Universal Studios, also known as Universal Pictures or Universal City Studios, is one of the oldest working movie studios in America. The headquarters of the studio is located in Universal City, California. It is considered to be one of the “big six” major movie studios and has almost 10% of the market share in the United States and Canada. Since 2004 Universal Studios has been owned by Comcast/General Electric, which is the parent company of NBC. This combination is now known as NBCUniversal, although the studio still keeps its name. They have produced many thousands of movies since the founding of the company in 1912.
Who founded Universal Studios?
Universal Studios was founded by German-Jewish immigrant Carl Laemmle. He was the manager of a clothing store and during a trip in 1905 to buy new merchandise he discovered the popularity of nickelodeons. These were small multipurpose theaters that showed movies, slide shows and lectures. One story reports that he sat outside the box office for a day to calculate how much money they were making. Weeks later Laemmle bought his first nickelodeon and before long he owned several of them.
In 1908 the Motion Picture Trust was created, which meant that owners of the nickelodeons would be forced to pay fees for the movies they showed. Some of the owners decided they could avoid this fee by producing their own films and in 1909 Laemmle founded the Independent Moving Pictures Company. In 1912 Laemmle merged his company with Mark Dintenfass (Champion Films) Pat Powers (Powers Picture Company) and Bill Swanson (American Éclair) to form the Universal Motion Picture Manufacturing Company on April 30, 1912. Laemmle became the president of the company and was involved in over 400 films.