. was an American television production company that went through several name changes. It was originally called Aaron Spelling Productions, then Spelling Entertainment Inc. and eventually part of Spelling Entertainment Group. The company produced popular shows such as The Love Boat, Dynasty, Beverly Hills, 90210, 7th Heaven, Melrose Place and Charmed. The company was founded by television producer Aaron Spelling on October 25, 1965. The company is currently an in-name-only unit of CBS Studios. A related company, Spelling-Goldberg Productions, co-existed during a portion of the same time period and produced other well-known shows such as Family, Charlie's Angels, Starsky & Hutch, and Fantasy Island but these series are not part of the modern day library now owned by ViacomCBS. Another related company, The Douglas S. Cramer Company co-existed during a portion of the same time period, produced shows like Wonder Woman, Joe and Sons, and Bridget Loves Bernie and television films like Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway.

New Line Home Entertainment

New Line Home Entertainment was the home entertainment distribution arm of New Line Cinema, founded in 1990. According to New Line's website, Misery was the first New Line Home Video release.

CBS Films Inc. is an American film production and distribution company founded in 2007 as a subsidiary of CBS Corporation and was considered a mini-major studio up until 2019.

TriStar Productions

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.


  1. 1 2 "Divisions - Sony Pictures". Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  2. "Nicole Brown To Lead TriStar In Wake Of Hannah Minghella Exit To Bad Robot". October 17, 2019.
  3. "Victor Kaufman - Founding TriStar Pictures". Vimeo.
  4. "What's in a name". Broadcasting: 102. 1983-05-16.
  5. Palmer, L. (1998) "How to write it, how to sell it: everything a screenwriter needs to know about Hollywood" (pp. 232–235). St. Martin's Press, New York. ISBN   0-312-18726-2.
  6. Holt, J. (2011). Empires of Entertainment: Media Industries and the Politics of Deregulation, 1980–1996 (p. 46). Rutgers University Press, Piscataway, NJ, USA. ISBN   978-0-8135-5052-7.
  7. London, Michael. "Tri-Star Bows With a Universal Castoff". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (February 18, 1984).
  8. Prince, S. (2000) A new pot of gold: Hollywood under the electronic rainbow, 1980–1989 (p. 31). Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. ISBN   0-684-80493-X.
  9. "CBS Sells Stake In Tri-Star Inc". The New York Times . Associated Press. 16 November 1985.
  10. Prince, Stephen (2002) [2000]. A New Pot of Gold: Hollywood Under the Electronic Rainbow . History of the American Cinema Vol. 10. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p.  31. ISBN   9780520232662 . Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  11. KATHRYN HARRIS (September 2, 1987) Coke, Tri-Star Confirm Plans for $3.1-Billion Deal Los Angeles Times , Retrieved on August 8, 2013
  12. "State of New York Division of Corporations - Entity Search: Tri-Star Pictures, Inc" . Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  13. "IN BRIEF". Broadcasting: 110. 1990-07-16.
  14. "TriStar President Expected to Head Combined Unit". Los Angeles Times , February 11, 1994. Retrieved on June 28, 2012
  15. "EBSCO Host Connection" Feltheimer heads new Columbia TriStar TV, Retrieved on December 18, 2012
  16. "Sony Pictures – Corporate Fact Sheet". Sony Pictures Entertainment. Archived from the original on January 7, 2012. The label will have a particular emphasis on genre filmsCS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  17. Brodesser, Claude; Dunkley, Cathy (May 13, 2004). "TriStar takes flight again". Variety Magazine. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  18. Fleming, Mike Jr. Tom Rothman To Launch New TriStar Productions Label For Sony Deadline Hollywood (August 1, 2013).
  19. Faughnder, Ryan (August 1, 2013). "Tom Rothman teams with Sony Pictures to create TriStar Productions". Los Angeles Times.
  20. MICHAEL CIEPLY (August 1, 2013) Sony Hires Rothman to Head Revived TriStar Unit The New York Times , Retrieved on August 2, 2013
  21. "Industry News: Sony Pictures and Tom Rothman Launching TriStar Productions".
  22. "Victor Kaufman – Creating the TriStar Logo". Vimeo.
  23. "ArtsWestchester's Arts Exchange: Alan Reingold". Westchester. September 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  24. Suzan Ayscough "Variety" June 18, 1993 TriStar unveils new logo, Retrieved on January 7, 2015
  25. "JAMM VFX". Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  26. "Tri-Star Logo Theme by Dave Grusin". Most Popular Songs. Retrieved August 13, 2012.