Sony Pictures History
Lighting Up Screens Around the World
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a worldwide leader in creativity and innovation. Backed by the power of Sony Corporation, one of the world’s most recognizable and respected brands, SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture and television production and distribution, home entertainment acquisitions and distribution, operation of studio facilities and development of new entertainment technologies.
The company’s rich history can be traced back to 1918 when brothers Harry and Jack Cohn formed a partnership with their associate Joe Brandt, to produce low-budget short films and featurettes. They called the company CBC Film Sales (Cohn-Brandt-Cohn – or as it was more commonly known in the trade press, "Corned Beef and Cabbage".) By 1920, the film industry was attracting audiences of 35 million a week willing to pay five cents a pop to be drawn into the magical world of filmed entertainment. Backed by the success of their modest productions, CBC produced their first feature-length film in 1922 on a $20,000 budget, MORE TO BE PITIED THAN SCORNED, with resounding success, taking in $130,000 in profit. CBC saw that the company’s future lay in film production and, with it, a grander vision.
Incorporated in 1924, CBC became Columbia Pictures Corporation. Offices were set up along a section of Gower Street and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood known as "Poverty Row" because it was home to several low-budget film production companies. Each year brought new developments and growing revenues for the fledgling operation. Its greatest catalyst, however, came in 1927 with the discovery of director Frank Capra.
In its early years, Columbia Pictures was known for the production of a large volume of low-budget movies. This reputation began to change when, in 1927, the studio hired a young director named Frank Capra, who created Columbia’s first all "talkie" feature, THE DONOVAN AFFAIR. His directing talents contributed to a number of "firsts" for the studio but none greater than Columbia’s first Best Picture Academy Award® for its 1934 film, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, which swept the top five awards and put Columbia on the map. Capra went on to direct a number of classics for the studio including MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (Best Picture Oscar® in 1939) and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON.
Frank Capra rose to fame at Columbia Pictures.