Sony Pictures Entertainment

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Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.
Subsidiary of Sony[1]
Industry Entertainment
Founded December 21, 1987; 30 years ago (December 21, 1987) as Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc.,[2] renamed Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. on August 7, 1991; 27 years ago (August 7, 1991)
Headquarters 10202 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, California, United States
Area served
Key people
Michael Lynton
(Chairman and CEO)
Revenue Increase US$ 8 billion (FY2014)[3]
Increase US$ 501 million (FY2013)[3]
Parent Sony
Slogan Lighting Up Screens Around the World

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. (SPE) is the American entertainment subsidiary of Japanese multinational technology and media conglomerate Sony.

Based in Culver City, California, it encompasses Sony's motion picture, television production and distribution units. Its group sales in March 31, 2014 has been reported to be of $8 billion.[3][4]

Throughout the years, SPE has produced, distributed, or co-distributed successful franchises such as Spider-Man, Men in Black, Underworld, and Resident Evil.[5]

Sony Pictures Entertainment is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America.[6]


On September 1, 1987, The Coca-Cola Company announced plans to spin-off its assets of Columbia Pictures, which they had owned since 1982. Under this arrangement, Coca-Cola would sell their entertainment assets to Tri-Star Pictures, of which they owned 39.6%. Tri-Star would be renamed to Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. (CPE), with Coca-Cola owning 49%, its shareholders owning 31%, and Tri-Star's shareholders owning 20%.[7][8] A new company was formed in early 1988 with the Tri-Star name to take over the studio's production operations.[9]

On September 28, 1989, Sony obtained an option to purchase all of The Coca-Cola Company's stock in CPE for $27 per share.[10] 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.[11] 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. Said agreement also saw Columbia sell its 35% interest in the Burbank Studios, and acquired Lorimar Studios, previously the MGM lot, from Warner Bros.[12][13]

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 Delaware 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 on November 9, 1989. 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.[14][15][16] The company was renamed Sony Pictures Entertainment on August 7, 1991.[17][18]

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.[19][20][21]

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? 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 website were leaked.[22]

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.[5] 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.[23][24][25][26] It was also announced on the same day, that there will be more Spider-Man sequels and spin-offs.[27]

On January 22, 2014, SPE folded its technology unit into its various cores of its businesses.[28] 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.[29] On February 6, 2014, Sony Pictures Entertainment, through their legal name "Columbia TriStar Warner Filmes de Portugal Ltda.", announced that they will close their offices in Portugal on March 31.[30]

On November 20, 2015, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced that they will release Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc releases. The first set will be in early 2016 and will include film and television content.[31]

In November 2014, the Sony Pictures computer network was compromised by a group of hackers named Guardians of Peace, disabling many computers.[32] 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.[33][34][35] 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."[36] The hack also revealed some other plans, like a partnership with Marvel Studios for the inclusion of the superhero Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War.[37] 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".[38] On December 17, 2014 Sony cancelled the previously planned December 25 release of The Interview in response to hacker threats.[39]

On February 24, 2015, Tom Rothman was named chairman of SPE's motion picture group to replace Amy Pascal.[40][41]

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.[42][43]

Corporate structure

Headquartered in Culver City, California, USA, SPE comprises various studios and entertainment brands, including Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures and GSN.

Senior management team

List of holdings

Motion Pictures and Home Entertainment

  • Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group:[44] With a library of more than 4,000 films (including 12 Academy Award for Best Picture winners), as of 2004 this unit of Sony distributes about 22 films a year under its various studio brands in 67 countries.[4] The group owns studio facilities in the United States, Hong Kong, Madrid, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Japan. In addition to the company-owned brands below, Sony Pictures also has a contract to distribute select films by MGM and United Artists.


Production and distribution
  • Sony Pictures Television Group: (formerly Columbia TriStar Television Group) The successor-in-interest to Columbia's television division (first Screen Gems, later Columbia Pictures Television, Coca-Cola Television, TriStar Television (A division of Columbia Pictures Television), and Columbia TriStar Television), as of 2004 the unit was producing 60 titles for various television outlets globally. Contains a library that includes more than 35,000 episodes of more than 270 television series and 22,000 game show episodes under the Columbia TriStar Television brand, and the television rights to the Embassy Pictures library (including The Graduate and The Lion in Winter) and also the owner of the television division "Embassy Television"—among most recent notable shows in this library are Seinfeld, King of Queens, Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless. Their former international distribution division, Sony Pictures Television International, was responsible for global distribution for the SPE film and television properties worldwide. Formerly known as Columbia TriStar International Television from 1992 to 2002.
    • 2waytraffic: Acquired by Sony in 2008, this television production company owns a number of formats, most notably including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
    • Adelaide Productions
    • Barris Industries: Formed in 1965 by Chuck Barris as Chuck Barris Productions. Renamed to Barris Industries in 1981. Merged with the Guber-Peters Company in 1988 and renamed as Guber-Peters Entertainment Company in 1989.
    • Barry & Enright Productions (post-scandal), including Jack Barry Productions: Formed in 1947 by Jack Barry and Dan Enright, shut down in 1959, and reformed in 1975. Later renamed Stafford-Enright Productions in 1991. Sony acquired the library in 1992.
    • Culver Entertainment
    • Electric Ray: Founded by Karl Warner with SPT in January 2014.[47]
    • ELP Communications (ELPC) and Tandem Licensing Corporation (TLC): The two in-name only units of Sony Pictures Television own the productions' copyrights presented by Norman Lear's former companies: Tandem Productions and ELP Communications (series from T.A.T. to ELP Communications). The companies were formed by Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear in 1958 as Tandem Productions. Yorkin ended his partnership with Lear in 1975, but remained with Tandem. Lear and his partner Jerry Perenchio sold Tandem/Embassy Television to The Coca-Cola Company in 1985 and later became Embassy Communications in 1986 (later became ELP Communications in 1988). ELPC and TLC are part of Sony Pictures Entertainment since 1991.
    • Embassy Row: A television and digital production company by Michael Davies. SPT acquired the company on January 14, 2009.
    • Floresta
    • Four D Productions: Independent production house founded by Danny Arnold in 1974. Acquired by The Coca-Cola Company in 1986.[48]
    • Gogglebox Entertainment
    • Lean-M Producers Center: A Russian production company founded in 2000 by Timur Weinstein, Vyacheslav Murugov and Oleg Osipov. In 2007, SPTI acquired a majority stake in Lean-M, with an additional 16% on April 13, 2009 [49] and the remainder in 2010.
    • Left Bank Pictures: A UK production company founded by Andy Harries, Francis Hopkinson, and Marigo Kehoe in 2007. Majority stake acquired by SPT in 2012.
    • Merv Griffin Enterprises: Founded in 1964 by Merv Griffin as Merv Griffin Productions. He sold his company to The Coca-Cola Company in 1986 as Merv Griffin Enterprises and was a subsidiary of Columbia Pictures Entertainment from 1988 to 1991 and Sony Pictures Entertainment from 1991 to 1994.
    • Silver River Productions
    • Stellify Media: A joint venture between SPT, Kieran Doherty, and Matt Worthy launched in 2014 for Northern Ireland.[50]
    • Stewart Television: Formed in 1964 by Bob Stewart. Merged with SPE in 1994.
    • Teleset
    • Victory Television: A UK television production company that was founded in 2011; a joint-venture with Victoria Ashbourne.
    • Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd.: A subsidiary based in India. Sony Entertainment Television (India) and SAB TV are its main brands although it owns many other companies and brands under the Sony brand.
Television Networks

Other Sony Pictures operations

Entrance to SPE main lot in Culver City
  • Sony Pictures Cable Ventures, Inc.
  • Sony Pictures Studios: The actual physical buildings, land and movie-making equipment properties in Culver City, California. Includes 22 sound stages, ranging in size from 7,600 to 43,000 square feet (700 to 4,000 m²)
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (SPEJ): The company plans, produces, manufactures, sells, imports, exports, leases, broadcasts and distributes movies, TV programs, videos and audio-visual software in Japan. The company web site says it was established on February 10, 1984,[57] predating Sony's acquisition of Columbia Pictures Entertainment by 5 years. SPEJ was formed in 1991 through the merger of Columbia TriStar Japan, RCA-Columbia Pictures Video Japan, and Japan International Enterprises.[58] Based in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Sony Pictures Europe: Offices located at 25 Golden Square, London, England
  • Sony Pictures Studios Post Production Facilities
  • Worldwide Product Fulfillment


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External links