Universal Studios or Universal Pictures is an American film studio as part of NBC Universal.
Universal Pictures is a major company within the film industry, both for production and distribution.
The company is headquartered in Universal City, in Los Angeles, which became a small own town when the company built the world’s greatest contemporary film studio in 1915.
The company was founded in 1912, when Carl Laemmle’s Annual Independent Moving Pictures of America, usually referred to as IMP, was merged with five other studios to form Universal Film Manufacturing Company to form the future Universal Pictures Company. Laemmle was notorious for his nepotism and had many relatives of employees in his company. Between 1920 and 1924, Irving Thalberg was employed as a production manager, before he went over to MGM.
Unlike the other large companies, Universal Studios had no big cinema chain and was focused on low-budget films, which allowed the company to rest just below the majors in the industry. In 1930, Universal Studios received a great success with All Quiet on the Western Front, which won the Company its first Oscar. The following year began with Universal Studios’ success with its horror movies: Dracula with Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein with Boris Karloff, which was followed by a string of films in the same genre. After having been forced to borrow money for the costly production of Show Boat (1936), Laemmle and his son lost Universal Studios to its creditors, Standard Capital.
In 1945, Universal International Pictures went up awhile as Universal-International. In 1952, the record label Decca took over the Company. In the 50’s, when the film industry got a competitor in television, Universal became one of the first studios that made programs for television.
In 1962, the music company MCA bought up Decca and then took over Universal. Parent MCA had worked as an artist agency but was now a company in the entertainment industry with film, television, and music. The takeover of the MCA was a boost for the business with big films and big stars, but after a few years, they began to cut back on film production, when the movie industry got problems. In the early 70’s, the Company also combines its international distribution with Paramount and formed CIC, which later became the UIP. They began to focus more seriously on television and became a major producer of television series, in the 70’s, they made more than half of all series for the major TV companies.
In 1990, MCA was taken over by the Japanese electronics firm Matsushita (now Panasonic), which wanted software, namely Universal’s films, for their electronic equipment. However, cooperation resulted in many problems, both economic and cultural, which allowed the company in 1995 to be sold to the Canadian liquor distributor Seagram. In 1996, the Company changed its name to the parent company MCA Universal Studios, Inc.
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