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Fox Studio
Fox Studio

20th Century Fox

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, with hyphen, from 1935 to 1985) — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios as of 2011. Located in the Century City area of Los Angeles, just west of Beverly Hills, the studio is a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

The company was founded on May 31, 1935, as the result of the merger of Fox Film Corporation, founded by William Fox in 1915, and Twentieth Century Pictures, founded in 1933 by Darryl F. Zanuck, Joseph Schenck, Raymond Griffith and William Goetz.

20th Century Fox's most popular film franchises include Avatar, Star Wars, Ice Age, Garfield, Alvin and the Chipmunks, X-Men, Die Hard, Alien, Speed, Revenge of the Nerds, Planet of the Apes, Home Alone, Dr. Dolittle, Night at the Museum, Predator, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Chronicles of Narnia (which was previously distributed by Walt Disney Pictures), The Beach ,plus famous TV shows such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad!. Some of the most famous actors to come out of this studio were Shirley Temple, who was 20th Century Fox's first film star, Betty Grable, Gene Tierney, Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. The studio also contracted the first African-American cinema star Dorothy Dandridge.

(References to "Fox" below refer to William Fox or Fox Film Corporation until 1935 and shortly afterwards, and to Twentieth Century-Fox or Twentieth Century Fox afterwards.)

Their most commercially successful production partners in later years have been 1492 Pictures, Lucasfilm, Lightstorm Entertainment, Davis Entertainment, Walden Media, Regency Enterprises, Blue Sky Studios, Troublemaker Studios, Marvel Studios, Ingenious Film Partners, Scott Free Productions, Gracie Films, EuropaCorp, Color Force, Centropolis Entertainment, Conundrum Entertainment, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Red Hour Productions, Village Roadshow Pictures, Dune Entertainment, Chernin Entertainment, The Donners' Company, 21 Laps Entertainment and Spyglass Entertainment.

History

Fox Film Corporation

The Fox Film Corporation was formed in 1915 by the theater chain pioneer William Fox, who formed Fox Film Corporation by merging two companies he had established in 1913: Greater New York Film Rental, a distribution firm, which was part of the Independents; and Fox (or Box, depending on the source) Office Attractions Company, a production company. This merging of a distribution company and a production company was an early example of vertical integration. Only a year before, the latter company had distributed Winsor McCay's groundbreaking cartoon Gertie the Dinosaur.

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. 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. Fox had purchased the Edendale studio of the failing Selig Polyscope Company, which had been making films in Los Angeles since 1909 and was the first motion picture studio in Los Angeles.

With the introduction of sound technologies, 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." 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, which 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 MGM studio (whose films are currently distributed internationally by Fox). When the family agreed to the sale, the merger of Fox and Loew's Inc. was announced in 1929. But MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer, not included in the deal, fought back. Using political connections, Mayer called on the Justice Department's anti-trust unit to block the merger. Fortunately for Mayer, 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 fall, 1929 stock market crash, putting an end to the Loew's merger.

Overextended and close to bankruptcy, Fox was stripped of his empire and ended up in jail. Fox Film, with more than 500 theatres, was placed in receivership. A bank-mandated reorganization propped the company up for a time, but it was clear a merger was the only way Fox Film could survive. Under the new president Sidney Kent, the new owners began negotiating with the upstart but powerful independent Twentieth Century Pictures in the early spring of 1935.

 







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