20th Century Fox Film Studios

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20th Century Fox Film Studios
FateFormed from the merger of Fox Film Studios and 20th Century Studios
  • 20th Century Studios* Fox Film Studios
Founded 📆
Founder 👔
Areas served 🗺️
Key people
Steve Asbell (president)[1]
Products 📟 Motion pictures, television films
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company
Number of employees
2,300 (2018)
ParentThe Walt Disney Studios
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment* Fox Interactive Games* Fox Television Animation* 20th Century Fox Feature Animation Studios* 20th Century Fox Television* 20th Century Fox Players* Fox Digital Studio* Fox Family
  • Fox Studios Australia* Fox VFX Lab
🌐 Websitefoxmovies.com -->
📇 Address
📞 telephone
Footnotes / references


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The Twentieth Century Fox Film Studios Corporation (or just 20th Century Fox[lower-alpha 1][lower-alpha 2]) is a TBA upcoming American film studio that is a subsidiary of Disney's The Walt Disney Studios and a division of The Walt Disney Company.[6] The studio is located on the Fox Studio Lot in the Century City area of Los Angeles, California.[7]

The second incarnation of 20th Century Fox is one of the "Big Six" major American film studios for over 83 years. It was formed from the merger of the Fox Film Studios Corporation and 20th Century Studios (formerly the original 20th Century Fox) in 2024. In 2026, the studio was acquired by FoxABCNews. In 2019, Disney purchased 20th Century Fox through its acquisition of 21st Century Fox.[8] The studio's current name was adopted on January 17, 2020.[9]

Fox Film[edit]



Founder William Fox

William Fox entered the film industry in 1904 when he purchased a one-third share of a Brooklyn nickelodeon for $1,667.[lower-alpha 3][10] He reinvested his profits from that initial location, expanding to fifteen similar venues in the city, and purchasing prints from the major studios of the time: Biograph, Essanay, Kalem, Lubin, Pathé, Selig, and Vitagraph.[11] After experiencing further success presenting live vaudeville routines along with motion pictures, he expanded into larger venues beginning with his purchase of the disused Gaiety theater,[lower-alpha 4] and continuing with acquisitions throughout New York City and New Jersey, including the Academy of Music.[12]

Fox invested further in the film industry by founding the Greater New York Film Rental Company as a film distributor.[13] The major film studios responded by forming the Motion Picture Patents Company in 1908 and the General Film Company in 1910, in an effort to create a monopoly on the creation and distribution of motion pictures. Fox refused to sell out to the monopoly, and sued under the Sherman Antitrust Act, eventually receiving a $370,000[lower-alpha 5] settlement, and ending restrictions on the length of films and the prices that could be paid for screenplays.[13]

In 1914, reflecting the broader scope of his business, he renamed it the Box Office Attraction Film Rental Company.[14] He entered into a contract with the Balboa Amusement Producing Company film studio, purchasing all of their films for showing in his New York area theaters and renting the prints to other exhibitors nationwide.[15] He also continued to distribute material from other sources, such as Winsor McCay's early animated film Gertie the Dinosaur.[16][17] Later that year, Fox concluded that it was unwise to be so dependent on other companies, so he purchased the Éclair studio facilities in Fort Lee, New Jersey, along with property in Staten Island,[18][19] and arranged for actors and crew. The company became a film studio, with its name shortened to the Box Office Attractions Company; its first release was Life's Shop Window.[20]

Fox Film Corporation[edit]

This large stage at the Fox Studio on North Western Avenue was used as the men's dressing room when more than 2,000 people were needed for the Jerusalem street scenes in Theda Bara's Salomé (1918)
Silent film The Heart Snatcher (1920) directed by Roy Del Ruth for Fox Film Corporation.

Always more of an entrepreneur than a showman, Fox concentrated on acquiring and building theaters; pictures were secondary. The company's first film studios were set up in Fort Lee, New Jersey where it and many other early film studios in America's first motion picture industry were based at the beginning of the 20th century.[21][22][23]

In 1914, Fox Film began making motion pictures in California, and in 1915 decided to build its own permanent studio. The company leased the Edendale studio of the Selig Polyscope Company until its own studio, located at Western Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, was completed in 1916.[24] In 1917, William Fox sent Sol M. Wurtzel to Hollywood to oversee the studio's West Coast production facilities where a more hospitable and cost-effective climate existed for filmmaking.

With the introduction of sound technology, Fox moved to acquire the rights to a sound-on-film process. In the years 1925–26, Fox purchased the rights to the work of Freeman Harrison Owens, the U.S. rights to the Tri-Ergon system invented by three German inventors, and the work of Theodore Case. This resulted in the Movietone sound system later known as "Fox Movietone" developed at the Movietone Studio. Later that year, the company began offering films with a music-and-effects track, and the following year Fox began the weekly Fox Movietone News feature, that ran until 1963. The growing company needed space, and in 1926 Fox acquired 300 acres (1.2 km2) in the open country west of Beverly Hills and built "Movietone City", the best-equipped studio of its time.


When rival Marcus Loew died in 1927, Fox offered to buy the Loew family's holdings. Loew's Inc. controlled more than 200 theaters, as well as the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio. The Loew family agreed to the sale, and the merger of Fox and Loew's Inc. was announced in 1929; MGM studio bosses Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg were not included in the deal, and fought back. Using powerful political connections, Mayer called upon the Justice Department's antitrust unit to delay giving final approval to the merger. William Fox was badly injured in a car crash in the summer of 1929, and by the time he recovered, he had lost most of his fortune in the stock market crash of 1929, ending any chance of the Fox/Loew's merger being approved, even without the Justice Department's objections.

Overextended and close to bankruptcy, Fox was stripped of his empire in 1930[25] and later ended up in jail on bribery and perjury charges. Fox Film, with more than 500 theatres, was placed in receivership. A bank-mandated reorganization propped the company up for a time, but it soon became apparent that despite its size, Fox could not stand on its own. William Fox resented the way he was forced out of his company and portrayed it as an active conspiracy against him in the 1933 book Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox.


Under new president Sidney Kent, the new owners began negotiating with the upstart, but powerful independent Twentieth Century Pictures in the early spring of 1935. The two companies merged that spring as 20th Century Fox. For many years, 20th Century-Fox claimed to have been founded in 1915. For instance, it marked 1945 as its 30th anniversary. However, in recent years it has claimed the 1935 merger as its founding, even though most film historians agree it was founded in 1915.[26]


Feature films[edit]

A 1937 fire in a Fox film storage facility destroyed over 40,000 reels of negatives and prints, including the best-quality copies of every Fox feature produced prior to 1932;[27] although copies located elsewhere allowed many to survive in some form, over 75% of Fox's feature films from before 1930 are completely lost.[28]


Title card from a 1935 Fox Movietone News newsreel

In 1919, Fox began a series of silent newsreels, competing with existing series such as Hearst Metrotone News, International Newsreel, and Pathé News. Fox News premiered on October 11, 1919, with subsequent issues released on the Wednesday and Sunday of each week. Fox News gained an advantage over its more established competitors when President Woodrow Wilson endorsed the newsreel in a letter, in what may have been the first time an American president commented on a film.[29] In subsequent years, Fox News remained one of the major names in the newsreel industry by providing often-exclusive coverage of major international events, including reporting on Pancho Villa, the airship Roma, the Ku Klux Klan, and a 1922 eruption of Mount Vesuvius.[30] The silent newsreel series continued until 1930.[31]

In 1926, a subsidiary, Fox Movietone Corporation, was created, tasked with producing newsreels using Fox's recently acquired sound-on-film technology. The first of these newsreels debuted on January 21, 1927. Four months later, the May 25 release of a sound recording of Charles Lindbergh's departure on his transatlantic flight was described by film historian Raymond Fielding as the "first sound news film of consequence".[32] Movietone News was launched as a regular newsreel feature December 3 of that year.[33] Production of the series continued after the merger with Twentieth Century Pictures, until 1963, and continued to serve 20th Century Fox after that, as a source for film industry stock footage.[31]

Unlike Fox's early feature films, the Fox News and Fox Movietone News libraries have largely survived. The earlier series and some parts of its sound successor are now held by the University of South Carolina, with the remaining Fox Movietone News still held by the company.[31]


Fox Film briefly experimented with serial films, releasing the 15-episode Bride 13 and the 20-episode Fantômas in 1920. William Fox was unwilling to compromise on production quality in order to make serials profitable, however, and none were produced subsequently.[34]

Short films[edit]

Hundreds of one- and two-reel short films of various types were also produced by Fox. Beginning in 1916,[35] the Sunshine Comedy division created two-reel comedy shorts. Many of these, beginning with 1917's Roaring Lions and Wedding Bliss, starring Lloyd Hamilton, were slapstick, intended to compete with Mack Sennett's popular offerings.[36] Sunshine releases continued until the introduction of sound.[37] Other short film series included Imperial Comedies, Van Bibber Comedies (with Earle Foxe), O'Henry, Married Life of Helen and Warren, and Fox Varieties.[38] Fox's expansion into Spanish-language films in the early 1930s also included shorts.[39]


  1. Rendered as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation or 20th Century-Fox until its acquisition by News Corporation
  2. For copyright purposes, the company still uses Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
  3. $NaN in 2018 dollars
  4. Unrelated to the Broadway theatre operating at the same time, also called the Gaiety
  5. $NaN in 2018 dollars


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named AsbellPresident
  2. D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 18, 2018). "Disney Finalizes Film Studio Brass Under Alan Horn: Emma Watts Confirmed To Run Fox". Deadline. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  3. "It's Getting Awkward at Fox's Movie Studio as Disney Deal Looms". The Wall Street Journal. August 10, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  4. Szalai, Georg; Bond, Paul (March 20, 2019). "Disney Closes $71.3 Billion Fox Deal, Creating Global Content Powerhouse". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  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 August 13, 2019.
  6. Littleton, Cynthia (March 19, 2019). "Disney Completes 21st Century Fox Acquisition". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named vty3
  8. Williams, Trey (July 27, 2018). "Fox and Disney Shareholders Vote to Approve $71.3 Billion Merger". The Wrap. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named vty-2CS
  10. Solomon 2014, pp. 10–11.
  11. Solomon 2014, p. 11.
  12. Solomon 2014, pp. 11–12.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Solomon 2014, p. 12.
  14. Solomon 2014, p. 13.
  15. Slide 2001, pp. 26–27.
  16. Canemaker 2005, p. 182.
  17. Crafton 1993, p. 112.
  18. Golden 1996, p. 30.
  19. Shepherd 2013, p. 197.
  20. Solomon 2014, pp. 14, 227.
  21. Koszarski, Richard (2004). Fort Lee: The Film Town. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-86196-652-X. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  22. "Studios and Films". Fort Lee Film Commission. Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2011. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  23. Fort Lee Film Commission (2006). Fort Lee Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-4501-5. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  24. Slide, Anthony (1998). The New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. pp. 78–79. ISBN 0-8108-3426-X. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  25. Perman, Stacy; James, Meg; Faughnder, Ryan (March 8, 2019). "Fox oral history: Inside the legendary studio at the end of its run". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  26. Is Fox really 75 this year? Somewhere, the fantastic Mr. (William) Fox begs to differ. New York Post, 2010-02-10.
  27. Pierce, David (1997). "The Legion of the Condemned — Why American Silent Films Perished". Film History. 9 (1): 5–22. JSTOR 3815289.
  28. Solomon 2014, p. 1.
  29. Fielding 2011, p. 60.
  30. Fielding 2011, p. 61.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Wilsbacher, Greg. "The Fox Movietone News Donation: A Brief History". Moving Image Research Collections. University of South Carolina. Archived from the original on 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-02-06. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  32. Fielding 2011, pp. 102–104.
  33. Fielding 2011, p. 105.
  34. Solomon 2014, p. 57.
  35. Solomon 2014, p. 23.
  36. Solomon 2014, pp. 30–31.
  37. Solomon 2014, pp. 49–50.
  38. Solomon 2014, p. 71.
  39. Solomon 2014, p. 145.


External links[edit]

Media related to Fox Film Corporation at Wikimedia Commons

20th Century Pictures[edit]

Cedric Hardwicke and Fredric March in Les Misérables

Schenck was President of Twentieth Century, while Zanuck was named Production Chief and Goetz and Raymond Griffith served as vice-presidents. Their initial stars under contract were George Arliss, Constance Bennett, and Loretta Young; however the Goetz connection meant that talent could be borrowed from MGM. The company was successful from the very beginning; out of their first 18 films, only one, Born to Be Bad, was not a financial success.[1] Their 1934 production, The House of Rothschild was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. In 1935, they produced the classic film Les Misérables, from Victor Hugo's novel, which was also nominated for Best Picture.

In the winter of 1934, Zanuck began to negotiate with the UA board to acquire stock of the company and become a board member, but became outraged by UA's co-founder Mary Pickford's refusal to reward Twentieth Century with the company's stock, fearing it would have diluted the value of holdings by another UA stockholder and co-founder, D.W. Griffith. Schenck, who had been a UA stockholder for over ten years, resigned from United Artists in protest of the shoddy treatment of Twentieth Century, and Zanuck; thus began discussions with other distributors, which led to talks with the bankrupt Fox Studios of the Fox Film Corporation in the early spring of 1935. Fox Film had begun in the silent era in 1915 under founder William Fox.

Twentieth Century Pictures of 1933, merged with Fox Studios in 1935 to form 20th Century-Fox (the hyphen was dropped a half century later in 1985 under Australian Rupert Murdoch). For many years, 20th Century Fox claimed to have been founded in 1915. For instance, it marked 1945 as its 30th anniversary. However, in recent years it has now claimed the 1935 merger as its founding date.[2]


20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox)[edit]


From founding to 1956[edit]

Carmen Miranda in The Gang's All Here. In 1946, she was the highest-paid actress in the United States.[3]
Alice Faye, Don Ameche, and Carmen Miranda 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!
The entrance to 20th Century's studio lot

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.[4][5]

Spyros Skouras, then manager of the Fox West Coast Theaters, helped make it happen (and later became president of the new company).[4] The company had been struggling since founder William Fox lost control of the company in 1930.[6]

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.[7] The new company, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, began trading on May 31, 1935. Kent remained at the company, joining Schenck and Zanuck.[5] Zanuck replaced Winfield Sheehan as the company's production chief.[8]

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.[9]

For many years, 20th Century-Fox claimed to have been founded in 1915, the year Fox Film was founded. For instance, it marked 1945 as its 30th anniversary. However, in recent years it has claimed the 1935 merger as its founding, even though most film historians agree it was founded in 1915.[10] 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.[11][12]

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 production of U.S. Army training films. His partner, William Goetz, filled in at 20th Century-Fox.[13]

In 1942, Spyros Skouras succeeded Kent as president of the studio.[14] 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 written especially for films.

After the war, audiences slowly drifted away with the advent of television. 20th Century-Fox held on to its theaters until a court-mandated "divorce"; they were spun off as Fox National Theaters in 1953.[15] 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.[16]

Zanuck announced in February 1953 that henceforth all 20th Century-Fox pictures would be made in CinemaScope.[17] 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 gave 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, Universal-International), Columbia Pictures 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.[18][19] 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[edit]

Zanuck's successor, producer Buddy Adler, died a year later.[20] 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.[21] As a publicity gimmick, producer Walter Wanger offered $1 million to Elizabeth Taylor if she would star;[21] 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 on a daily basis, 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[21] 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[neutrality is disputed] 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, including Jayne Mansfield.[22][23]

With few pictures on the schedule, Skouras wanted to rush Zanuck's big-budget war epic The Longest Day (1962),[21] 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.[24] 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.[25] 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),[26] 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 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),[27] 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.[28]

Marvin Davis and Rupert Murdoch[edit]

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.[29] 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.

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.[30] In 1984 Marvin Davis bought out Marc Rich's 50% interest in 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation for an undisclosed amount,[30] reported to be $116 million.[31] 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.[31] Murdoch went ahead alone and bought the stations, and later bought out Davis' remaining stake in 20th Century Fox for $325 million.[31] From 1985, the hyphen was quietly dropped from the brand name, with 20th Century-Fox changing to 20th Century Fox.[32][33]

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 Corp.

The company formed its Fox Family Films division in 1994 to boost production at the studio and would handled animation films. In February 1998, following the success of Anastasia, Fox Family Films changed its name to Fox Animation Studios and drop its live action production which would be picked up by other production units.[34]

The Fox Broadcasting Company's Los Angeles studios in 2005

Since January 2000, 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 late 2006, Fox Atomic was started up[35] under Fox Searchlight head Peter Rice and COO John Hegeman[36] as a sibling production division under Fox Filmed Entertainment.[35] 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 Atomic in production and post-productions were transferred to 20th Century Fox and Fox Spotlight with Liebling overseeing them.[36]

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.[37] In 2008, 20th Century Fox started Fox International Productions .[38]

Chernin Entertainment was founded by Peter Chernin after he stepped down as president of 20th Century Fox's then-parent company News Corp. in 2009.[39] 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.[40]

In August 2012, 20th Century Fox signed a five-year deal with DreamWorks Animation to distribute in domestic and international markets. However, the deal did not include the distribution rights for previously released films which DreamWorks Animation acquired from Paramount Pictures later in 2014.[41] Fox's deal with DreamWorks Animation ended on June 2, 2017 with Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, with Universal Pictures taking over the distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation due to NBCUniversal's acquisition of DreamWorks Animation on August 22, 2016, starting on February 22, 2019 with the release of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

21st Century Fox era[edit]

In 2012, Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corp. would be split into two publishing and media-oriented companies: a new News Corporation, and 21st Century Fox, which operates the Fox Entertainment Group and 20th Century Fox. Murdoch considered the name of the new company a way to maintain the 20th Century Fox's heritage.[42][43]

Fox Stage Productions was formed in June 2013.[44] In August 2013, 20CF started a theatrical joint venture with a trio of producers, both film and theater, Kevin McCollum, John Davis and Tom McGrath.[45]

In September 2017, Locksmith Animation formed a multi-year production deal with 20th Century Fox, who will distribute Locksmith's films, 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.[46]

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 John Kilkenny, VFX president.[47]

On October 30, 2017, Vanessa Morrison was named president of a new 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 produce based holiday television specials on existing film properties, and oversee feature film adaptation of its TV shows.[48] To replace Morrision at Fox Animation, Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird were named co-presidents of 20th Century Fox Animation.[49]

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.[50]

Disney era and studio renaming[edit]

On December 14, 2017, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to purchase most of the 21st Century Fox assets, including 20th Century Fox, for $52.4 billion.[51] After a bid from Comcast (parent company of NBCUniversal) for $65 billion, Disney counterbid with $71.3 billion.[52] On July 19, 2018, Comcast dropped out of the 21st Century Fox bid in favor of Sky plc and Sky UK and eight days later, Disney and 21st Century Fox shareholders approved the merger between the two companies.[53] Although the deal was completed on March 20, 2019,[54] 20th Century Fox was not planning to relocate to Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, but retained its headquarters in Century City on the Fox Studio Lot, which is currently leased to Disney by 21st Century Fox's successor, Fox Corporation, for seven years.[55] Various units were moved out from under 20th Century Fox at acquisition and months after the merger plus there were several rounds of layoffs.

On January 17, 2020, Disney renamed the studio as 20th Century Studios (legally, 20th Century Studios, Inc.[56]), which served to help avoid brand confusion with the Fox Corporation. Similar to other Disney film units, distribution of 20th Century Studios films is now handled by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, while Searchlight Pictures operates their own autonomous distribution unit.[57] The first film released by Disney under the studio's new name was The Call of the Wild.[58]

In January 2020, held-over production president Emma Watts resigned from the company.[59] 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 Disney Live Action and 20th Century Studios for Disney+. Two other changes that similar merged 20th Century Studios and Disney Pictures functions and answering to Asbell and Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Pictures productions were Philip Steuer as president, production over physical and post production and VFX and Randi Hiller who will lead casting as executive vice president, casting.[60]


20th Television was 20th Century Fox's television syndication division. 20th Century Fox Television was the studio's television production division.

During the mid-1950s, feature films were released to television in the hope that they would broaden sponsorship and help distribution of network programs. Blocks of one-hour programming of feature films to national sponsors on 128 stations was organized by Twentieth Century Fox and National Telefilm Associates. Twentieth Century Fox received 50% interest in 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 to 110 non-interconnected stations for sale to national sponsors.[61]

Buyout of Four Star[edit]

Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox bought out the remaining assets of Four Star Television from Ronald Perelman's Compact Video in 1996.[62] The majority of Four Star Television's library of programs are controlled by 20th Century Fox Television today.[63][64][65] 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.[66] 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 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.

Fox Music has been 20th Century Fox's music arm since 2000. It encompasses music publishing and licensing businesses, dealing primarily with Fox Entertainment Group television and film soundtracks.

Prior to Fox Music, 20th Century Records was its music arm from 1958 to 1982.


The Twentieth Century Fox Presents radio series[67] 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[edit]

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.[68] Headed by Alan E. Freedman, the Fort Lee lab was moved into the new Fox Studios building in Manhattan in 1919.[69] In 1932, Freedman bought the labs from Fox for $2,000,000 to bolster what at that time was a failing Fox liquidity.[70][71] 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.


Fox Atomic[edit]

Fox Atomic was a youth-focused film production company and division of Fox Filmed Entertainment that operated from 2006 to April 2009. Atomic was originally paired with Fox Spotlight Pictures under the same leadership.

In late 2006, Fox Atomic was started up[35] under Fox Searchlight head Peter Rice and COO John Hegeman[36] as a sibling production division under Fox Filmed Entertainment.[35] Debbie Liebling transferred to Fox Atomic in 2007 from Fox.[36] In January 2008, Atomic's marketing unit was transferred to Fox Searchlight and 20th Century Fox,[72] 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 Atomic in production and post-productions were transferred to 20th Century Fox and Fox Spotlight with Liebling overseeing them.[36]

  • Turistas (December 2006)[35]
  • The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007)[35]
  • 28 Weeks Later (2007)[35]
  • The Comebacks[72]
  • The Rocker[36]
  • Miss March[36]
  • 12 Rounds[36]

Films in production at shut down and transferred to other Fox units

  • I Love You, Beth Cooper (July 10, 2009)[72] 20th Century Fox release, 1492 Pictures production company, directed by Chris Columbus and starring Hayden Panettiere[36]
  • Post Grad (August 21, 2009) through Fox Searchlight directed by Vicky Jenson and starring Alexis Bledel[36]
  • Jennifer's Body (September 18, 2009)[72] 20th Century Fox release, directed by Karyn Kusama and starring Megan Fox[36]

Fox Family[edit]

Fox Family is a 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 Fox 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 pick up supervision of a Bob's Burgers film[48] and some existing deals with animation producers, including Tonko House.[73] With the sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney in March 2019, rights to The Dam Keeper feature animated film returned to Tonko House.[74]

With the August 2019 20th Century Fox slate overhaul announcement, 20th Century Fox properties such as Home Alone, Night at the Museum, and Diary of the Wimpy Kid have been assigned for Disney+ release and assigned to Fox Family.[75] On March 12, 2020, Morrison was named president, Streaming, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production to oversee live action development and production of Disney Live Action and 20th Century Studios for Disney+.[60]

Upcoming productions
  • Bob's Burgers: The Movie (April 9, 2021)[48][76]
  • an unnamed The Simpsons Movie sequel
  • The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion based film, produced with Chernin Entertainment[77]
  • Paper Lanterns live-action/animated family film written by Jonny Sun and produced with Chernin Entertainment[78]
  • The Garden live-action/CGI musical film based on book of Genesis's the Garden of Eden with Franklin Entertainment[79]

Fox VFX Lab[edit]

Fox VFX Lab is a visual effects company division of 20th Century Studios that was acquired in 2017 known as Technoprops. It is leaded by president John Kilkenny. Besides their visual effects activities, the division oversees different parts of the world to apply for and work on projects that include films such as Avatar, The Jungle Book, Rogue One, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Doctor Strange, and Warcraft[80] and also video game properties like Need for Speed (2015), Battlefield 1, Rainbow Six Siege, Watch Dogs 2, Just Cause 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Mafia III, Halo 4, Mortal Kombat 11, Far Cry (Far Cry 5 and Primal), Call of Duty (Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III) and Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic Forces and Team Sonic Racing).[81][82]

Fox International Productions[edit]

Fox International Productions was the division of 20th Century Fox in charge of local production in 12 territories in China, Europe, India and Latin America from 2008 to 2017.

In 2008, 20th Century Fox started Fox International Productions under president Sanford Panitch. The company had $900 million in box-office receipts by the time Panitch left the company for Sony on June 2, 2015.[38] Co-president of worldwide theatrical marketing and distribution for 20th Century Fox Tomas Jegeus was named president of Fox International Productions effective September 1, 2015.[83] The company struck a development and production deal in November 2015 with Zhejiang Huace, a Chinese entertainment group.[84] In December 2017, 20th Century Fox film chairman-CEO Stacey Snider indicated that Fox International Productions would be dissolved in favor of each local and regional offices producing or acquiring projects.[85]

Logo and fanfare[edit]

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

The familiar 20th Century production logo 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. 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.[86] The original layout of the logo was designed by special effects animator and matte painting artist Emil Kosa Jr..[87][88]

The 20th Century-Fox logo and fanfare has been recognised as an iconic symbol of a golden age of Hollywood. Its appearance at the start of popular films such as How Green Was My Valley (1941) and MASH (1970) established its recognition.[89]

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.[90] 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.[91][89] In 1981, the logo was slightly altered with the re-straightening of the "0" in "20th".[90]

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 David Newman used as the underscore.[90][89]

In 2009, an updated logo created by Blue Sky Studios debuted with the release of Avatar.[90]

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).[92][58][93]

For the 20th Century Studios logo, its print logo debuted on a movie poster of The New Mutants[94][95] while the on-screen logo debuted in a television advertisement for the film The Call of the Wild.[96]

The 20th Century Studios logo was animated by Picturemill.[97]



  • List of 20th Century Studios films (2020–present)
  • List of 20th Century Fox films (2000–2020)
  • List of 20th Century Fox films (1935–1999)
  • List of Twentieth Century Pictures films (1933–1936)
  • List of Fox Film films (1914–1935)

Highest-grossing films[edit]

The Academy Film Archive houses the 20th Century Fox Features Collection which contains features, trailers, and production elements mostly from the Fox, Twentieth Century, and Twentieth Century-Fox studios, from the late 1920s–1950s.[98]

Highest-grossing films in North America[99]
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 Avatar 2009 $760,507,625
2 Titanic 1997 $659,363,944
3 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 1999 $474,544,677
4 Star Wars 1977 $460,998,007
5 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 2005 $380,270,577
6 Deadpool 2016 $363,070,709
7 Deadpool 2 2018 $324,535,803
8 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 2002 $310,676,740
9 Return of the Jedi 1983 $309,306,177
10 Independence Day 1996 $306,169,268
11 The Empire Strikes Back 1980 $290,475,067
12 Home Alone 1990 $285,761,243
13 Night at the Museum 2006 $250,863,268
14 X-Men: The Last Stand 2006 $234,362,462
15 X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014 $233,921,534
16 Cast Away 2000 $233,632,142
17 The Martian 2015 $228,433,663
18 Logan 2017 $226,277,068
19 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 2009 $219,614,612
20 Mrs. Doubtfire 1993 $219,195,243
21 Alvin and the Chipmunks 2007 $217,326,974
22 Bohemian Rhapsody 2018 $216,428,042
23 X2: X-Men United 2003 $214,949,694
24 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2014 $208,545,589
25 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 2009 $196,573,705
Highest-grossing films worldwide
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 Avatar 2009 $2,789,679,794
2 Titanic 1997 $2,187,463,944
3 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 1999 $1,027,044,677
4 Bohemian Rhapsody 2018 $903,655,259
5 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 2009 $886,686,817
6 Ice Age: Continental Drift 2012 $877,244,782
7 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 2005 $848,754,768
8 Independence Day 1996 $817,400,891
9 Deadpool 2 2018 $785,046,920
10 Deadpool 2016 $783,112,979
11 Star Wars 1977 $775,398,007
12 X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014 $747,862,775
13 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2014 $710,644,566
14 Ice Age: The Meltdown 2006 $660,940,780
15 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 2002 $649,398,328
16 The Martian 2015 $630,161,890
17 How to Train Your Dragon 2 2014 $621,537,519
18 Logan 2017 $616,225,934
19 Life of Pi 2012 $609,016,565
20 The Croods 2013 $587,204,668
21 Night at the Museum 2006 $574,480,841
22 The Empire Strikes Back 1980 $547,969,004
23 The Day After Tomorrow 2004 $544,272,402
24 X-Men: Apocalypse 2016 $543,934,787
25 The Revenant 2015 $532,950,503

I ‡—Includes theatrical reissue(s).

See also[edit]

Others articles of the Topics Companies AND United States : YouTube, Facilis Technology Inc., Birdman Bats, 100 Best Companies to Work For, Air Vermont, JetBlue Foundation, Bank of America Corporation

Others articles of the Topics United States AND Los Angeles : Paramount Pictures Corporation

Others articles of the Topics Companies AND Los Angeles : Flatiron Music Group, Univision Communications Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation

Others articles of the Topic Companies : Essar Steel, Aerowings, Sky Cana, After-sales, Delete Agency, Infogain Corporation, Actera Group

Others articles of the Topic United States : 31st Kentucky Infantry Regiment, Birdman Bats, 2021 World Championships in Athletics, O. E. Price, Snoop Dogg, Banner County Wind Farm, The United States

Others articles of the Topic Los Angeles : AniFest, Los Angeles, Nishiyamato Academy of California, Univision Communications Inc., Adventist Health White Memorial, DJ Flash, Beach Cities Health District


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