Sony Pictures

For the Japanese film company within the Sony corporation, see Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.
For other uses, see Sony (disambiguation).
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.
Industry Entertainment
Founded December 21, 1987 (December 21, 1987) as Columbia Pictures Entertainment[1] renamed Sony Pictures Entertainment on August 7, 1991 (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$ 8.302 billion (FY2015)[2]
Decrease US$ 341 million (FY2015)[2]
Owner Sony
Number of employees
est. 3,500 (2016)
Parent Sony Entertainment Inc.
(Sony Corporation of America)

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. (shortened to SPE and often referred to as Sony Pictures) is an American entertainment company. It is a subsidiary of Japanese multinational technology and media conglomerate Sony.[3][4]

Based in Culver City, California, it encompasses Sony's motion picture, television production and distribution units. Its group sales in March 2016 has been reported to be of $8.3 billion.[2]

Sony Pictures' film franchises include Spider-Man, Men in Black, Underworld, and Resident Evil.[5]

Sony Pictures is also 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 it had owned since 1982. Under this arrangement, Coca-Cola would sell its entertainment assets to TriStar Pictures, of which it 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 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] though in February 10, 2015, Sony Pictures eventually signed a deal with Marvel Studios to allow Spider-Man to appear in Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with Captain America: Civil War before appearing in Spider-Man: Homecoming scheduled to released in July 7, 2017.

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 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


Production and distribution
International production
Television networks

Other Sony Pictures operations

Entrance to SPE main lot in Culver City


  1. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.: Private Company Information
  2. 1 2 3 "Consolidated Financial Results for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2016" (PDF). Tokyo, Japan: Sony. April 28, 2016. p. 6. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  3. "Sony Pictures Entertainment" About Sony Pictures, Retrieved on January 28, 2016
  4. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. is a wholly-owned fifth-tier subsidiary of Sony Corporation through Sony Americas Holding Inc., Sony Corporation of America, Sony Entertainment Inc. and Sony Film Holding Inc. (FY2015 Securities Report (in Japanese), Sony Corporation)
  5. 1 2 ‘Skyfall’s $669.2M Global Helps Sony Pictures Post Best Ever $4B Worldwide
  6. "Motion Picture Association of America - About Us". MPAA. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
  7. Dick, Bernard F. (1992) "Columbia Pictures: Portrait of a Studio" (p. 46). The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1769-0.
  8. "New York Department of State Division of Corporations - Entity Search: Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc.". Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  9. "State of New York Division of Corporations - Entity Search: Tri-Star Pictures, Inc.". Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  10. "Sony to Buy Columbia, Says Americans Will Run Studio : 1st Sale of Film Maker to Japanese". September 27, 1989. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  11. "Funding Universe - Columbia Tristar". Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  12. Warner, Sony settle suit over producers (November 17, 1989). Los Angeles: Associated Press.
  13. Medavoy, Mike and Young, Josh (2002). You're Only as Good as Your Next One: 100 Great Films, 100 Good Films, and 100 for Which I Should Be Shot (p. 210). New York City: Atria Books
  14. 1 2 Rudolph B (1994) So many dreams so many losses. Time vol. 144, no. 22 (November 28, 1994)
  15. 1 2 Griffin N, Masters K (1996) Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood. (Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-83266-6)
  16. Nathan, J. (1999) Sony: The Private Life. (Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-89327-5, ISBN 0-618-12694-5)
  17. She Holds Torch for Sony Pictures Entertainment,
  18. "Funding Universe - Sony Corporation". Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  19. Sony will purchase MGM in a deal worth about $5 billion, CNN, September 14, 2004.
  20. MGM Disclosure Statement page 424 (Appendix D: Audited Financial Statement. March 2009, page 6), October 7, 2010
  21. Sony Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended March 31, 2008
  22. "Sony Pictures Website Hacked, 1 Million Accounts Exposed".
  23. DAVID LIEBERMAN "Deadline" Sony Pictures Vows To Cut Costs $250M+ Through 2016, Retrieved on November 22, 2013
  24. DAVID LIEBERMAN "Deadline" Sony Pictures To Shift Emphasis From Movies To TV, Will Cut Film Output For 2014, Retrieved on November 22, 2013
  25. NELLIE ANDREEVA "Deadline" From Pariah To Company MVP: The Quiet Rise Of Sony’s Television Division, Retrieved on November 22, 2013
  26. DAVID LIEBERMAN "Deadline" Sony TV Execs Talk Up Global Opportunities, Retrieved on November 22, 2013
  27. DAVID LIEBERMAN "Deadline" Sony Pictures Plans More Spider-Man Sequels And Spinoffs – But Still No Marvel Reunion, Retrieved on November 22, 2013
  28. "Deadline" Layoffs Hit Sony Pictures As SPE Absorbs Technology Unit, Retrieved on January 24, 2014
  29. Fleming, Mike, Jr (April 8, 2014). "Sony Closes Slate Co-Fi Deal With Lone Star Capital, CitiBank". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  30. Eurico de Barros "DN Artes"Columbia Tristar Warner closes offices in Portugal, Retrieved on May 12, 2015
  31. "Sony Pictures Becomes Second Studio to Announce Ultra HD Films on Disc". Variety. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  32. "Hack at Sony Pictures shuts computer system". LA Times.
  33. "Sony movies leak online after hack attack". Torrentfreak. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  34. "Hackers Pirate Sony Films and Leak Studio Salaries". New York times.
  36. MEG JAMES, RYAN FAUGHNDER, December 13, 2014, Los Angeles Times, Fallout from Sony hack may alter how Hollywood conducts business, Retrieved December 14, 2014
  37. Spider-Man may appear in 'Captain America 3'
  38. "Sony Hackers Threaten Movie Theaters". USA Today. December 16, 2014.
  39. "Sony pulls 'The Interview'; the Internet reacts". CNBC. December 18, 2014.
  40. "Deadline" Tom Rothman Replaces Amy Pascal At Sony Pictures; Michael Lynton Contract Extended, Retrieved on February 24, 2015
  41. "Bloomberg" Sony Names Former Fox Film Chief Tom Rothman to Replace Pascal, Retrieved on February 24, 2015
  42. "Los Angeles Times", Retrieved on April 16, 2015
  43. Anousha Sakoui "Yahoo! Finance", Retrieved on April 17, 2015
  44. 1 2 "Sony Pictures - Divisions". Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  45. 1 2 3 Sony Pictures – Corporate Factsheet
  46. "Sony Pictures Imageworks".
  47. SONY PICTURES RELEASING CORPORATION, Retrieved on January 20, 2014
  48. NANCY TARTAGLIONE "Deadline" Sony Pictures Television, Karl Warner Launch UK Production Outfit Electric Ray, Retrieved on January 21, 2014
  49. "PRNewswire" Sony Pictures Television International Forms First Fully Government Approved Television and Film Production Joint Venture in the People's Republic of China,, Retrieved on September 30, 2012
  50. CCC director sold shares of Sony Pictures Television series producer. Retrieved on February 28, 2012
  51. Cynthia Littleton "Variety"Sony Pictures Television Acquires Australia’s Playmaker Media, Retrieved on February 8, 2015
  52. NANCY TARTAGLIONE "Deadline"Sony Pictures Television Launches Northern Ireland Production Company Stellify Media, Retrieved on March 20, 2014
  53. The Anime Biz – By Ian Rowley, with Hiroko Tashiro, Chester Dawson, and Moon Ihlwan, BusinessWeek, June 27, 2005.
  54. Animax Asia – Corporate ProfileAnimax-Asia official website.
  55. Sony closes CSC deal, ups Kate Marsh, Retrieved on August 20, 2014
  56. SONY PICTURES TELEVISION CLOSES FILM1 DEAL, Retrieved on July 26, 2015
  57. Sony buys Viasat channels from MTG, Retrieved on February 11, 2015
  58. Affiliated Companies (Outside Japan) Sony Corporation
  59. Sony Pictures Online SPEJ – Company Profile, Sony Pictures Entertainment (Japan), Inc. official website.
  60. History of Columbia Pictures Part 3, Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (in Japanese)

External links

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