Twentieth (20th) Century Fox, shorthand for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, is one of the major movie studios, located in the Century City area of Los Angeles, California, USA, just west of Beverly Hills. The studio is a subsidiary of News Corporation, the media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch.



Twentieth Century Fox





The company is the result of a 1935 merger of two entities, Fox Film Corporation founded by William Fox in 1915, and Twentieth Century Pictures, begun in 1933 by Darryl F. Zanuck, Joseph Schenck, Raymond Griffith and William Goetz. William Fox, a pioneer in creating the theater "chain," began producing films in 1914, and in 1917 hit the jackpot when he offered the sensation of her time, Theda Bara. Always more of an entrepreneur than a showman, Fox concentrated on acquiring and building theaters; pictures were secondary. When sound came along, Fox acquired the rights to a German sound-on-film process which he dubbed "Movietone," and in 1926 began offering films with a music-and- effects track. The following year he began the weekly "Fox Movietone News" feature, which ran until 1963. The growing company needed space, and in 1926 Fox acquired three-hundred acres 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 two-hundred theaters as well as the MGM studio. 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, he called on the Justice Department's anti-trust unit to block the merger. Fate favoured Mayer; Fox was badly injured in a car wreck, and by the time he recovered, the 1929 stock market crash had taken most of his fortune, and put an end to the Loew's merger.


Over-extended, near bankruptcy, Fox was stripped of his empire. Fox Film, with more than five-hundred theatres, was placed in receivership; a bank-mandated reorganisation propped the company up for a time, but it was clear a merger was the only way Fox Film could survive.


At Warner Brothers, production-head Darryl Zanuck was in a feud over money; tight-fisted Warners had cut costs in the depression by reducing salaries. When Zanuck asked for his pay to be restored, they refused, and he quit. Days later he announced the formation of a new company Twentieth Century Pictures, in partnership with Joseph Schenck, president of United Artists. Begun in mid-1933, releasing four to six pictures a year through United Artists, Twentieth Century was a success, in part due to financial backing from L.B. Mayer and Nicholas Schenck, Joe's brother and head of Loews.


Two years later, Joe Schenck and Fox Film management agreed to a merger; Zanuck was to head production, and Schenck would be chief executive. Observers of this mouse-and-elephant combination expected that the new company would be called "Fox-Twentieth Century." But taking the name Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, the new company was created on May 31, 1935. (The hyphen was dropped in 1985.)


Aside from the theater chain and a first-rate studio lot, Zanuck and Schenck felt there wasn't much else to Fox Film. The studio's biggest star, Will Rogers, died in a plane crash weeks after the merger. Its leading female star, Janet Gaynor, was fading in popularity. Promising leading men James Dunn and Spencer Tracy had been dropped because of heavy drinking. Zanuck quickly signed young actors who would carry Twentieth Century-Fox for years: Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Henry Fonda, ice-skater Sonja Henie, and Betty Grable. And also on the Fox payroll he found two players whom he would build into the studio's leading assets, Alice Faye and seven-year-old Shirley Temple.


Favoring popular biographies and musicals, Zanuck built Fox back to profitability. Thanks to record attendance during World War II, Fox passed RKO and mighty MGM to become the third-most profitable studio. While Zanuck went off for eighteen months' war service, junior partner William Goetz kept profits high by emphasizing light entertainment; the studio's—indeed the industry's—biggest star was creamy blonde Betty Grable. But when Zanuck returned in 1943 he intended to make Fox's output more serious-minded. During the next few years, with pictures like Wilson, Gentleman's Agreement, The Snake Pit, Boomerang and Pinkie, Zanuck established a reputation for provocative, adult films. Fox also specialized in adaptations of best-selling books and Broadway musicals.


After the war audiences drifted away, and the arrival of television hastened the process. Fox held on to its theaters until a court-mandated divorce; they were spun off as Fox National Theaters in 1953. That year, with attendance at one-half 1946's level, Fox gambled on an unproven gimmick. Noting that the two movie sensations of 1952 had been Cinerama, which required three projectors to fill a giant curved screen, and "Natural Vision" 3-D, which got its effects of depth by requiring the use of polarized glasses, Fox mortgaged its studio to buy rights to a French anamorphic projection system which gave a slight illusion of depth without glasses. In February, 1953, Zanuck announced that henceforth all Fox pictures would be made in CinemaScope. To convince theater owners to install this new process, Fox agreed to help pay conversion costs (about $25,000 per screen); and to ensure enough product, 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, Warners, MGM, Universal and Columbia quickly adopted the process.


CinemaScope brought a brief up-turn in attendance, but by 1956 the numbers again began to slide. That year Darryl Zanuck announced his resignation as head of production. Officially attributed to burn-out, rumors persisted that Mrs. Zanuck had threatened divorce (in community-property California) after discovering Zanuck's affair with actress Bella Darvi. Zanuck moved to Paris, setting up as an independent producer; he did not set foot in California again for fifteen years.


His successor, producer Buddy Adler, died a year later. Chairman Spyros Skouras brought in a series of production executives, but none had Zanuck's touch. By the early 1960s Fox was in trouble. A remake of Theda Bara's Cleopatra had begun in 1959 with Joan Collins in the lead; as a publicity gimmick producer Walter Wanger offered one million dollars to Elizabeth Taylor if she woud star; Taylor accepted, and costs for Cleopatra began to escalate. Meanwhile, another remake - this one of the 1940 Cary Grant hit My Favorite Wife was rushed into production in an attempt to turn over a quick profit to help keep Fox afloat. The unoriginal romantic comedy, titled Something's Got To Give paired Fox's most bankable star of the 1950's - Marilyn Monroe - with Dean Martin, but with a troubled star and belligerent Director (George Cukor) causing delays on a daily basis, it quickly descended into a costly debacle. As Cleopatra's budget passed the ten-million dollar mark, Fox sold its back lot (now the site of Century City) to Alcoa in 1961 to raise cash. After several months of very little progress, Marilyn Monroe was fired from Something's Got To Give, although somewhat controversially Elizabeth Taylor's highly disruptive reign on the Cleopatra set continued unchallenged. With few pictures on the schedule, Skouras wanted to rush Zanuck's big-budget war epic The Longest Day into release as another source of quick cash. This offended Zanuck, still Fox's largest shareholder. After it became clear that Something's Got To Give would not be able to progress without Monroe in the lead (Dean Martin had refused to work with anyone else), Skouras finally relented and re-signed her. But days before filming was due to resume, she was found dead at her Los Angeles home and the unfinished scenes from Something's Got To Give were shelved. They wouldn't see the light of day for nearly 40 years. At the next board meeting Zanuck spoke for eight hours, convincing directors that Skouras was mis-managing the company and the only possible savior was Darryl F. Zanuck. He was installed as chairman; then named his son Richard Zanuck as president. This new management group: seized Cleopatra and rushed it to completion; shut down the studio and laid off the entire staff to save money; axed the long-running Movietone Newsreel; and, with limited funds, made a series of cheap, popular pictures that luckily restored Fox as a major studio.


Zanuck stayed on as chairman until 1971 but his last years were not easy; expensive pictures he'd commissioned flopped, and in 1969, 1970 and 1971 the studio recorded huge losses. Following his removal, and after an uncertain period, new management brought Fox back to health. Under president Dennis Stanfill and production head Alan Ladd, Jr., Fox films connected with modern audiences. Stanfill 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. With financial stability came new owners, and in 1978 control passed to the investors Marc Rich and Marvin Davis. Three years later, Rich sold his shares to Rupert Murdoch's Australian media group, News Corporation. In 1984, Davis sold his half of Fox to News Corp., giving Murdoch's company complete control. To run the studio, Murdoch hired Barry Diller from Paramount; Diller brought with him a plan which Paramount's board had refused: a studio-backed, fourth commercial television-network (most likely due to the DuMont fiasco).


But to gain FCC approval of Fox's purchase of Metromedia's television holdings (once the stations of the old DuMont network), Murdoch had to become an American citizen. This he did, and in 1985 the new Fox Broadcasting Company took to the air. Over the next twenty years the network and owned-stations group have expanded to become extremely profitable for News Corp. The film studio has prospered too, although Fox has backed away from its reputation for literary adaptations and adult themes to concentrate on "popcorn" movies such as the Star Wars trilogies (1977-1983 and 1999-2005), and others.


Since January 2001, this company has been the international distributor for MGM releases.





Notable films


Among the studio's notable films:



  • Cavalcade (drama, 1933, Academy Award winner, "Best Picture")

  • State Fair (comedy, 1933)

  • Stand Up and Cheer! (1934)

  • In Old Chicago (drama, 1937)

  • Alexander's Ragtime Band (drama, 1938)

  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (comedy-drama, 1938)

  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

  • Young Mr. Lincoln (drama, 1939)




  • The Mark of Zorro (1940)

  • The Grapes of Wrath (drama, 1940)

  • How Green Was My Valley (drama, 1941)

  • Blood and Sand (drama, 1941)

  • The Pied Piper (drama, 1942)

  • The Song of Bernadette (drama, 1943)

  • The Ox-Bow Incident (drama, 1943)

  • The Gang's All Here (1943)

  • My Friend Flicka (drama 1943)

  • Heaven Can Wait (comedy, 1943)

  • Laura (drama, 1944)

  • Wilson (drama, 1944)

  • Jane Eyre (1944)

  • State Fair (1945)

  • Leave Her to Heaven (drama, 1945)

  • Anna and the King of Siam (drama, 1946)

  • Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

  • Miracle on 34th Street (comedy-drama, 1947) (and its remake in 1994)

  • A Letter to Three Wives (drama, 1949)





  • All About Eve (drama, 1950)

  • Cheaper by the Dozen (comedy-drama, 1950) (plus remake in 2003 and sequel in 2005)

  • The Day the Earth Stood Still (science fiction, 1951)

  • Viva Zapata! (1952)

  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

  • The Robe (1953) (the first film in CinemaScope)

  • How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

  • Carmen Jones (1954)

  • Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)

  • The Seven Year Itch (1955)

  • The King and I (1956)

  • Anastasia (1956)

  • Bus Stop (1956)

  • The Girl Can't Help It (1956)

  • Peyton Place (1957)

  • An Affair to Remember (1957)

  • The Fly (1958) (plus remake in 1986 along with its sequel in 1989)

  • South Pacific (1958, distribution only)

  • The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)





  • The Millionairess (1960)

  • The Hustler (1961)

  • The Longest Day (1962)

  • Cleopatra (1963)

  • Zorba the Greek (1964)

  • The Sound of Music (1965)

  • The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

  • Batman (1966)

  • The Sand Pebbles (1966)

  • Doctor Doolittle (1967) (plus remake in 1998 and sequels in 2001 and 2006)

  • Valley of the Dolls (1967)

  • Planet of the Apes (1968) (plus sequels in 1969, 1970, and 1971 and remake in 2001)

  • Hello Dolly! (1969)

  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)





  • M*A*S*H (1970) (plus TV remake in 1972)

  • Patton (1970)

  • Myra Breckinridge (1970)

  • The French Connection (1971) and sequel (1975)

  • The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

  • The Paper Chase (1973)

  • Young Frankenstein (1974)

  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (UK, 1975) (distribution only)

  • Spinach (1975)

  • The Omen (1976)

  • Silver Streak (1976)

  • Wizards (1977)

  • Star Wars (1977) (later known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope ) (co-production with Lucasfilm Ltd.)

  • Julia (1977)

  • Norma Rae (1979)

  • Alien (1979) (and its three sequels in 1986, 1992, and 1997)

  • Breaking Away (1979)

  • All That Jazz (1979) (co-production with Columbia Pictures)





  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (distribution only) (co-production with Lucasfilm Ltd.)

  • Nine to Five (1980)

  • Cannonball Run (1981) (plus sequel)

  • History of the World, Part I (1981)

  • Porky's (1981, Canada) and its sequels (1983 and 1985)

  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) (distribution only) (co-production with Lucasfilm Ltd.)

  • Fire and Ice (1983)

  • The King of Comedy (1983)

  • Romancing the Stone (1984)

  • Revenge of the Nerds (1984) (plus sequels in 1986, 1992, and 1994)

  • The Flamingo Kid (1984)

  • Ladyhawke (1985)

  • Cocoon (1985)

  • Aliens (1986)

  • Lucas (1986)

  • The Fly (1986)

  • Less Than Zero (1987)

  • Raising Arizona (1987)

  • Wall Street (1987)

  • Broadcast News (1987)

  • The Princess Bride (1987)

  • Predator (1987) (and its sequel in 1990)

  • Big (1988)

  • Die Hard (1988) (and its 3 sequels in 1990, 1995, and 2007)

  • Working Girl (1988)

  • Say Anything (1989)

  • The Fly II (1989)

  • The Abyss (1989)




  • Home Alone (1990) (and its three sequels in 1992, 1997, and 2002)

  • Edward Scissorhands (1990)

  • Predator 2 (1990)

  • Night of the Living Dead (1990)

  • Only the Lonely (1991)

  • Hot Shots! (1991) (and its sequel in 1993)

  • Prelude to a Kiss (1992)

  • Alien 3 (1992)

  • The Sandlot (1993) (co-production with Island World)

  • Rookie of the Year (1993)

  • Freaked (1993)

  • The Good Son (1993)

  • The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) (based on the 1960s TV series by the same name)

  • Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) (and its upcoming sequel in 2006)

  • Ghost in the Machine (1993) and (1994)

  • Bad Girls (1994)

  • Speed (1994) (plus sequel in 1997)

  • Baby's Day Out (1994)

  • True Lies (1994)

  • Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1994)

  • The Pagemaster (1994) (co-production with Turner Pictures)

  • French Kiss (1995)

  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

  • Independence Day (1996) (co-production with Centropolis Entertainment)

  • Romeo + Juliet (1996)

  • Anastasia (1997)

  • Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)

  • Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

  • Alien: Resurrection (1997)

  • Home Alone 3 (1997)

  • Volcano (1997)

  • Soul Food (1997)

  • Titanic (1997) (co-production with Paramount Pictures)

  • Doctor Dolittle (1998) (and its two sequels in 2001 and 2006)

  • There's Something About Mary (1998)

  • Ever After (1998)

  • Hope Floats (1998)

  • The Thin Red Line (1998)

  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) (distribution only)

  • Fight Club (1999)

  • Office Space (1999)

  • Entrapment (1999)

  • Never Been Kissed (1999)





  • Big Momma's House (2000) (co-production with Regency Enterprises) (and 2006 sequel)

  • X-Men (2000) (and its sequels in 2003 and 2006) (co-produced with Marvel)

  • Cast Away (2000)

  • Moulin Rouge! (2001)

  • Ice Age (2002) (co-production with Blue Sky Studios) (and 2006 sequel, Ice Age: The Meltdown)

  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) (distribution only) (co-production with Lucasfilm Ltd.)

  • X2: X-Men United (2003) (co-production with Marvel Enterprises)

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

  • The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

  • Garfield: The Movie (2004) (upcoming sequel in 2006)

  • AVP: Alien Vs. Predator (2004) (Announced sequel expected in summer 2007)

  • Robots (2005)

  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) (distribution only) (co-production with Lucasfilm Ltd.)

  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) (co-produced with Regency Enterprises)

  • Fantastic Four (2005) (co-production with Marvel Enterprises)

  • Walk the Line (2005)

  • Aquamarine (2006)

  • Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)

  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) (co-production with Marvel Entertainment)

  • The Sentinel (2006)

  • Big Momma's House 2 (2006) (co-production with Regency Enterprises)



















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