Sony Pictures Studios

Sony Pictures Studios

Overland Gate / West entrance – the entrance to Sony Pictures Studios
Location within Western Los Angeles
General information
Type Film and television studios
Location Culver City, California
Address 10202 West Washington Boulevard
Coordinates 34°01′02″N 118°24′06″W / 34.017222°N 118.401667°W / 34.017222; -118.401667
Current tenants Columbia Pictures
TriStar Pictures
Screen Gems
Inaugurated 1915 (as Ince-Triangle Studios)
Owner Sony Pictures Entertainment

The Sony Pictures Studios are a television and film studio complex located in Culver City, California at 10202 West Washington Boulevard and bounded by Culver Boulevard (south), Washington Boulevard (north), Overland Avenue (west) and Madison Avenue (east). The facility is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment and houses the division's film studios, Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, and Screen Gems. The complex was the original studios of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1924 to 1986.

In addition to films shot at the facility, several television shows have been broadcast live or taped there. The lot, which is open to the public for daily studio tours, currently houses a total of sixteen separate sound stages.

Early history

Photograph of original colonnade of Triangle Studios. c. 1916

While director Thomas H. Ince was filming at Ballona Creek in 1915, Harry Culver, the founding father of Culver City, persuaded Ince to move his studio "Inceville" from Pacific Palisades to Culver City. During that time, Ince co-founded Triangle Film Corporation and the Triangle Studios was opened in the form of a Greek colonnade – the entrance to the studios. The colonnade still stands fronting Washington Boulevard and is a Culver City historical landmark.

Ince added a few stages and an Administration Building before selling out to his partners D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett. Ince relocated down the street and built the Culver Studios at that location. In 1918, Triangle Studios was sold to film producer Samuel Goldwyn. Goldwyn also added a few sound stages before selling his shares in Goldwyn Studios.

The Historic MGM Studios

Aerial shot of Goldwyn Studios c. 1922
Main article: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

In 1924, Loews Theatres President Marcus Loew organized the merger of three film companies – The Metro Pictures Corporation, Goldwyn Studios and Louis B. Mayer Productions to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and occupying the Goldwyn production facilities.

In the Golden Age of Hollywood, MGM Studios was responsible for shooting 52 films a year, from screen epics such as Ben-Hur, and Mutiny on the Bounty, to drawing-room dramas such as Grand Hotel, Dinner At Eight, and Anna Karenina. But it was the Technicolor musicals, including The Wizard of Oz, Singin' in the Rain and Gigi that MGM was best known for. MGM’s success led to six working studio complexes, more than 180 acres (0.73 km2) including twenty-eight soundstages – Stage 15 is the second largest sound stage in the world, and Stage 27 served as "Munchkinland" in the production of The Wizard of Oz.

In addition to the main production building, MGM added two large backlot facilities – Lot 2 located opposite the main studio across Overland Avenue. Lot 3 entered the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Overland Avenue and was MGM’s largest backlot. The administration building was inaugurated in 1938 and was named for Thalberg.

However, the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. anti-trust case of 1948 severed MGM's connection with Loews Theaters, and it struggled through its affairs. In 1969, millionaire Kirk Kerkorian bought MGM and proceeded to dismantle the studio. MGM’s film memorabilia was sold through an 18-day auction, and 38 acres (150,000 m2) of the studio’s backlots were sold. Lot 3 was razed while Lot 2 was sold to housing developments. Kerkorian used the money to construct his hotel chain, the MGM Grand Hotels.

In 1981, Kerkorian's Tracinda Corporation acquired United Artists and merged it with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to become MGM/UA Entertainment Co. He then sold MUEC to Ted Turner in 1986, who after 74 days, sold MGM/UA back to Kerkorian while retaining the pre-1986 MGM film library. In 1986, the studio was sold to Lorimar-Telepictures. During that time, the MGM logo was removed from the studios and moved across the street to the Filmland Building (now known as Sony Pictures Plaza) before their 1992 move to Santa Monica and finally settling in Century City.

Sony Pictures Studios

In 1989, Warner Communications acquired Lorimar-Telepictures. That year, Sony hired producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber to run the company's newly acquired Columbia Pictures unit, even though they had a contract with Warner Bros. To resolve this issue, Warner sold their Lorimar lot to Columbia, among other deals. Columbia had been sharing with Warner Bros. their studio lot in Burbank in a partnership called the Burbank Studios beginning in 1972. Sony sold its interest in the Burbank Studios as a result of the Guber-Peters issue.[1]

Sony acquired the property, first renamed Columbia Studios, in poor condition and thereafter invested $100 million to renovate the studio complex. The property underwent a three-year comprehensive plan as it transitioned to the 45 acres (0.18 km2) Sony Pictures Studios complex. They painted and upgraded the buildings, many of which still bore the names of MGM film luminaries such as Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth and Burt Lancaster. They erected new walls around the lot and restored the ironwork gates. They also added nostalgic art deco and false fronts on Main Street, plus hand-painted murals of Columbia film posters. As well as all that, the MGM logo was removed from Filmland Building in November 1992.

The Sony Pictures Studios has one of the best post-production facilities available and is open to the public for tours. The studio continues to record TV sitcoms such as Rules of Engagement. The long-running game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune and its spin-offs are taped at Sony. The revival of American Gladiators was also taped there.

Taped programs

Talk Shows

Game shows





  1. Warner, Sony settle suit over producers (November 17, 1989). Los Angeles: Associated Press.

Coordinates: 34°1′2″N 118°24′6″W / 34.01722°N 118.40167°W / 34.01722; -118.40167

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