April 7, 2021

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.

Although independent cinema is amazing in its own right, there are plenty of things that can’t be done without the assistance of production companies. As of now, the industry is practically dominated by five parent studios: NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia, Walt Disney Studios, and Sony Pictures. The others don’t hold nearly as much power in the business as these titans. Please note that all market share statistics were taken in 2019.

  1. Universal Pictures

Run by NBCUniversal and its studio conglomerate Comcast, Universal Pictures was founded in 1912 and holds some pretty noteworthy substudios. Focus Features, Working Title Films, Dreamworks, and Illumination are all recognized as big deals in modern mainstream cinema. They hold 11.5% market share.

  1. Paramount Pictures

With instantly recognizable names such as Miramax, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures is now owned by ViacomCBS and National Amusements. They were founded less than a month after Universal Pictures, but own less than half of their market share at 5%.

  1. Warner Bros. Pictures & New Line Cinema

Founded in 1923 and 1967 respectively, these two unite under the ownership of WarnerMedia & AT&T to hold 13.9% market share. If you’ve heard of CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network, DC Films, TruTV, or Flagship Entertainment, then you’ve heard of these.

  1. Walt Disney Pictures & 20th Century Studios

Holding a whopping 33.5% market share, it’s no surprise that Walt Disney Studios and The Walt Disney Company are as massive as they are despite their humble beginnings in 1923 and 1935, respectively. Searchlight Pictures, ESPN, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Pixar, and Walt Disney Animation Studios are names that everyone’s heard before. These guys are absorbing every smaller studio in sight, and they probably won’t stop until the only thing left to consume is themselves.

  1. Columbia Pictures & Tristar Pictures

Owned by Sony Pictures and the larger conglomerate Sony, Columbia Pictures was founded in 1924 and Tristar Pictures in 1982 as a secondary studio. They currently have 12.1% market share and have some recognition in Sony Pictures Classics, Stage 6 Films, Aniplex, Funimation, and Sony Pictures Animation. They also might obtain Crunchyroll in the near future, meaning that they would have a near-monopoly over the anime industry.

It’s also worth noting that RKO Radio Pictures, United Artists, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and 20th Century Fox were also considered to be major studios before they either faded away or merged into their competitors.


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