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20th Century Studios

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

20th Century Studios, Inc.
20th Century Studios
  • Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
  • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Company typeSubsidiary
FoundedMay 31, 1935; 89 years ago (1935-05-31)
HeadquartersFox Studio Lot Building 88, 10201 West Pico Boulevard, ,
United States
Area served
Key people
  • David Greenbaum (president)
  • Steve Asbell (president, production)
  • Motion pictures
  • Television films
OwnerNews Corporation
21st Century Fox
The Walt Disney Company
Number of employees
2,300 (2018)
ParentFox Entertainment Group
The Walt Disney Studios
Footnotes / references

20th Century Studios, Inc. is an American film studio owned by the Walt Disney Studios, a division of Disney Entertainment, in turn a division of The Walt Disney Company.[6] It is headquartered at the Fox Studio Lot in the Century City area of Los Angeles, leased from Fox Corporation.[7] Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures distributes and markets the films produced by 20th Century Studios in theatrical markets.[8][9]

For over 80 years, 20th Century was one of the major American film studios. It was formed in 1935 as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation[a] by the merger of Fox Film and Twentieth Century Pictures, and one of the original "Big Five" among eight majors of Hollywood's Golden Age. In 1985, the studio removed the hyphen in the name (becoming Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)[b] after being acquired by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which was renamed 21st Century Fox in 2013 after it spun off its publishing assets. Disney purchased most of 21st Century Fox's assets, which included 20th Century Fox, on March 20, 2019.[10] The studio adopted its current name as a trade name on January 17, 2020, in order to avoid confusion with Fox Corporation, and subsequently started to use it for the copyright of 20th Century and Searchlight Pictures productions on December 4.[11]

The most commercially successful film series from 20th Century Studios include the first six Star Wars films, X-Men, Ice Age, Avatar, and Planet of the Apes.[12] Additionally, the studio's library includes many individual films such as Titanic and The Sound of Music, both of which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and became the highest-grossing films of all time during their initial releases.[13][14]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Official Trailer | The Bob's Burgers Movie | 20th Century Studios
  • Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes | Exclusive IMAX® Trailer
  • The First Omen | Official Trailer | 20th Century Studios
  • The Creator | Teaser Trailer | 20th Century Studios
  • No Exit | Official Trailer | 20th Century Studios



From founding to 1956

Carmen Miranda as Dorita in The Gang's All Here. In 1946, she was the highest-paid actress in the United States.[15]
Alice Faye as Baroness Cecilia Duarte, Don Ameche as Larry Martin and Baron Manuel Duarte, and Carmen Miranda as Carmen in That Night in Rio, produced by Fox in 1941
The 20th Century-Fox logo depicted in a 1939 advertisement in Boxoffice
From the 1952 film Viva Zapata!

Twentieth Century Pictures' Joseph Schenck and Darryl F. Zanuck left United Artists over a stock dispute, and began merger talks with the management of financially struggling Fox Film, under President Sidney Kent.[16][17]

Spyros Skouras, then manager of the Fox West Coast Theaters, helped make it happen (and later became president of the new company).[16] The company had been struggling since founder William Fox lost control of the company in 1930.[18]

Fox Film Corporation and Twentieth Century Pictures merged in 1935. Initially, it was speculated in The New York Times that the newly merged company would be named "Fox-Twentieth Century". The new company, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, began trading on May 31, 1935. Kent remained at the company, joining Schenck and Zanuck. Zanuck replaced Winfield Sheehan as the company's production chief.

The company established a special training school. Lynn Bari, Patricia Farr and Anne Nagel were among 14 young women "launched on the trail of film stardom" on August 6, 1935, when they each received a six-month contract with 20th Century-Fox after spending 18 months in the school. The contracts included a studio option for renewal for as long as seven years.[19]

For many years, 20th Century Fox identified themselves as having been founded in 1915, the year Fox Film was founded. For instance, it marked 1945 as its 30th anniversary. However, it has considered the 1935 merger as its founding in recent years, even though most film historians agree it was founded in 1915.[20] The company's films retained the 20th Century Pictures searchlight logo on their opening credits as well as its opening fanfare, but with the name changed to 20th Century-Fox.

After the merger was completed, Zanuck signed young actors to help carry 20th Century-Fox: Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Carmen Miranda, Don Ameche, Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney, Sonja Henie, and Betty Grable. 20th Century-Fox also hired Alice Faye and Shirley Temple, who appeared in several major films for the studio in the 1930s.[21][22]

Higher attendance during World War II helped 20th Century-Fox overtake RKO and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to become the third most profitable film studio. In 1941, Zanuck was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Signal Corps and assigned to supervise the production of U.S. Army training films. His partner, William Goetz, filled in at 20th Century-Fox.[23]

In 1942, Spyros Skouras succeeded Kent as president of the studio.[24] During the next few years, with pictures like Wilson (1944), The Razor's Edge (1946), Boomerang, Gentleman's Agreement (both 1947), The Snake Pit (1948), and Pinky (1949), Zanuck established a reputation for provocative, adult films. 20th Century-Fox also specialized in adaptations of best-selling books such as Ben Ames Williams' Leave Her to Heaven (1945), starring Gene Tierney, which was the highest-grossing 20th Century-Fox film of the 1940s. The studio also produced film versions of Broadway musicals, including the Rodgers and Hammerstein films, beginning with the musical version of State Fair (1945), the only work that the partnership wrote specially for films.

After the war, audiences slowly drifted away. 20th Century-Fox held on to its theaters until a court-mandated "divorce"; they were spun off as Fox National Theaters in 1953.[25] That year, with attendance at half the 1946 level, 20th Century-Fox gambled on an unproven process. Noting that the two film sensations of 1952 had been Cinerama, which required three projectors to fill a giant curved screen, and "Natural Vision" 3D, which got its effects of depth by requiring the use of polarized glasses, 20th Century-Fox mortgaged its studio to buy rights to a French anamorphic projection system which gave a slight illusion of depth without glasses. President Spyros Skouras struck a deal with the inventor Henri Chrétien, leaving the other film studios empty-handed, and in 1953 introduced CinemaScope in the studio's groundbreaking feature film The Robe.[26]

Zanuck announced in February 1953 that henceforth all 20th Century-Fox pictures would be made in CinemaScope.[27] To convince theater owners to install this new process, 20th Century-Fox agreed to help pay conversion costs (about $25,000 per screen); and to ensure enough product, 20th Century-Fox leased access to CinemaScope to any rival studio choosing to use it. Seeing the box-office for the first two CinemaScope features, The Robe and How to Marry a Millionaire (also 1953), Warner Bros., MGM, RKO, Universal-International, Columbia, UA, Allied Artists, and Disney quickly adopted the process. In 1956, 20th Century-Fox engaged Robert Lippert to establish a subsidiary company, Regal Pictures, later Associated Producers Incorporated to film B pictures in CinemaScope (but "branded" RegalScope). 20th Century-Fox produced new musicals using the CinemaScope process including Carousel and The King and I (both 1956).

CinemaScope brought a brief upturn in attendance, but by 1956 the numbers again began to slide.[28][29] That year Darryl Zanuck announced his resignation as head of production. Zanuck moved to Paris, setting up as an independent producer, seldom being in the United States for many years.

Production and financial problems

Logo used as 20th Century Fox from 1986 to 2020.

Zanuck's successor, producer Buddy Adler, died a year later.[30] President Spyros Skouras brought in a series of production executives, but none had Zanuck's success. By the early 1960s, 20th Century-Fox was in trouble. A new version of Cleopatra (1963) began production in 1959 with Joan Collins in the lead.[31] As a publicity gimmick, producer Walter Wanger offered $1 million to Elizabeth Taylor if she would star;[31] she accepted and costs for Cleopatra began to escalate. Richard Burton's on-set romance with Taylor was surrounding the media. However, Skouras' selfish preferences and inexperienced micromanagement on the film's production did nothing to speed up production on Cleopatra.

Meanwhile, another remake—of the Cary Grant hit My Favorite Wife (1940)—was rushed into production in an attempt to turn over a quick profit to help keep 20th Century-Fox afloat. The romantic comedy entitled Something's Got to Give paired Marilyn Monroe, 20th Century-Fox's most bankable star of the 1950s, with Dean Martin and director George Cukor. The troubled Monroe caused delays daily, and it quickly descended into a costly debacle. As Cleopatra's budget passed $10 million, eventually costing around $40 million, 20th Century-Fox sold its back lot (now the site of Century City) to Alcoa in 1961 to raise funds. After several weeks of script rewrites on the Monroe picture and very little progress, mostly due to director George Cukor's filming methods, in addition to Monroe's chronic sinusitis, Monroe was fired from Something's Got to Give[31] and two months later she was found dead. According to 20th Century-Fox files, she was rehired within weeks for a two-picture deal totaling $1 million, $500,000 to finish Something's Got to Give (plus a bonus at completion), and another $500,000 for What a Way to Go. Elizabeth Taylor's disruptive reign on the Cleopatra set continued unchallenged from 1960 into 1962, though three 20th Century-Fox executives went to Rome in June 1962 to fire her. They learned that director Joseph L. Mankiewicz had filmed out of sequence and had only done interiors, so 20th Century-Fox was then forced to allow Taylor several more weeks of filming. In the meantime during that summer of 1962 Fox released nearly all of its contract stars to offset burgeoning costs, including Jayne Mansfield.[32][33]

With few pictures on the schedule, Skouras wanted to rush Zanuck's big-budget war epic The Longest Day (1962),[31] an accurate account of the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, with a huge international cast, into release as another source of quick cash. This offended Zanuck, still 20th Century-Fox's largest shareholder, for whom The Longest Day was a labor of love that he had dearly wanted to produce for many years. After it became clear that Something's Got to Give would not be able to progress without Monroe in the lead (Martin had refused to work with anyone else), Skouras finally decided that re-signing her was unavoidable. But days before filming was due to resume, she was found dead at her Los Angeles home and the picture resumed filming as Move Over, Darling, with Doris Day and James Garner in the leads. Released in 1963, the film was a hit.[34] The unfinished scenes from Something's Got to Give were shelved for nearly 40 years. Rather than being rushed into release as if it were a B-picture, The Longest Day was lovingly and carefully produced under Zanuck's supervision. It was finally released at a length of three hours and was well received.

At the next board meeting, Zanuck spoke for eight hours, convincing directors that Skouras was mismanaging the company and that he was the only possible successor. Zanuck was installed as chairman, and then named his son Richard Zanuck as president.[35] This new management group seized Cleopatra and rushed it to completion, shut down the studio, laid off the entire staff to save money, axed the long-running Movietone Newsreel (the archives of which are now owned by Fox News), and made a series of cheap, popular pictures that restored 20th Century-Fox as a major studio. The saving grace for the studio's fortunes came from the tremendous success of The Sound of Music (1965),[36] an expensive and handsomely produced film adaptation of the highly acclaimed Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, which became a significant success at the box office and won five Academy Awards, including Best Director (Robert Wise) and Best Picture of the Year.

20th Century-Fox also had two big science-fiction hits in the decade: Fantastic Voyage (1966), and the original Planet of the Apes (1968), starring Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, and Roddy McDowall. Fantastic Voyage was the last film made in CinemaScope; the studio had held on to the format while Panavision lenses were being used elsewhere.

Zanuck stayed on as chairman until 1971, but there were several expensive flops in his last years, resulting in 20th Century-Fox posting losses from 1969 to 1971. Following his removal, and after an uncertain period, new management brought 20th Century-Fox back to health. Under president Gordon T. Stulberg and production head Alan Ladd, Jr., 20th Century-Fox films connected with modern audiences. Stulberg used the profits to acquire resort properties, soft-drink bottlers, Australian theaters and other properties in an attempt to diversify enough to offset the boom-or-bust cycle of picture-making.

Foreshadowing a pattern of film production still yet to come, in late 1973 20th Century-Fox joined forces with Warner Bros. to co-produce The Towering Inferno (1974),[37] an all-star action blockbuster from producer Irwin Allen. Both studios found themselves owning the rights to books about burning skyscrapers. Allen insisted on a meeting with the heads of both studios and announced that as 20th Century-Fox was already in the lead with their property it would be career suicide to have competing movies. Thus the first joint-venture studio deal was struck. In hindsight, while it may be commonplace now, back in the 1970s, it was a risky, but revolutionary, idea that paid off handsomely at both domestic and international box offices around the world.

20th Century-Fox's success reached new heights by backing the most profitable film made up to that time, Star Wars (1977). Substantial financial gains were realized as a result of the film's unprecedented success: from a low of $6 in June 1976, stock prices more than quadrupled to almost $27 after Star Wars release; 1976 revenues of $195 million rose to $301 million in 1977.[38]

Marvin Davis and Rupert Murdoch

Fox Plaza, Century City headquarters completed in 1987

With financial stability came new owners, when 20th Century-Fox was sold for $720 million on June 8, 1981, to investors Marc Rich and Marvin Davis.[39] 20th Century-Fox's assets included Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Aspen Skiing Company and a Century City property upon which Davis built and twice sold Fox Plaza.

In 1982, the company decided to try on capitalizing the video game industry by forming the company's first video game division, Fox Video Games, in order to sell cartridges for consoles and computers, under the "Games of the Century" slogan, but the division failed due to the video game crash of 1983.[40]

By 1984, Rich had become a fugitive from justice, having fled to Switzerland after being charged by U.S. federal prosecutors with tax evasion, racketeering and illegal trading with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis. Rich's assets were frozen by U.S. authorities.[41] In 1984 Marvin Davis bought out Marc Rich's 50% interest in 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation for an undisclosed amount,[41] reported to be $116 million.[42] Davis sold this interest to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation for $250 million in March 1985. Davis later backed out of a deal with Murdoch to purchase John Kluge's Metromedia television stations.[42] Murdoch went ahead alone and bought the stations, and later bought out Davis' remaining stake in 20th Century-Fox for $325 million.[42] From 1985, the hyphen was permanently deleted from the brand name, with 20th Century-Fox changing to 20th Century Fox.[43][44]

To gain FCC approval of 20th Century-Fox's purchase of Metromedia's television holdings, once the stations of the long-dissolved DuMont network, Murdoch had to become a U.S. citizen. He did so in 1985, and in 1986 the new Fox Broadcasting Company took to the air. Over the next 20-odd years the network and owned-stations group expanded to become extremely profitable for News Corporation. Then in 1993, 20th Century Fox bought the superhero rights to the X-Men, while the Fantastic Four was bought in 1998. Then Bryan Singer directed the first film and the second film, while Brett Ratner was hired to direct the third film of the original trilogy.

In 1994, 20th Century Fox would establish four new divisions: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox Family Films, Fox Animation Studios, and Fox 2000 Pictures. Fox Searchlight would specialize in the specialty and indie film market, with Thomas Rothman, then president of production at The Samuel Goldwyn Company, being brought on to head up the new studio. It was soon given its name with Rothman as its founding president.[45][46] Fox Family Films was tasked with producing films geared towards families, under John Matoian.[47] Fox Animation Studios was established on August 9, 1994,[48] designed to compete with Walt Disney Feature Animation, whom had found success in the Disney Renaissance. Don Bluth and Gary Goldman of the failing Sullivan Bluth Studios were appointed to head the new $100 million animation studio.[49] Fox 2000 Pictures was formed to specialize in mid-budget-ranging films targeted towards underserved groups of audiences,[50] with Laura Ziskin brought on as president.[51]

In August 1997, Fox's Los Angeles-based visual effects company, VIFX, acquired majority interest in Blue Sky Studios to form a new visual effects and animation company, temporarily renamed "Blue Sky/VIFX".[52] Blue Sky had previously did the character animation of MTV Films' first film Joe's Apartment. Following the studio's expansion, Blue Sky produced character animation for the films Alien Resurrection, A Simple Wish, Mouse Hunt, Star Trek: Insurrection and Fight Club.[53] VIFX was later sold to another VFX studio Rhythm and Hues Studios in March 1999.[54] According to Blue Sky founder Chris Wedge, Fox considered selling Blue Sky as well by 2000 due to financial difficulties in the visual effects industry in general.

In February 1998, following the success of Fox Animation Studios' first film Anastasia, Fox Family Films changed its name to Fox Animation Studios and dropped its live action production. which would be picked up by other production units.[55] The actual Fox Animation Studios would become a division of the formerly-named Fox Family Films, being referred to as the Phoenix studio. However, Fox Animation Studios in Los Angeles would be renamed to 20th Century Fox Animation between 1998 and 1999. The Phoenix studio would face financial problems, eventually with Fox laying off 300 of the nearly 380 people who worked at the Phoenix studio[56] to "make films more efficiently". After the box-office failure of Titan A.E., Fox Animation Studios would shut down on June 26, 2000.[57][58][59] Their last film set to be made would have been an adaptation of Wayne Barlowe's illustrated novel Barlowe's Inferno, and was set to be done entirely with computer animation.[60] Another film they would have made was The Little Beauty King, an adult animated film directed by Steve Oedekerk, which would have been a satire of the films from the Disney Renaissance. It would predate Shrek (2001).[61]

Chris Wedge, film producer Lori Forte, and Fox Animation executive Chris Meledandri presented Fox with a script for a comedy feature film titled Ice Age.[62] Studio management pressured staff to sell their remaining shares and options to Fox on the promise of continued employment on feature-length films. The studio moved to White Plains, New York and started production on Ice Age. As the film wrapped, Fox, having little faith in the film, feared that it might bomb at the box office. Fox terminated half of the production staff and tried unsuccessfully to find a buyer for the film and the studio.[citation needed] Instead, Ice Age was released by Fox in conjunction with 20th Century Fox Animation on March 15, 2002, to critical and commercial success, receiving a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003.[63] Ice Age would spawn a franchise and bolster Blue Sky into producing feature films and becoming a household name in feature animation.

The Fox Broadcasting Company's Los Angeles studios in 2005

From 2000 to 2010, this company has been the international distributor for MGM/UA releases. In the 1980s, 20th Century Fox – through a joint venture with CBS called CBS/Fox Video – had distributed certain UA films on video; thus UA has come full circle by switching to 20th Century Fox for video distribution. 20th Century Fox also makes money distributing films for small independent film companies.

In 2006, 20th Century Fox terminated its production with Bad Hat Harry Productions for 5 years, because Bryan Singer left X-Men: The Last Stand to direct Superman Returns (2006) for Warner Bros. Pictures, then he returned to produce the first film and direct its sequel in the prequel trilogy, starting in 2011.

In late 2006, Fox Atomic was started up[64] under Fox Searchlight head Peter Rice and COO John Hegeman[65] as a sibling production division under Fox Filmed Entertainment.[64] In early 2008, Atomic's marketing unit was transferred to Fox Searchlight and 20th Century Fox, when Hegeman moved to New Regency Productions. Debbie Liebling became president. After two middling successes and falling short with other films, the unit was shut down in April 2009. The remaining films under its Atomic label in production and post-productions were transferred to 20th Century Fox and Fox Spotlight with Liebling overseeing them.[65]

In 2008, 20th Century Fox announced an Asian subsidiary, Fox STAR Studios, a joint venture with STAR TV, also owned by News Corporation. It was reported that Fox STAR would start by producing films for the Bollywood market, then expand to several Asian markets.[66] In the same year, 20th Century Fox started Fox International Productions, but the division was closed in 2017.[67]

Chernin Entertainment was founded by Peter Chernin after he stepped down as president of 20th Century Fox's then-parent company News Corporation. in 2009.[68] Chernin Entertainment's five-year first-look deal for the film and television was signed with 20th Century Fox and 20th Century Fox TV in 2009.[69]

21st Century Fox era

On June 28, 2012, Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corporation would be split into two publishing and media-oriented companies: a new News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, which operated the Fox Entertainment Group and 20th Century Fox. Murdoch considered the name of the new company a way to maintain the 20th Century Fox heritage.[70][71]

Fox Stage Productions was formed in June 2013.[72] In August, the same year, 20th Century Fox started a theatrical joint venture with a trio of producers, both film and theater, Kevin McCollum, John Davis and Tom McGrath.[73]

On September 20, 2017, Locksmith Animation formed a multi-year production deal with 20th Century Fox, who would distribute Locksmith's films under 20th Century Fox Animation, with Locksmith aiming to release a film every 12–18 months. The deal was to bolster Blue Sky's output and replace the loss of distributing DreamWorks Animation films, which are now owned and distributed by Universal Pictures.[74] The first film to be released under the production company was Ron's Gone Wrong, which was released on October 22, 2021, by 20th Century Studios and was the only film to be released by the studio.

Technoprops, a VFX company that worked on Avatar and The Jungle Book, was purchased in April 2017 to operate as Fox VFX Lab. Technoprops' founder Glenn Derry would continue to run the company as vice president of visual effect reporting to Gerard Bevan and John Kilkenny, VFX president.[75]

On October 30, 2017, Vanessa Morrison was named president of a newly created 20th Century Fox division, Fox Family, reporting to the chairman & CEO and Vice Chairman of 20th Century Fox. The family division would develop films that appeal to younger moviegoers and their parents both animated films and films with live-action elements. Also, the division would oversee the studio's family animated television business, which produces holiday television specials based on existing film properties, and oversee feature film adaptation of its TV shows.[76] To replace Morrison at Fox Animation, Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird were named co-presidents of 20th Century Fox Animation.[77]

20th Century Fox issued a default notice in regards to its licensing agreement for the under-construction 20th Century Fox World theme park in Malaysia by Genting Malaysia Bhd. In November 2018 Genting Malaysia filed suit in response and included soon to be parent The Walt Disney Company.[78]

Disney acquisition

On December 14, 2017, Disney announced plans to purchase most of 21st Century Fox, including 20th Century Fox, for $52.4 billion.[79] After a bid from Comcast (owner of NBCUniversal) for $65 billion, Disney counterbid with $71.3 billion.[80] On July 19, 2018, Comcast dropped out of the bid for 21st Century Fox in favor of Sky plc and Sky UK. Eight days later, Disney and 21st Century Fox shareholders approved the merger between the two companies.[10] Although the deal was completed on March 20, 2019,[81][82] 20th Century Fox was not planning to relocate to Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, but retained its headquarters at the Fox Studio Lot in the Century City area of Los Angeles, which is currently leased to Disney by 21st Century Fox's successor, Fox Corporation, for seven years.[7] Various units were moved out from under 20th Century Fox at acquisition in months after the merger along with several rounds of layoffs. The Fox Research Library was folded into the Walt Disney Archives and Walt Disney Imagineering Archives in January 2020.[83][84] The last film to use the "20th Century Fox" name was Underwater, which was released on January 10, 2020.

After the box office failures of films like Dark Phoenix and Stuber, Disney halted development on several projects, though films such as Free Guy and the Avatar sequels managed to continue production. Fox's slate would be reduced to 10 films per year, half of them being made for the Hulu and then-upcoming Disney+ streaming services. Projects from 20th Century Fox franchises such as Star Wars, Home Alone, Cheaper by the Dozen, Night at the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Ice Age were later announced for Disney+.[85] These projects would later be fully revealed during Disney's Investor Day in December 2020 as feature films for the aforementioned streaming service.[86] The first of these projects was Home Sweet Home Alone, which was released on November 12, 2021.

On January 17, 2020, Disney renamed the studio to "20th Century Studios", which served to help avoid brand confusion with Fox Corporation.[87] Similar to other Disney film units, distribution of 20th Century Studios films is now handled in North America by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and internationally by their sub-division Buena Vista International, while Searchlight Pictures operates their own autonomous distribution and marketing unit.[8][88] Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment distributes the films produced by 20th Century and Searchlight in home media under the 20th Century Home Entertainment label. The first film released by Disney under the studio's new name was The Call of the Wild, which was released on February 21, 2020.[11] That same year, Ford vs. Ferrari (2019), among its four Academy Award nominations, earned the studio its first Best Picture nomination post-Disney acquisition.

In the same year, held-over production president Emma Watts left the company.[89] On March 12, 2020, Steve Asbell was named president, production of 20th Century Studios, while Morrison was named president, streaming, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production to oversee live-action development and production of Walt Disney Pictures and 20th Century Studios for Disney+. Philip Steuer will now lead physical and post-production and VFX, as president of production at Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production. Randi Hiller will now lead casting as executive VP casting, overseeing both Walt Disney Pictures and 20th Century Studios. Steuer has served as executive VP of physical production for Walt Disney Studios since 2015, and Hiller has led casting for Walt Disney Studios since 2011. Both will dual-report to Asbell and Sean Bailey.[90]

On September 1, 2020, the Japanese branch of 20th Century Studios, 20th Century Fox Japan, was absorbed into Disney Japan; 20th Century Studios' previous involvement with Toei Company as the Japanese co-distributor and Asian distributor for Dragon Ball films ended and were later taken over by Crunchyroll and Sony Pictures Releasing (via Sony Pictures Releasing International).[91]

On February 9, 2021, Disney announced that Blue Sky Studios was shut down in April 2021, and was succeeded by 20th Century Animation.[92][93] A spokesperson for the company explained that in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic's continued economic impact on all of its businesses, it was no longer sustainable for them to run a third feature animation studio. In addition, production on a film adaptation of the webcomic Nimona,[94] originally scheduled to be released on January 14, 2022, was cancelled as a result of its closure. The studio's film library and intellectual properties are retained by Disney. Although Disney did not give an exact date as to when the studio would be closing down initially, former animator Rick Fournier confirmed on April 10 it was their last day of operation,[95] three days after co-founder Chris Wedge released a farewell letter on social media.[96] Nimona would be picked up by Annapurna Pictures in early 2022 for release on Netflix in 2023.[97]

A horizontal version of 20th Century Studios' current print logo, used for branding films (mainly Hulu/Star originals produced by them). The first film to use this was Vacation Friends.

On November 22, 2021, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution and WarnerMedia reached an agreement to allow select 20th Century Studios films be shared between Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max through late 2022. The new agreement negotiated by Gerard Devan and John Gelke is an amendment to the original agreement between 20th Century Fox and HBO that Disney inherited after its acquisition of Fox in 2019, and as such, is not expected to be renewed. Following the end of the 20th Century-HBO deal, Disney plans to retain the 20th Century films on their own streaming platforms going forward after 2022.[98] The first film to this new strategy was Ron's Gone Wrong. Also in 2021, Disney had launched a video game based-studio 20th Century Games. Similar to its predecessors—FoxNext, Fox Interactive and 20th Century Fox Games—it acts as a distributor and has partnered with other triple-A game studios. Its first title was Aliens: Fireteam Elite.[99]

On February 8, 2022, Steven Spielberg's 2021 film version of West Side Story, among its seven Academy Award nominations, earned 20th Century Studios its first Best Picture nomination post-rebranding.[100]

In March 2023, it was announced that Marvel Comics would be launching a 20th Century Studios imprint, which will release comics based on 20th Century franchises. The first comic under the label would be a Planet of the Apes comic.[101]

On February 26, 2024, Walt Disney Pictures president Sean Bailey was announced to be stepping down, with Searchlight Pictures president David Greenbaum assuming his position. Greenbaum will lead Walt Disney Pictures and co-lead 20th Century with Steve Asbell as president.[102]


20th Television is the television production division of 20th Century Studios. It was known as 20th Century Fox Television until it adopted the 20th Television name in 2020. The original 20th Television was the studio's television syndication division until it was folded into Disney-ABC Domestic Television in 2020.[103]

During the mid-1950s, feature films were released to television in the hope that they would broaden sponsorship and help the distribution of network programs. Blocks of one-hour programming of feature films to national sponsors on 128 stations were organized by 20th Century Fox and National Telefilm Associates. 20th Century Fox received 50% interest in the NTA Film Network after it sold its library to National Telefilm Associates. This gave 90 minutes of cleared time a week and syndicated feature films (under the package title "Premiere Performance") to 110 non-interconnected stations for sale to national sponsors.[104]

Buyout of Four Star

Fox bought out the remaining assets of Four Star Television from Ronald Perelman's Compact Video in 1996.[105] The majority of Four Star Television's library of programs are controlled by 20th Television today.[106][107][108] After Murdoch's numerous buyouts during the buyout era of the eighties, News Corporation had built up financial debts of $7 billion (much from Sky TV in the UK), despite the many assets that were held by NewsCorp.[109] The high levels of debt caused Murdoch to sell many of the American magazine interests he had acquired in the mid-1980s.


Between 1933 and 1937, a custom record label called Fox Movietone was produced starting at F-100 and running through F-136. It featured songs from 20th Century Fox movies, first using material recorded and issued on Victor's Bluebird label and halfway through switched to material recorded and issued on ARC's dime store labels (Melotone, Perfect, etc.). These scarce records were sold only at Fox Theaters.

The music arm of 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox Records, was founded in 1958. It would go defunct in 1981.

Fox Records was the 20th Century Fox's music arm since 1992 before being renamed to Fox Music in 2000. It encompasses music publishing and licensing businesses, dealing primarily with Fox Entertainment Group's television and film soundtracks under license by Universal Music Group, EMI, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group. It would also go defunct on January 17, 2020, and was subsequently folded into Hollywood Records.


The Twentieth Century Fox Presents radio series[110] were broadcast between 1936 and 1942. More often than not, the shows were a radio preview featuring a medley of the songs and soundtracks from the latest movie being released into the theaters, much like the modern-day movie trailers we now see on TV, to encourage folks to head down to their nearest Picture House.

The radio shows featured the original stars, with the announcer narrating a lead-up that encapsulated the performance.

Motion picture film processing

From its earliest ventures into movie production, Fox Film Corporation operated its own processing laboratories. The original lab was located in Fort Lee, New Jersey along with the studios. A lab was included with the new studio built in Los Angeles in 1916.[111] Headed by Alan E. Freedman, the Fort Lee lab was moved into the new Fox Studios building in Manhattan in 1919.[112] In 1932, Freedman bought the labs from Fox for $2,000,000 to bolster what at that time was a failing Fox liquidity.[113][114] He renamed the operation "DeLuxe Laboratories," which much later became Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. In the 1940s Freedman sold the labs back to what was then 20th Century Fox and remained as president into the 1960s. Under Freedman's leadership, DeLuxe added two more labs in Chicago and Toronto and processed film from studios other than Fox, such as UA and Universal.



  • 20th Century Family is an American family-friendly production division of 20th Century Studios. Besides family-friendly theatrical films, the division oversees mixed media (live-action with animation), family animated holiday television specials based on film properties, and film features based on TV shows. On October 30, 2017, Morrison was transferred from her post as president of 20th Century Animation, the prior Fox Family Films, to be president of a newly created 20th Century Fox division, Fox Family, which as a mandate similar to Fox Family Films. The division's president also pick up supervision of a Bob's Burgers film[76] and some existing deals with animation producers done via Gerard Bevan and Andy Watts, including Tonko House.[115] With the sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney in March 2019, rights to The Dam Keeper feature animated film returned to Tonko House.[116] With the August 2019 20th Century Fox slate overhaul announcement, 20th Century Fox properties such as Star Wars, Home Alone, Night at the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Cheaper by the Dozen, and the Ice Age spin-off have been assigned for Disney+ release and assigned to 20th Century Family.[85] On March 12, 2020, Morrison was named president, Streaming, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production to oversee live action development and production and 20th Century Studios for Disney+.[90]
  • 20th Century Animation is an American animation studio organized as a division of 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios. Originally formed in 1994 as its subsidiary, it is tasked with producing feature-length films. At one point divisions were Fox Animation Studios until 2000 and Blue Sky Studios until 2021. Its successful films and franchises include Don Bluth's Anastasia, The Simpsons Movie, and Blue Sky's Ice Age and Rio film series.
  • 20th Century Games is an American video game licensor that was founded in 2021.[99] Beforehand, Fox and later Disney used the standard 20th Century Fox/Studios brand for licensing video games. Before that, Fox had their own publishing division—Fox Interactive (which was best known for Croc, No One Lives Forever, The Simpsons and Futurama games) which was founded in 1994 and sold to Vivendi Universal Games in March 2003 and later dissolved in 2006.
  • 20th Century Comics is a comic publishing company formed in March 2023 in partnership with Marvel Comics.[101][117] Beforehand, Fox had its own comic division under the now-defunct Fox Atomic brand in collaboration with HarperCollins.


Logo and fanfare

The 20th Century-Fox production logo and fanfare (as seen in 1947)

The 20th Century Fox production logo and fanfare originated as the logo of Twentieth Century Pictures and was adopted by 20th Century-Fox after the merger in 1935. It consists of a stacked block-letter three-dimensional, monolithic logotype (nicknamed "the Monument") surrounded by Art deco buildings and illuminated by searchlights.[134] In the production logo that appears at the start of films, the searchlights are animated and the sequence is accompanied by a distinctive fanfare that was originally composed in 1933 by Alfred Newman.[135] The original layout of the logo was designed by special effects animator and matte painting artist Emil Kosa Jr.[136][137]

In 1953, Rocky Longo, an artist at Pacific Title, was hired to recreate the original logo design for the new CinemaScope picture process. Longo tilted the "0" in "20th" to have the logo maintain proportions in the wider CinemaScope format.[138] Alfred Newman also re-composed the logo's fanfare with an extension to be heard during the CinemaScope logo that would follow after the Fox logo. Although the format had since declined, director George Lucas specifically requested that the CinemaScope version of the fanfare be used for the opening titles of Star Wars (1977). Additionally, the film's main theme was composed by John Williams in the same key as the fanfare (B major), serving as an extension to it of sorts.[139][140] In 1981, the logo was slightly altered with the re-straightening of the "0" in "20th".[138]

In 1994, after a few failed attempts, Fox in-house television producer Kevin Burns was hired to produce a new logo for the company, this time using the then-new process of computer-generated imagery (CGI) adding more detail and animation, with the longer 21-second Fox fanfare arranged by Bruce Broughton used as the underscore, and a byline reading "A NEWS CORPORATION COMPANY". It would later be re-recorded by David Newman in 1997 and again in 1998.[138][140]

In 2009, an updated logo created by Blue Sky Studios (a prototype version of the 2009 structure exists) debuted with the release of Avatar.[138] In 2013, the News Corporation byline was removed.

On September 16, 2014, 20th Century Fox posted a video showcasing all of the various versions of the logo, plus the "William Fox Presents" version of the Fox Film logo and the 20th Century Pictures logo, including some variations, up until the 2009 version of the logo, with the 1998 re-arrangement version of the 1997 version of the fanfare composed by David Newman, to promote the new Fox Movies website.[141]

On January 17, 2020, it was reported that Disney had begun to phase out the "Fox" name from the studio's branding as it is no longer tied to the current Fox Corporation, with 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures respectively renamed to 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures. Branding elements associated with the studio, including the searchlights, monolith, and fanfare, will remain in use. The first film that carries the new 20th Century Studios name is The Call of the Wild (coincidentally the original film adaptation was the original Twentieth Century Pictures' final movie before its merger with Fox Film).[142][11][143]

The 20th Century Studios logo and fanfare in use since the studio's re-branding in 2020.

For the 20th Century Studios logo, its print logo debuted on a movie poster of The New Mutants[144][145] while the on-screen logo debuted in a television advertisement for and the full version debuted on February 21, 2020, with the film The Call of the Wild.[146]

The 20th Century Studios logo was animated by Picturemill (the prototype version of the 2020 structure and the 2021 structure with the 2009 sky background exists and appeared in some of Picturemill reels), based on Blue Sky Studios' animation. It features a slightly different sky backdrop, the Los Angeles skyline is larger and more detailed, and the rest of the structure appears darker with more realistic lighting.[147][148]

Film library

Film series

Title Release date Notes
Charlie Chan 1929–42
State Fair 1933–62
My Friend Flicka 1943–present Co-production with Fox 2000 Pictures and Dune Entertainment.
Anna and the King of Siam 1946–99 Co-production with Fox 2000 Pictures and Lawrence Bender Productions.
Cheaper by the Dozen 1950–present Co-production with Dune Entertainment, Robert Simonds, 21 Laps Entertainment, Khalabo Ink Society, and Walt Disney Pictures (2022).
The Fly 1958–89 Co-production with Associated Producers Inc., Lippert Films, and Brooksfilm.
Derek Flint 1966–76
Dr. Dolittle 1967–2009 Co-production with APJAC Productions, Davis Entertainment, Eddie Murphy Productions, and Friendly Films.
Planet of the Apes 1968–present Co-production with APJAC Productions, The Zanuck Company, Tim Burton Productions, Chernin Entertainment, 6th & Idaho, Dune Entertainment, and TSG Entertainment.
The Omen 1976–present Co-production with Dune Entertainment, Mace Neufeld Productions, and Harvey Bernhard Productions.
Star Wars 1977–present Co-production with Lucasfilm.
Candy Candy 1977–1992 International distribution only; Co-production with Toei Animation and Toei Company.
Alien 1979–present Co-production with Brandywine Productions, Scott Free Productions, Dune Entertainment, and TSG Entertainment.
Porky's 1981–2009 Co-production with Astral Films.
Romancing the Stone 1984–85 Co-production with The Stone Group.
Revenge of the Nerds 1984–present Co-production with Interscope Communications.
Cocoon 1985–88 Co-production with Imagine Entertainment and The Zanuck Company.
Mannequin 1987–91 Co-production with Gladden Entertainment.
Predator 1987–present Co-production with Silver Pictures, Gordon Company, Davis Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, Troublemaker Studios, and TSG Entertainment.
Wall Street 1987–2010 Co-production with Dune Entertainment and Edward Pressman Productions.
Die Hard 1988–2020 Co-production with The Mark Gordon Company, Silver Pictures, Cinergi Pictures, Dune Entertainment, Cheyenne Enterprises, TSG Entertainment, Giant Pictures, and Temple Hill Entertainment.
Young Guns 1988–90 Co-production with Morgan Creek Productions.
Alien Nation 1988–97 Co-production with American Entertainment Partners.
Alien vs. Predator 1989–present Co-production with Davis Entertainment, Gordon Company, Brandywine Productions, Dark Horse Entertainment, Impact Pictures, Stillking Films, and Dune Entertainment.
Home Alone 1990–present Co-production with Hughes Entertainment.
Hot Shots! 1991–93 Co-production with Jim Abrahams Productions.
FernGully 1992–98 Co-production with FAI Films, Youngheart Productions, CBS/Fox Video, Kroyer Films, and FAI Films.
The Sandlot 1993–present Co-production with Island World.
Speed 1994–97 Co-production with The Mark Gordon Company and Blue Tulip Productions.
Power Rangers 1995–97 Co-production with Fox Family Films, Saban Entertainment, and Toei Company.
Independence Day 1996–present Co-production with Centropolis Entertainment, Electric Entertainment, and TSG Entertainment.
Anastasia 1997–present Co-production with 20th Century Animation and Fox Animation Studios.
Big Momma's House 2000–11 Co-production with Regency Enterprises, Runteldat Entertainment, and Dune Entertainment.
X-Men 2000–20 Co-production with Bad Hat Harry Productions, The Donners' Company, Genre Films, Marvel Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, and TSG Entertainment.
Dude, Where's My Car? 2000–present Co-production with Alcon Entertainment.
24 2001–present Co-production with Imagine Entertainment.
Joy Ride 2001–14 Co-production with Regency Enterprises, Bad Robot, and LivePlanet.
Behind Enemy Lines Co-production with Davis Entertainment.
Super Troopers 2001–18 Co-production with Broken Lizard.
Kung Pow! 2002–present Co-production with O Entertainment.
Ice Age 2002–present Co-production with 20th Century Animation and Blue Sky Studios.
The Transporter 2002–15 US distribution only (except for the third which was distributed by Lionsgate); produced and released elsewhere by EuropaCorp.
Drumline 2002–14 Co-production with N'Credible Entertainment, Wendy Finerman Productions, and Fox 2000 Pictures.
28 Days Later 2002–07 US distribution only; produced and released in the UK by UK Film Council; co-production with DNA Films.
Wrong Turn 2003–14 US distribution only; co-production with Regency Enterprises; produced and released elsewhere by Constantin Film and Summit Entertainment.
Master and Commander 2003–present Co-production with Miramax, Samuel Goldwyn Films, and Universal Pictures.
Garfield 2004–09 Co-production with Davis Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, and Paws, Inc.
Fantastic Four 2005–15 Co-production with 1492 Pictures, Constantin Film, Genre Films, Marvel Entertainment, and TSG Entertainment.
The Hills Have Eyes 2006–07 Co-production with Dune Entertainment and Craven/Maddalena Films.
The Marine 2006–18 Co-production with Dune Entertainment and WWE Studios.
Eragon 2006–present Co-production with Dune Entertainment, Davis Entertainment, and Di Bonaventura Pictures.
Night at the Museum Co-production with 21 Laps Entertainment, 1492 Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Atomic Cartoons, Alibaba Pictures and TSG Entertainment.
Hitman 2007–15 US distribution only; produced and released elsewhere by EuropaCorp; co-production with TSG Entertainment, Eidos Interactive, IO Interactive, and Square Enix.
Alvin and the Chipmunks Co-production with Fox 2000 Pictures, Dune Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Regency Enterprises, and Bagdasarian Productions.
Mirrors 2008–10 Co-production with Dune Entertainment and Regency Enterprises.
Street Kings 2008–11 Co-production with Dune Entertainment and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Marley & Me Co-production with Dune Entertainment and Regency Enterprises.
Taken 2008–14 US distribution only; produced and released elsewhere by EuropaCorp.
12 Rounds 2009–15 Co-production with Dune Entertainment and WWE Studios.
Dragonball 2009–2018 Co-production with Dune Entertainment, Toei Company, Star Overseas, Big Screen Productions, and Funimation; Dragon Ball movies (excluding Battle of Gods, Resurrection 'F' & Broly) are now distributed by Sony Pictures.
Avatar 2009–present Co-production with Lightstorm Entertainment.
Wolverine 2009–17 Co-production with Dune Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Genre Films, Marvel Entertainment, and Seed Productions.
Tooth Fairy 2010–13 Co-production with Dune Entertainment, Walden Media, Blumhouse Productions, and WWE Studios.
Percy Jackson Co-production with Dune Entertainment, 1492 Pictures, and TSG Entertainment.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2010–present Co-production with Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Animation, Dune Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Color Force, Walt Disney Pictures, and Bardel Entertainment.
Rio 2011–present Co-production with 20th Century Animation, Blue Sky Studios.
Maze Runner 2014–18 Co-production with TSG Entertainment, Oddball Entertainment, Gotham Group, and Temple Hill Entertainment.
Kingsman 2014–present Co-production with TSG Entertainment, Genre Films, and Marv Films.
Deadpool 2016—2018 Co-production with TSG Entertainment, Maximum Effort, Genre Films, and Marvel Entertainment.
Hercule Poirot 2017–present Co-production with TSG Entertainment, Genre Films, Scott Free Productions, and The Mark Gordon Company.
Vacation Friends 2021–present Co-production with Hulu and Broken Road Productions
Brahmastra (Astraverse) 2022–present Co-production with Star Studios, Dharma Productions, Prime Focus, Starlight Pictures, and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
Hellraiser 2022–present Co-production with Hulu, Spyglass Media Group, Phantom Four Films, and Disney Platform Distribution.

Highest-grossing films

 Indicates films playing in theatres in the week commencing 5 July 2024.
Highest-grossing films in North America[149][obsolete source]
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 Avatar 2009 $785,221,649
2 Avatar: The Way of Water 2022 $684,075,767
3 Titanic 1997 $674,292,608
4 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 1999 $485,557,546
5 Star Wars 1977 $460,998,007
6 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 2005 $380,270,577
7 Deadpool 2016 $363,070,709
8 Deadpool 2 2018 $324,535,803
9 Return of the Jedi 1983 $315,476,701
10 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 2002 $310,676,740
11 Independence Day 1996 $306,169,268
12 The Empire Strikes Back 1980 $290,475,067
13 Home Alone 1990 $285,761,243
14 Night at the Museum 2006 $250,863,268
15 X-Men: The Last Stand $234,362,462
16 X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014 $233,921,534
17 Cast Away 2000 $233,632,142
18 The Martian 2015 $228,433,663
19 Logan 2017 $226,277,068
20 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 2009 $219,614,612
21 Mrs. Doubtfire 1993 $219,195,243
22 Alvin and the Chipmunks 2007 $217,326,974
23 Bohemian Rhapsody 2018 $216,428,042
24 X2 2003 $214,949,694
25 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2014 $208,545,589
Highest-grossing films worldwide
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 Avatar 2009 $2,922,917,914
2 Avatar: The Way of Water 2022 $2,320,250,281
3 Titanic 1997 $2,256,003,352
4 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 1999 $1,044,496,331
5 Bohemian Rhapsody 2018 $903,655,259
6 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 2009 $886,686,817
7 Ice Age: Continental Drift 2012 $877,244,782
8 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 2005 $848,754,768
9 Independence Day 1996 $817,400,891
10 Deadpool 2 2018 $785,046,920
11 Deadpool 2016 $783,112,979
12 Star Wars 1977 $775,398,007
13 X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014 $747,862,775
14 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes $710,644,566
15 Ice Age: The Meltdown 2006 $660,940,780
16 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 2002 $649,398,328
17 The Martian 2015 $630,161,890
18 How to Train Your Dragon 2 2014 $621,537,519
19 Logan 2017 $616,225,934
20 Life of Pi 2012 $609,016,565
21 The Croods 2013 $587,204,668
22 Night at the Museum 2006 $574,480,841
23 The Empire Strikes Back 1980 $547,969,004
24 The Day After Tomorrow 2004 $544,272,402
25 X-Men: Apocalypse 2016 $543,934,787

‡ — Includes theatrical reissue(s)

See also


  1. ^ Alternatively spelled as and shortened to 20th Century-Fox
  2. ^ Shortened to 20th Century Fox


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  5. ^ McClintock, Pamela; Bond, Paul (February 6, 2019). "Anxiety, AWOL Executives and "Bloodshed": How Disney Is Making 21st Century Fox Disappear". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  6. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (March 19, 2019). "Disney Completes 21st Century Fox Acquisition". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
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  29. ^ "'The Modern Miracle You See Without Glasses' – CinemaScope: 1953–1954: 'Twentieth Century-Fox presents A CinemaScope Production': 1953–1954 (Films made in CinemaScope from 1953 to 1956)" (PDF). David Bordwell. p. 290. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 30, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
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