Factbox: Paramount deal talks turn the spotlight on top Hollywood studios

Photographers take pictures at the gate of Paramount Pictures Studios as cast member Catherine Keener arrives for the premiere of the film "The Soloist" in Los Angeles, California April 20, 2009. (Reuters/Danny Moloshok/File Photo)

Media heiress Shari Redstone abruptly ended talks with David Ellison-led Skydance Media on Tuesday, killing the potential sale of a controlling stake in Paramount Global PARA.O to the independent studio, sources familiar with the talks said.

Reports had pointed to several suitors, including Sony 6758.T, for the highly sought after Paramount Pictures studios but an agreement with Skydance had appeared to be almost near.

Here are Hollywood’s top studios and their performance:

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures, founded in 1912 and owned by media giant Comcast CMCSA.O through its subsidiary NBCUniversal, is one of Hollywood’s biggest film studios.

It owns classics such as “Jurassic World,” “Fast and Furious,” and “Minions”. “Jaws” and “E.T. the Extraterrestrial”, which became the highest-grossing films of all time during their initial releases, are also part of Universal’s library.

The film library consists of more than 6,500 titles, according to its annual report.

Universal was ranked No. 1 in worldwide box office last year for the first time since 2015.

Universal Pictures and Focus Features, under the banner of Comcast, racked up about $1.94 billion in box-office revenue in the U.S. and Canada in 2023, according to research firm Comscore.

Last year, theatrical revenue came in at $2.08 billion, according to the company’s annual report, driven by big wins including Christopher Nolan’s epic “Oppenheimer” and the animated adventure “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

Universal dominated this year’s Academy Awards, bolstered by “Oppenheimer,” which won seven Oscars, including best picture.

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures PARA.O considered the jewel of Paramount Global has attracted many suitors over the years.

However, Shari Redstone, the company’s controlling shareholder through her stake in parent company National Amusements, has been reluctant to part with the studio that her father, the late Sumner Redstone, acquired in 1994.

The studio’s library consists of more than 1,000 titles, including “Star Trek,” “Godfather,” and “Mission Impossible,” with rights to an additional 2,500 films.

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”, starring Tom Cruise, is its top grossing film, bringing in box office revenue of $172.1 million last year in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, IMDb’s Box Office Mojo data showed.

Last year, Paramount Pictures grossed $842.4 million in box office revenue in the U.S. and Canada, Comscore data showed.

Paramount, like other studios in the U.S., is recovering from last year’s months-long strikes by Hollywood writers and actors. Along with a soft advertising market, the strikes weighed on the company’s eroding profit.

The Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney and brother Roy Disney founded “Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio” after signing a contract with distributer M.J. Winkler for “Alice Comedies” in October 1923. The studio was renamed Walt Disney Studios in 1926.

Its collection of renowned studios include Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and 20th Century Studios.

Disney is home to popular film franchises like the “Avengers”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Pirates of the Caribbean” and holds a collection of live-action versions of classic tales such as “Alice in Wonderland”, “Maleficent”, “The Jungle Book”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “The Lion King.”

Cumulatively through Sept. 30 last year, the company has released about 1,100 full-length live-action films and 100 full-length animated films.

The studios together brought in U.S. and Canada box office revenue of $1.90 billion in 2023, Comscore said, with hits like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and musical fantasy film “The Little Mermaid” topping the charts.

Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group

Owned by Warner Bros Discovery WBD.O, Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group includes Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures Animation.

The company has a library of 12,500 feature films including franchises like “Wonder Woman,” “Harry Potter,” and “Batman”

Warner Bros. Pictures Animation began its journey with the iconic “Looney Tunes” in 1930 and has produced classics such as “The Iron Giant”, “The Lego Movie” franchise and “Happy Feet.”

It made headlines in 2023 with the feminist doll adventure, “Barbie”, which topped $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide.

The company’s recent releases such as star-studded “Dune: Part Two” grossed about $711.8 million in worldwide box office collection, according to Box Office Mojo.

The studio ranked third last year in U.S. and Canada box office revenue with about $1.43 billion, according to Comscore.

Sony pictures entertainment 

Sony Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Japan’s Sony Group 6758.T, was formed through the $3.4 billion purchase of Columbia Pictures Entertainment in 1989.

The Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group includes more than 3,500 movie titles as of March 2023, including 12 best picture Academy Award winners.

It has produced some of the industry’s most notable franchises such as “Jumanji,” “Resident Evil,” “Spider-Man”, “Bad Boys”, and “Men in Black”.

Last year, the studio released its long-awaited adrenaline-fueled film “Gran Turismo“, an adaptation of Sony PlayStation’s hit car-racing franchise by the same name.

The film brought revenue of more than $44 million in domestic box office and grossed over $122 million in worldwide box office collection, according to Box Office Mojo.Sony Pictures Entertainment and private-equity firm Apollo Global Management APO.N had expressed interest in acquiring Paramount Global.

—Reporting by Jaspreet Singh and Harshita Mary Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila