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Creator / 20th Century Studios

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The making and authorized distribution of this film supported over 14,000 American jobs and involved over 600,000 work hours.

Twentieth Century Studios is a film and television production company owned by the Walt Disney Company. From its inception on May 31, 1935 (under the name "Twentieth Century Fox", a merger of two separate production companies, William Fox's Fox Film Corp. and Darryl F. Zanuck's 20th Century Pictures, Inc), to its acquisition by Disney on March 20, 2019, it served as one of the major Hollywood studios.

Well known for its Fanfare composed by Alfred Newman, which has essentially become the unofficial Theme Tune of the motion picture industry. And, of course, its logo—inherited from 20th Century Pictures—the studio's name as a giant structure surrounded by searchlights (last revised in 2009, as of Avatar).

In its day, 20th Century was considered one of the most prestigious of the Hollywood studios, known for its musicals (especially in the 1940s with Betty Grable), and prestige Bio Pics (such as John Ford's 1939 film Young Mr. Lincoln). 20th Century also capitalized on its association with Shirley Temple, who single-handedly made over $20 million for the studio in the late 1930s. The studio was distinguished by its glossy production values and sharp-focused, high-contrast cinematography. In addition, under long-time founding executive Zanuck, the studio became known for making some of the most important and controversial films in Hollywood, with films that addressed sensitive issues such as antisemitism (the Academy Award winning Gentleman's Agreement), poverty (fellow Academy Award winner The Grapes of Wrath), unfair unionization and environmental destruction (a third Academy Award winner, How Green Was My Valley), and institutionalized mistreatment of the mentally ill (The Snake Pit, which caused 13 states to change their laws when it came out).


In the 1950s, alongside its more standard dramatic fare, 20th Century produced a series of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, comedies with squeaky-clean teen idols, and well-regarded biblical epics, hoping to stave off the threat of television by the sheer size of its productions. Unfortunately, this strategy proved wildly inconsistent in results, the grotesquely overpriced Cleopatra would have nearly bankrupted the studio if the marathon musical The Sound of Music hadn't become the studio's most profitable film at the time. Furthermore, the strategy then backfired spectacularly when the studio attempted to duplicate that success by producing three expensive, large-scale musicals over a period of three years: Doctor Dolittle (1967), Star! (1968) and Hello, Dolly! (1969). All were released amid massive pre-release publicity and all lost equally massive amounts of money for the studio that could have sunk the studio again if it weren't for the spectacular success of the hit SF series, Planet of the Apes, starting in 1968 to keep it afloat. The result was that several top studio executives (including the company founder's son, Richard Zanuck) lost their jobs, and the studio itself went into such dire financial straits that it produced only one picture for the entire calendar year of 1970. Eventually, by 1977, there were moves to have the studio sold off and perhaps dismantled, but that was the year a little, seemingly absurd film called Star Wars exploded into popular culture. 20th Century Studios was the first major studio to embrace the then-new medium of home video through a deal with Magnetic Video, which they would subsequently fully acquire as a subsidiary; its Hello Dolly! was the first film released on home video in the U.S.


When Tom Rothman was running the studio, it became notorious for making established franchises into movies and rewriting/ruining them. It also became hated among movie buffs for what they perceive to be monumental levels of Executive Meddling and a focus on profit over creativity, with studio executives having more control over a film's production than the director did. This resulted in a number of critically-acclaimed films, such as Fantastic Mr. Fox, bombing at the box office.

It was the above bombs, plus the ironically dwindling profits, that lead to perhaps one of the biggest shockers in modern Hollywood: On December 14, 2017, in one of the biggest media shake-ups in decades, Disney announced its intention to acquire 20th Century's then-parent company 21st Century Fox in a cash-and-stock deal worth over $71.3 billionnote , the largest acquisition ever in Disney's history.note 

After about a year-and-a-half of regulatory approvals, Disney formally seized control of the studio on March 20, 2019, ending 20th Century's eighty-four year run as one of the major Hollywood studios and reducing the number of major film studios from six to five (Warner Bros., Paramount, Columbia Pictures, Universal, Disney), a number that had not been seen since The Golden Age of Hollywood. Disney stated that the brand will continue to live on as one of Disney Studios' core film brands, focusing primarily on adult-oriented fare or material unsuitable for Disney's other studio brands, displacing the inactive Touchstone Pictures label in the process.

Upon the deal closing, the studio as an autonomous entity was no more; Disney assumed all production and distribution duties for existing properties, they gained the FX cable channel, and their television distribution division, Disney-ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution now handles all off-network reruns and streaming rights, while Buena Vista International now holds global rights to the catalog. The iconic logo was of course part of the deal, and you will still see it at the beginning of their movies, but that's only for marketing purposes, because Rupert Murdoch, as part of the agreement, kept control of all the Fox trademarks save FX, granting Disney an exclusive licensing agreement to continue using the "20th Century Fox" name in perpetuity. Under this arrangement, 20th Century Fox Television likewise continues as a sister studio to ABC Studios, both studios becoming part of a restructured Disney Television Studios group.

Murdoch retained the Fox network and Fox News Channel while creating new new production & syndication arms, Fox Entertainment and Fox First Run; the new arms now handle all syndicated shows produced in-housenote . 20th Century's Century City studio lot will continue to be operated by Disney until at least 2026, which some speculate could be renovated as a result of the deal.

In addition, Disney's Marvel Studios got all of the characters 20th Century had the rights to such as the X-Men and Fantastic Four, as well as Lucasfilm (even after Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, 20th Century maintained the distribution rights to the first six Star Wars films, while owning Episode IV: A New Hope outright).

In August 2019, Disney, citing disappointing box office numbers from inherited films Dark Phoenix and Stuber, announced that it would take a more direct role in green-lighting films under the brand, focusing primarily on established intellectual properties rather than smaller, one-off fare (outside of films from former sister property Searchlight Pictures). This effectively resulted in almost all films in the early stages of production without a release date getting scrapped or shelved indefinitely.

From 2013 to 2017, it was the distributor of DreamWorks Animation films and shows, beginning with The Croods, after DWA's previous deal with Paramount expired after Rise of the Guardians. Even after NBCUniversal purchased the studio in 2016, 20th Century continued releasing DreamWorks Animation films until their contract ended with the release of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.

In January 2020, in a move seemingly intended to dissociate their content from that of the remaining Murdoch assets, Disney announced that the word "Fox" was to be dropped from all forthcoming productions with "20th Century Fox" becoming 20th Century Studios and sister studio "Fox Searchlight" becoming Searchlight Pictures . The name change marks a throwback of sorts, since a similar name was used for predecessor 20th Century Pictures before its merger with Fox Film. It is assumed but unconfirmed that the television shows in production will most likely switch over to ABC Studios. While the logo was changed slightly to reflect the new names, the iconic fanfare and presentation remained the same.

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    Films produced and/or distributed (incomplete list; includes Searchlight Pictures releases) 

    Shows Produced (incomplete list) 
  • 20th Television (the now-defunct distribution arm) owned the libraries of the following defunct companies:
    • Four Star Television, with the following exceptions:
      • The Rifleman, which is owned by original co-producer Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions.
      • Trackdown, which is owned by original co-producer CBS­.
      • Wanted: Dead or Alive and The Big Valley, which are owned by Studio Canal.
      • PDQ, which is owned by MGM Television via their inheritance of co-producer Heatter-Quigley's library.
  • MTM Enterprises (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Newhart, etc.)
  • Metromedia Producers Corporation (Small Wonder) (was owned by Metromedia, successor of DuMont and predecessor of Fox)
  • Some of New World Entertainment's library (primarily programs made after 1991, except for select pre-1991 shows):
    • The Wonder Years
    • Real Stories of the Highway Patrol
    • Break the Bank (1985), Divorce Court and Strike It Rich (All of which were acquired when New World bought SCI Television, which owned the shows' syndicator Blair Entertainment; the second show's IP is owned by Fox Corporation and currently produced by Fox {earlier incarnations and the first fifteen seasons of the current run are owned by Disney}; the third show is currently licensed to Fremantle, who owns the worldwide rights to the format, as of 2018)
    • Some rights to the library of Stephen J. Cannell, though he bought it back from them in 1998 and Carsey-Werner currently distributes it.

Alternative Title(s): Twentieth Century Fox


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