Columbia Pictures

3.4409127954748 (2454)
Posted by bender 05/03/2009 @ 16:07

Tags : columbia pictures, film studios, cinema, entertainment

News headlines
Columbia Pictures Delays Production of 'Moneyball' -
According to the New York Times, Columbia Pictures has decided to delay the production of "Moneyball." Production of the baseball drama starring Brad Pitt was reportedly scheduled to begin Monday, June 22, in Phoenix. Steven Soderbergh was slated to...
Comedy rules box office: 'Proposal' scores big, 'Hangover' still ... - Los Angeles Times
"Year One" (Sony/Columbia Pictures): Opened to $20.2 million 5."Taking of Pelham 123" (Sony/Columbia Pictures): $11.3 million, a 52% drop from its opening weekend. Domestic total: $43.3 million. 6. "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian"...
Production on 'Moneyball' film halted - Los Angeles Times
Columbia Pictures has dropped the ball on “Moneyball,” the Steven Soderbergh-directed Brad Pitt-starrer that was supposed to begin production Monday in Phoenix. On Friday, Columbia Pictures topper Amy Pascal placed the picture into “limited turnaround...
Year One (Columbia Pictures, PG-13) - Play by Play
There are several problems with the film, and at the top of that list is the main characters' seeming lack of interest in most of the things that happen to them. Year One is the silly summer comedy you've been looking for. Almost....
TV drama stars thrive in dark roles - Washington Post
His comedy "Year One" opened this weekend via Columbia Pictures with Jack Black and Michael Cera as lazy hunter-gatherers on a Biblical epic road trip after being kicked out of their primitive village. The film opened at No....
ZOMBIELAND Trailer Online - Mania
By Jarrod Sarafin June 20, 2009 Columbia Pictures has unleashed the first trailer for their horror-comedy Zombieland courtesy of Apple and the official website. You can click on those options for the HD versions or watch it in the video player below....
Dan Aykroyd hopes to scare up 'Ghostbusters' again - San Jose Mercury News
Still, Aykroyd and Columbia Pictures are true believers when it comes to the franchise's 21st century afterlife, and one of the main reasons is the recently released "Ghostbusters: The Video Game," a fact that says plenty about the changing physics of...
The top movies at the North American box office - Reuters
"Year One" and "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" were released by Columbia Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp (6758.T) (SNE.N). "Land of the Lost" was released by Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co's (GE.N) NBC Universal....
'2012' prophecy film coming in November -
The movie was originally slated as a summer release, but Sony/Columbia Pictures and Roland Emmerich wanted more time to polish it. The disaster epic stars John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton and Woody Harrelson....
Everyman, Tempted - New York Times
Jack Lemmon flanked by Dorothy Provine and Romy Schneider in “Good Neighbor Sam,” included in a new collection of films Lemmon made for Columbia Pictures from 1954 to 1964. Where Peck, for example, seemed to embody the World War II squadron leader...

Columbia Pictures

The Columbia Pictures logo from 1993 to the present.

Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. (CPII) is an American film production and distribution company. It was one of the so-called Little Three among the eight major film studios of Hollywood's Golden Age.

Today, as part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group—owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony—it is one of the leading film companies in the world, a member of the so-called Big Six. It has no connection with CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System).

The studio, founded in 1919 as Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales by brothers Jack and Harry Cohn and Joe Brandt, released its first feature film in August 1922. It adopted the Columbia Pictures name in 1924 and went public two years later. In its early years a minor player in Hollywood, Columbia began to grow in the late 1920s, spurred by a successful association with director Frank Capra.

With Capra and others, Columbia became one of the primary homes of the screwball comedy. In the 1930s, Columbia's major contract stars were Jean Arthur and Cary Grant (who was shared with RKO Pictures). In the 1940s, Rita Hayworth became the studio's premier star and propelled their fortunes into the late 1950s. Rosalind Russell, Glenn Ford, and William Holden also became major stars at the studio.

In 1982, the studio was purchased by Coca-Cola; that same year it launched Tri-Star Pictures as a joint venture with HBO and CBS. Five years later, Coca-Cola divested Columbia, which merged with Tri-Star. After a brief period of independence, the combined studio was acquired by Sony in 1989.

In 2009, Columbia Pictures will celebrate its 85th Anniversary.

The predecessor of Columbia Pictures, Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales, was founded in 1919 by Harry Cohn, his brother Jack Cohn, and Joe Brandt.

Following a reorganization, partner Brandt was bought out, and Harry Cohn took over as president. In an effort to improve its image, the Cohn brothers renamed the company Columbia Pictures Corporation in 1924. Columbia's product line consisted mostly of moderately budgeted features and short subjects including comedies, sports films, various serials, and cartoons. Columbia gradually moved into the production of higher-budget fare, building a reputation as one of Hollywood's more important studios.

Helping Columbia's climb was the arrival of an ambitious director, Frank Capra. Between 1927 and 1939, Capra constantly pushed Cohn for better material and bigger budgets. A string of hits he directed in the early 1930s, particularly Lady for a Day and the Oscar-winning It Happened One Night, solidified Columbia's status as a major studio. Other Capra-directed hits followed, including the original version of Lost Horizon, with Ronald Colman, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which made James Stewart a major star.

Columbia couldn't afford to keep a huge roster of contract stars under contract, so they usually borrowed them from other studios. In the 1930s they signed Jean Arthur to a long-term contract, and after The Whole Town's Talking (1935), Arthur became a major comedy star. Cary Grant signed a contract in 1937 and soon after it was altered to a non-exclusive contract shared with RKO.

At Harry Cohn's insistence the studio signed The Three Stooges in 1934. Rejected by MGM (which kept straight-man Ted Healy but let the Stooges go), the Stooges made 190 shorts for Columbia between 1934 and 1957. Columbia's short-subject department employed many famous comedians, including Buster Keaton, Charley Chase, Harry Langdon, Andy Clyde, and Hugh Herbert. Almost 400 of Columbia's 529 two-reel comedies were released to television in the late 1950s; to date, only the Stooges and Keaton subjects have been released to home video.

In the early 1930s Columbia distributed Walt Disney's famous Mickey Mouse cartoons. In 1934 the studio established its own animation house, under the Screen Gems brand; Columbia's leading cartoon series were Krazy Kat, Scrappy, The Fox and the Crow, and (very briefly) Li'l Abner. In the late 1940s Columbia agreed to release animated shorts from United Productions of America; these new shorts were more sophisticated than Columbia's older cartoons, and many won critical praise and industry awards.

According to Bob Thomas's book King Cohn, studio chief Harry Cohn always placed a high priority on serials. Beginning in 1937 Columbia entered the lucrative serial market, and kept making these episodic adventures until 1956, after other studios had discontinued them. The most famous Columbia serials are based on comic-strip or radio characters: Mandrake the Magician, The Shadow, Terry and the Pirates, Captain Midnight, The Phantom, Batman, and Superman, among many others.

Columbia also produced musical shorts, sports reels (usually narrated by sportscaster Bill Stern), and travelogues. Its "Screen Snapshots" series, showing behind-the-scenes footage of Hollywood stars, was a Columbia perennial; producer-director Ralph Staub kept this series going through 1958.

Columbia dropped the Screen Gems brand from its cartoon line, but retained the Screen Gems name for various ancillary activities, including a 16 mm film-rental agency and a TV-commercial production company. In 1948, Columbia adopted the Screen Gems name for its television production subsidiary. Screen Gems became a major producer of situation comedies for TV, beginning with Father Knows Best. The Donna Reed Show, The Partridge Family, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie and The Monkees followed.

In the 1940s, propelled in part by their film's surge in audiences during the war, the studio also benefited from the popularity of its biggest star, Rita Hayworth. Columbia maintained a long list of contractees well into the 1950s: Glenn Ford, Penny Singleton, William Holden, Judy Holliday, The Three Stooges, Ann Miller, Evelyn Keyes, Ann Doran, Jack Lemmon, Cleo Moore, Barbara Hale, Adele Jergens, Larry Parks, Arthur Lake, Lucille Ball, Kerwin Mathews, and Kim Novak.

Harry Cohn monitored the budgets of his films, and the studio got the maximum use out of costly sets, costumes, and props by reusing them in other films. Many of Columbia's low-budget "B" pictures and short subjects have an expensive look, thanks to Columbia's efficient recycling policy. Cohn was reluctant to spend lavish sums on even his most important pictures, and it wasn't until 1943 that he agreed to use three-strip Technicolor in a live-action feature. (Columbia was the last major studio to employ the expensive color process.) Columbia's first Technicolor feature was the western The Desperadoes, starring Randolph Scott and Glenn Ford. Cohn quickly used Technicolor again for Cover Girl, starring the vibrant, red-haired Rita Hayworth, released in 1944, and for the fanciful biography of Frederic Chopin, A Song to Remember, with Cornel Wilde, released in 1945. Another biopic, 1946's The Jolson Story with Larry Parks and Evelyn Keyes, was started in black-and-white, but when Cohn saw how well the project was proceeding, he scrapped the footage and insisted on filming in Technicolor.

In 1948 the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. anti-trust decision forced Hollywood motion picture companies to divest themselves of the theatre chains that they owned. Columbia, which did not own theaters, was now on equal terms with the largest studios, and soon joined the ranks of the "Big Five" studios.

By 1950 Columbia had discontinued most of its popular series films (Boston Blackie, Blondie, The Lone Wolf, The Crime Doctor, Rusty, etc.) Only Jungle Jim, launched by producer Sam Katzman in 1949, kept going through 1955. Katzman contributed greatly to Columbia's success by producing dozens of topical feature films, including crime dramas, science-fiction stories, and rock-'n'-roll musicals. (For details about these Columbia releases of the 1950s, see the Wikipedia entry on Sam Katzman.) Columbia kept making serials until 1956 and two-reel comedies until 1957, after other studios had discontinued them.

As the larger studios declined in the 1950s, Columbia took the lead, continuing to produce 40-plus pictures a year, offering adult fare that often broke ground and kept audiences coming to theaters. A good example of a ground-breaking Columbia film was its adaptation of the controversial James Jones novel, From Here to Eternity, released in 1953, which won the Best Picture Oscar. Columbia also won the next year (1954) with another hard-hitting story, On the Waterfront. The studio won Best Picture again in 1957, when it released The Bridge on the River Kwai with William Holden and Alec Guinness.

Columbia also released the made-in-England Warwick Films by producers Irving Allen and Albert R. Broccoli as well as many films by producer Carl Foreman who resided in England. Columbia also distributed some films made by Hammer.

Columbia president and production director Harry Cohn died in February 1958.

By the late 1960s, Columbia had an ambiguous identity, offering old-fashioned fare like A Man for All Seasons and Oliver! along with the more contemporary Easy Rider and The Monkees. After turning down releasing Albert R. Broccoli's Eon Productions James Bond films, Columbia hired Broccoli's former partner Irving Allen to produce the Matt Helm series with Dean Martin. Columbia also produced a James Bond spoof, Casino Royale (1967), in conjunction with Charles K. Feldman, which held the adaptation rights for that novel.

Columbia Pictures Corporation was renamed Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. in 1968. Nearly bankrupt by the early 1970s, the studio was saved via a radical overhaul: the Gower Street studios were sold and a new management team was brought in. While fiscal health was restored through a careful choice of star-driven vehicles, the studio's image was badly hurt by the David Begelman check-forging scandal. Begelman eventually resigned (later ending up at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), and the studio's fortunes gradually recovered.

From 1971 until the end of 1987, Columbia's international distribution operations were a joint venture with Warner Bros., and in some countries, this joint venture also distributed films from other companies (like EMI Films and Cannon Films in the UK). Warners pulled out of the venture in 1988 to join up with Walt Disney Pictures.

In 1974, Columbia retired the Screen Gems name from television, renaming its television division Columbia Pictures Television.

With a healthier balance-sheet, Columbia was bought by Coca-Cola in 1982, after having considered buying the struggling Walt Disney Productions. Studio head Frank Price mixed big hits like Tootsie, The Karate Kid, and Ghostbusters with many costly flops. In 1985, Columbia acquired Norman Lear and Jerry Perenchio's Embassy Pictures division Embassy Television (included Tandem Productions), mostly for its library of highly successful television series such as All in the Family and The Jeffersons. Expanding its television franchise, Columbia also bought Merv Griffin Enterprises the following year.

To share the increasing cost of film production, Coke brought in two outside investors whose earlier efforts in Hollywood had come to nothing. In 1982, Columbia, Time Inc.'s HBO and CBS announced, as a joint venture, "Nova Pictures"; this enterprise was to be renamed Tri-Star Pictures. CBS dropped out of the venture in 1984. Three years later, HBO also dropped out, and Tri-Star expanded into the television business with its new Tri-Star Television division. In December 1987, Tri-Star Television was folded into Columbia Pictures Television. In 1986, Columbia recruited British producer David Puttnam to head the studio. He held the position for only one year.

The volatile film business made Coke shareholders nervous, and following the box-office failure, Ishtar, Coke spun off its entertainment holdings in 1987. The new stand-alone company, Columbia Pictures Entertainment Inc., brought Tri-Star fully into the fold in December 1987, creating Columbia/Tri-Star. Puttnam was succeeded by Dawn Steel, the first woman to run a Hollywood motion picture studio. Other small-scale, "boutique" entities were created: Nelson Entertainment, a joint venture with British and Canadian partners; Triumph Films, jointly owned with French studio Gaumont; and Castle Rock Entertainment. In 1989, further expanding the TV franchise, Columbia Pictures Television acquired Barris Industries.

The Columbia Pictures empire was sold in 1989 to electronics giant Sony, one of several Japanese firms then buying American properties. Sony then hired two producers, Peter Guber and Jon Peters to serve as co-heads of production when Sony also acquired Guber-Peters Entertainment. Guber and Peters had just signed a long-term contract with Warner Bros; to extricate them from this contract, Sony ended up paying hundreds of millions of dollars, gave up a half-interest in its Columbia House Records Club mail-order business, and bought from Warner the former MGM studio in Culver City which Warners had acquired in its takeover of Lorimar in 1990. Sony spent $100 million to refurbish the rechristened Sony Pictures Studios. Guber and Peters set out to prove they were worth this fortune, and though there were to be some successes, there were also many costly flops. Peters resigned in 1991, to be followed soon after by Guber.

The entire operation was reorganized and renamed Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) in 1991, and at the same time, TriStar (which had officially lost its hyphen) relauched its television division. Publicly humiliated, Sony suffered an enormous loss on its investment in Columbia, taking a $2.7 billion write-off in 1994. John Calley took over as SPE president in November 1996, installing Amy Pascal as Columbia Pictures president and Chris Lee as president of production at TriStar. By the next spring, the studios were clearly rebounding, setting a record pace at the box office. In 1998, Columbia and TriStar merged to form the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group (a.k.a. Columbia TriStar Pictures), though both studios still produce and distribute under their own names. Pascal retained her position as president of the newly united Columbia Pictures, while Lee became the combined studio's head of production.

In 1994, Columbia Pictures Television and TriStar Television were integrated into Columbia TriStar Television (CTT), including the rights to Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!. In 1994 as well, the television library expanded when Susan Stafford sold Barry & Enright Productions, which included the post-scandal Jack Barry Productions (excluding those owned by NBC), to CTT. The company also purchased Stewart Tele Enterprises. In 1997, Columbia Pictures ranked as the highest grossing movie studio in the United States with a gross of $1.256 billion. In 1999, Sony Pictures Entertainment relaunched the Screen Gems brand as a horror and independent film distribution company and TriStar Television was folded into CTT. Two years later, CPT was folded into CTT as well.

In the 1990s, Columbia announced plans of a rival James Bond franchise, since they owned the rights of Casino Royale and were planning to make a third version of Thunderball with Kevin McClory. MGM and Danjaq, LLC, owners of the franchise, sued Sony Pictures in 1997, with the legal dispute ending two years later in an out-of-court settlement. Sony traded the Casino Royale rights for $10 million, and the Spider-Man filming rights. The superhero has since become Columbia's most successful franchise, with the first movie coming out in 2002 and having since since gained two sequels, with plans for two more.

In the 2000s, Sony broadened its release schedule by creating Sony Pictures Classics for arthouse fare, and by backing Revolution Studios, the production company headed by Joe Roth. In 2002, Columbia TriStar Television was renamed Sony Pictures Television. Also in 2002, Columbia broke the record for biggest domestic theatrical gross, with a tally of $1.575 billion, coincidentally breaking its own record of $1.256 billion set in 1997, which was raised by such blockbusters as Spider-Man, Men in Black II and xXx. The studio was also the most lucrative of 2004, with over $1.338 billion dollars in the domestic box office with movies such as Spider-Man 2, 50 First Dates and The Grudge, and in 2006, Columbia, helped by such blockbusters as The Da Vinci Code, The Pursuit of Happyness and Casino Royale, not only finished the year in first place, but it reached an all time record high cume of $1.711 billion, which is still an all-time yearly record for any studio.

Columbia's logo, a lady carrying a torch and draped in the American flag (representing Columbia, a personification of the United States), has gone through five major revisions.

The logo originally appeared in 1924. This version had no clouds, and had rays emanating from the torch in a flickering style of animation. The "Torch Lady" wore a headdress, and above her were the words "A Columbia Production" written in an arch.

In 1936, the logo was changed: the "Torch Lady" now stood on a pedestal, wore no headdress, and the single word "Columbia" appeared in chiseled letters behind her. The animation was improved so that the torch now radiated light instead of the more artificial-looking rays of light projecting from the torch. There were several variations to the logo over the years—significantly, a color version was done in 1943 for The Desperadoes, and the flag became just a drape with no markings—but it remained substantially the same for 40 years. 1976's Taxi Driver was one of the last films to use the "Torch Lady" in her classic appearance.

In 1976, Columbia (like other studios) experimented with a new logo. Visual effects pioneer Robert Abel was hired by the studio for this logo's animation. It began with the familiar lady with a torch. Then, the camera zoomed in on the torch, and the torch-light rays then formed an abstract blue semicircle depicting the top half of the rays of light, with the name of the studio appearing under it. (A variation on this was used in the 2007 film Superbad.) The television counterpart used only the latter part of the logo, and the semicircle was either orange or red.

The Torch Lady returned in 1981, replacing this "sunburst" logo. The words "Columbia Pictures" now straddled the Torch Lady, who was less detailed in appearance. The shape of the lady's body was described as resembling a bottle of Coca-Cola (which owned Columbia at the time).

The current logo was created in 1993, when the logo was repainted digitally by New Orleans artist, Michael Deas, who was commissioned to return the lady to her "classic" look. The animation starts with a bright light, which zooms out to reveal the torch and then the lady. Deas used Jenny Joseph, a homemaker and mother of two children but used a composite for the face. The television counterpart used a still version of this logo, which actually debuted in 1992, a year before the movie counterpart debuted.

The logo has sometimes been used in special ways for some movies. The Mouse That Roared (1959) had a live action logo who was shown being frightened by a mouse, and in Cat Ballou (1965) she became a cartoon Jane Fonda with a six-shooter in each hand. She also danced before the opening credits of Thank God It's Friday (1978), and appeared decapitated with her head resting at her feet at the end of Strait-Jacket.

To the top

Columbia Pictures Television

Columbia Pictures Television logo, used from May 1992-Early 2001.

Columbia Pictures Television (CPT) was the second name of the Columbia Pictures television division Screen Gems (SG). The studio changed its name on September 4, 1974.

CPT was home to the popular daytime soap operas Days of our Lives and The Young and the Restless. During the 1970s and '80s, CPT made many co-productions with Spelling-Goldberg Productions, including S.W.A.T., Starsky & Hutch, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, Hart to Hart, and T.J. Hooker.

CPT assumed control of most Screen Gems properties, including I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Partridge Family, The Monkees, The Flying Nun, and Gidget.

The 1980s brought significant changes to CPT. In 1982, The Coca-Cola Company bought Columbia Pictures Industries and its new logo, now a modernized version of the studio's classic "Torch Lady" logo, although with gold robe and gold text, added the byline "A Unit of The Coca-Cola Company." In 1984, Columbia Pictures Television joined forces with Lexington Broadcast Services Company by creating a joint venture between the two companies called Colex Enterprises.

In 1985, Norman Lear's hit TV shows joined the CPT family when the studio acquired Embassy Television (ET), the television division of Embassy Pictures and Tandem Productions, which included a large library of shows, such as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude, Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, One Day At A Time, Who's The Boss?, and Silver Spoons, among others. Meanwhile, CPT and LBS Communications produced What's Happening Now!! as the 1980s sequel of What's Happening!!. CPT considered the 1970s version as their own after acquiring the Tandem/Embassy TV library.

In 1986, Embassy Television, Embassy Telecommunications and Tandem Productions were merged to become Embassy Communications (off-screen known as, Columbia-Embassy Television). This was because Diff'rent Strokes was cancelled by ABC and Tandem Productions was abandoned since there were no more television programs produced by the company after Archie Bunker's Place ended in 1983. CET continued to use CPT and EC as their separate names on the air. Embassy added a Coca-Cola byline that year. Coke also acquired Merv Griffin Enterprises, known for producing the popular game shows, Jeopardy! and day and night versions of Wheel of Fortune. CPT, meanwhile, went on to produce the hit sitcom, Designing Women.

In 1987, Coca-Cola, meanwhile launched a television distribution arm of CPT called Coca-Cola Telecommunications (CCTC). This company label distributed the syndicated version of The Real Ghostbusters, Dinosaucers, and the last two seasons of Punky Brewster, distribution of the latter show having been acquired from NBC due to FCC rules. A merger took place in 1987 when Columbia Pictures acquired TriStar Pictures (Tri-Star) from partners CBS and HBO, and on December 21, 1987, CET, CCTC, and TriStar Television (TSTV) merged to form a brand new Columbia Pictures Television, as part of the new Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. (CPE) The CPE byline appeared in the company's logo, which otherwise remained the same as the Coca-Cola version until 1989, when CPT began using then-current movie logo with "Television" and the CPE byline optically added in.

After 1988, the shows that were produced by Embassy Communications were now produced by CPT, but in the closing credits, the copyright was going to the new ELP Communications.

By forming a new and single television distribution entity, Columbia Pictures merged the television distribution banners of Embassy Communications, Colex Enterprises, and Coca-Cola Telecommunications to form the new Columbia Pictures Television Distribution.

In 1989, Columbia Pictures Entertainment acquired Barris Industries, the former name of Chuck Barris Productions including the library of game shows like The Newlywed Game, The Dating Game, and The Gong Show, among others.

In 1989, Sony Corporation bought CPT's parent, CPE, from Coke, and in 1991, CPE changed its name to Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). Also that year, TriStar Television was re-created as a TV production label. The logo for CPT(which was from 1987) became bylineless for that favor.

In July 1992, within the favor that CPT was now owned by Sony, a new logo, which included a digitally-remade version of the familiar "Torch Lady", and a brand new byline for SPE debuted. This is known as the "90's Torch Lady" logo. (This coincidentially was also done for TriStar Television that same year, as well as Merv Griffin Enterprises in 1993.) The digitally remade version eventually was created for the movie counterpart as well in 1993.

On January 3, 1994, CPT and TSTV launched Columbia TriStar Television (CTT) as a joint venture between the two television companies, and CTT also had the rights to produce the ELP Communications shows, as well as Merv Griffin's Jeopardy! and the night version Wheel of Fortune, the shows were still distributed by King World, (although Griffin still held the copyrights to both shows). That same year, Susan Stafford, the former letter turner of Wheel of Fortune along with Jack Barry's family sold Barry & Enright Productions to SPE, and the CTT family was further expanded when Stewart Tele Enterprises was sold to SPE as well. CTT reran the classic game show The Joker's Wild.

CPT, meanwhile, went on to produce the animated series, The Critic.

In 1995, Columbia TriStar Television Distribution (CTTD), the TV distribution arm of CTT, was created to distribute shows from its library, as well as produce and distribute new syndicated shows, and distribute the Columbia TriStar movie library. Columbia TriStar International Television (CTIT), the international TV distribution arm of CTT, was also formed at this point to distribute its movie and TV libraries around the world.

1996 saw CTT and CTTD create a new logo with the boxes splitting to show Columbia and TriStar's movie logo intros in the boxes over a CGI cloud background based on Columbia TriStar Home Video's 1993 logo intro. At the same time, CTT launched Columbia TriStar Children's Television (CTCT), the studio's animation division. The CTCT's name was changed in 1997 to Adelaide Productions.

In 1998, ELP was consolidated to CTT after Beakman's World on CBS was cancelled, however the company remained as an in-name-only unit of Columbia TriStar Television by renewing and licensing its series from those by T.A.T. Communications all the way to ELP Communications. That same year, the group celebrated 50 years of television entertainment since the re-activation of Screen Gems as Columbia's TV division.

In 1999, CTTD introduced Screen Gems Network, the first programming block to air classic shows from the 1950s to the 1980s from the CTT vault. Featuring an ident based on the Screen Gems TV logo from the 1950s, the program was cancelled in 2001, due in part to the recent re-activation of Screen Gems (this time as a feature film company). That same year in 1999, TriStar TV was folded into CTT after The Nanny on CBS and Mad About You on NBC and went off the air, but TriStar still kept its name on the copyrights of CBS's Early Edition, which got cancelled and ended its name in 2000, CBS now owns Early Edition in the us. Meanwhile, CTT took over the production of Malcolm & Eddie on UPN.

2000 saw CTT and CTTD experiment with two High Definition variations of their logos. It was later a success in 2001 by creating Columbia TriStar Domestic Television.

In early 2001, SPE decided to retire CPT and it was folded into CTT, however, SPE kept the name CPT Holdings on The Young and the Restless. That same year, CTT and CTTD merged to create Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (CTDT).

Between July and September 2002, Sony Pictures announced that it would change its TV subsidiary from CTDT to Sony Pictures Television.

Other than its own series Designing Women and its daytime drama The Young and the Restless, the company holds What's Happening!!, The Joker's Wild, incarnations from Pyramid, The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and 3's a Crowd.

During the years of Columbia Pictures Television, the company identified itself in the credits as Columbia Pictures Television, CPT Holdings, Inc., Columbia Pictures Television, Inc. and Columbia Pictures Television Distribution.

Colex Enterprises was created in 1984 as a partnership between CPT and Lexington Broadcast Services Co. The venture ended in 1988 and was succeeded by CPTD, which was succeeded in 1995 by CTTD, then in 2001 by CTDT which is now known as SPT since 2002.

Colex was most popularly known for distributing classic shows from the libraries of Screen Gems, CPT, and the later films of Bob Hope (The Seven Little Foys, The Lemon Drop Kid, etc.).

To the top

Feltner v. Columbia Pictures Television, Inc.

Seal of the Supreme Court of the United States

Feltner v. Columbia Pictures Television, Inc., 523 U.S. 340 (1998), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, deciding, where there is to be an award of statutory damages in a copyright infringement case, if there is a right to demand a jury trial.

Feltner and the corporation he owns, Krypton International Corporation, operate 3 television stations, and ran various television shows it had licensed from Columbia Pictures, including Who's the Boss?, Silver Spoons, Hart to Hart, and T. J. Hooker. After becoming delinquent in royalty payments, and being unable to resolve the impasse over the debt owed, Columbia revoked their license to run the shows. The station kept running them anyway. Columbia sued Feltner, Krypton and some subsidiaries and executives of the corporation. The trial court found the infringement to be wilful, and denied Felton's request for a jury trial on statutory damages. The court found every broadcast of every episode run on every television station to be a separate infringement, awarded the statutory maximum of $20,000 for each of the 440 acts, for a total of $8,800,000 in damages.

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the award.

The Supreme Court examined the statute in an attempt to resolve the issue without reaching constitutional issues. It found that there is no provision in the statute for a jury trial on the issue of statutory damages, therefore it must look at whether the law triggers the provisions of the requirement for trial by jury required by the 7th Amendment. The question then being, were statutory damages in the form of a trial in a court of law, or a trial in a court of equity; if a court of law, then trial by jury may be demanded; if a court of equity, then trial by jury is not available unless provided for by statute. Upon examining long historical practice in copyright infringement cases, it decided that damages in a copyright case have historically been tried as a court of law, and not as a court of equity. Thus, the defendant Feltner was entitled to a jury trial on the issue of the amount of statutory damages.

The judgment was reversed and remanded back to the trial court.

After remand and the jury trial ordered by the Supreme Court, the jury awarded $72,000 in statutory damages for each of the 440 works infringed, for a total award of $31.68 million – over three and a half times the damages awarded by the Judge at the prior bench trial. On his appeal from the $31.68 million jury award to the Ninth Circuit, Feltner argued that the Supreme Court’s rulings (that the Copyright Act provided that statutory damages be awarded by Judges and the Seventh Amendment required that juries award those damaged) rendered statutory damages unconstitutional and void. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. vs. Krypton Broadcasting of Birmingham, Inc., 152 F.3d 1171 (1998). The Ninth Circuit rejected this argument and affirmed the $31.68 million jury award. Id. Feltner’s petition to the Supreme Court to hear the case for a second time was unsuccessful, leaving the $31.68 million award intact.

To the top

Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

The "View of the World" cover

Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., 663 F. Supp. 706 (S.D.N.Y. 1987) was a federal case in which artist Saul Steinberg sued various parties involved with producing and promoting the 1984 movie "Moscow on the Hudson", claiming that a promotional poster for the movie infringed his copyright in a magazine cover he had created for The New Yorker.

The case was heard in the Southern District of New York in front of Judge Louis L. Stanton. The defendants, including Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., RCA Corporation, and several major newspapers, denied Steinberg's allegations of copyright infringement and asserted the affirmative defenses of (1) fair use as a parody, (2) estoppel, and (3) laches. Both parties moved for summary judgment.

The court granted summary judgment to Steinberg on the issue of copyright infringement, finding that the defendants failed to prove any of their defenses.

The subject of the controversy was a drawing by Steinberg known as "View of the World from Ninth Avenue" or "A Parochial New Yorker's View of the World." The drawing, which appeared on the cover of the March 29, 1976 issue of The New Yorker, depicts four city blocks of Manhattan in great detail, with the rest of the United States and the world sketched sparsely in the background. The horizon is marked by a red line, and a thin blue wash of color at the top denotes the sky. At the top is the name of the magazine, in its characteristic font.

The New Yorker registered the image with the United States Copyright Office and assigned the copyright to Steinberg. About three months later, the magazine made an agreement to print and sell posters of the image.

The movie poster featured the movie's lead actor Robin Williams and his two co-stars at the bottom of the frame, with a highly detailed depiction of four city blocks of Manhattan behind them. In the background is a blue stripe representing the Atlantic Ocean, three landmarks denoting cities in Europe, and a set of Russian-looking buildings labeled "Moscow". Again, the horizon is marked by a red line, and the sky by a thin blue wash of color. At the top is the name of the movie, in the same font used by The New Yorker. The poster image was published as an advertisement in many newspapers across the country.

Although it acknowledged that the idea of drawing a world map "from an egocentrically myopic perspective" could not be copyrighted, the court nevertheless held that the defendants had gone far beyond copying merely the idea of the Steinberg poster and had in fact copied its expression. As examples, the court cited the angle, layout, and details of the four city blocks depicted; the use of color on the horizon and sky; the distinctive lettering used in both for place names as well as the title at the top; and the overall stylistic impression of the two works. The court rejected the argument that any similarity between the works involved unprotectible scènes à faire, or standard themes common to any depiction of New York.

The court held that the Moscow on the Hudson poster was not a parody because it was not meant to satirize the Steinberg image itself, but merely satirized the same concept of the parochial New Yorker that was parodied by Steinberg's work. Because the copyrighted work was not an object of the parody, the appropriation of the image was not fair use.

The defendants also argued that Steinberg was estopped from defending his copyright on the grounds that he had taken no action over a period of eight years to stop others from counterfeiting his posters and adapting his idea to other locations, and had not acted in response to newspaper ads promoting the movie. The court rejected this argument, holding that the defendants had not proved any of the elements of estoppel: (1) a representation in fact; (2) reasonable reliance thereon; and (3) injury or damage resulting from denial by the party making the representation. While the defendants argued that Steinberg had made a representation of his acquiescence to their use of his image in the movie poster by not complaining about the ads in the newspaper, the judge rejected this line of reasoning and noted that the defendants had continued to use the infringing advertisements even after becoming aware of Steinberg's objections. Further, there was no existing relationship between the parties that could give rise to estoppel.

Finally, the defendants claimed the affirmative defense of laches, asserting that Steinberg had waited over six months to complain to Columbia Pictures about the alleged infringement in order to increase his award in the eventual lawsuit. The court dismissed this allegation on the grounds that Steinberg had registered his complaint with the defendants within weeks of beginning their advertising campaign, and that a six month delay between publication of the allegedly infringing work and instigation of a lawsuit was not sufficient to establish a claim of laches.

The court states the test for copyright infringement as copying an item that is the subject of a valid copyright, making no mention of improper appropriation of protectible elements. This is in contrast to the 2nd Circuit's prior opinion in Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corporation, 45 F.2d 119 (1930), that infringement occurs only when there is copying and improper appropriation. The Nichols court held that appropriation was not improper when the alleged infringer copied only unprotectible elements of the original work. While it is appropriate to look at both protectible and unprotectible elements of a work to determine whether copying has occurred, only the protectible elements are relevant when it comes to determining improper appropriation. The Steinberg court made no attempt to separate the protectable and unprotectable elements of Steinberg's drawing.

To the top

Source : Wikipedia