The Big Six – Top 6 Major Film Studios in the Movie Business

When you watch a movie, whether it be at the cinema or in the comfort of your own home, it’s seldom you actually think about where the movie was produced and how each film company secured the rights to the movie you’re watching on the screen. The movie business is extremely competitive. The six major film companies discussed below comprise 90 percent of the US and Canadian box office revenue. If you’re pondering a career in film, you may want to pay very close attention to the statistics below.

And while there are a few “mini-majors” still turning a profit in the industry (Lions Gate Entertainment and MGM for example), it’s fairly difficult for film companies to stay afloat while competing with these highly successful empires.

Below you will find the six major film companies (also known as “The Big Six”) and a brief description of each:

1. Warner Bros. Pictures. Comprising a whopping 19.7 percent of the US/Canadian market share (2007 figures), Warner Bros. Pictures is the biggest player in the film industry. Securing the rights to major films like Harry Potter, Superman, Batman, The Matrix and Star Wars have made Warner Bros. the No. 1 name in the business.

2. Paramount Pictures. With 15.5 percent of the US/Canadian market share (2007 figures), Paramount Pictures continues to be one of the most successful film production companies in the world. Star Trek, War of the Worlds, the Mission Impossible series, Transformers and Tropic Thunder are just a few of the popular films produced by Paramount Pictures.

3. Walt Disney. One of the most renowned film production companies in the history of the business, Walt Disney now holds 15.3 percent of the US/Canadian market share (2007 figures). With highly successful movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure, Meet the Robinsons and Enchanted, there’s no doubt that Disney will continue to play a key role in the industry for years to come.

4. Columbia Pictures. Comprising 12.9 percent of the US/Canadian market share (2007 figures), Columbia Pictures remains a big player in the business. Some of this company’s recent successes include Casino Royale, The Da Vinci Code, the Spider-Man series and Step Brothers.

5. Universal Studios. 12.2 percent of the US/Canadian market share (2007 figures) belongs to Universal Studios, which continues to make millions for the film industry. With major hits like the Bourne series (Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum), The American Pie series, Knocked Up, American Gangster and The Incredible Hulk, it’s very clear that Universal Studios knows what it takes to make money in this industry.

6. 20th Century Fox. Also known as “Twentieth Century Fox,” this highly successful movie production company makes up 11.9 percent of the US/Canadian market share (2007 figures). Some of the biggest and most successful movies from this empire include the X-Men series, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Star Wars Episodes II and III, and the Fantastic Four.

Once again, if you’re looking for a career in the film industry, the six companies listed above are the cream of the crop. If you have the opportunity to work for one of these companies, we wouldn’t suggest passing it up.

4 Excellent Films Commemorating the Battle of Little Big Horn

In honor of June 26, we would like to recommend the following historically “accurate” films: Son of the Morning Star, Little Big Man, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and American Experience’s Emmy award winning documentary Last Stand at Little Big Horn

Between June 25 and 26, 1876, a combined force of Lakota and Northern Cheyenne led the United States 7th Cavalry into a battle near the Little Bighorn River in what was then the eastern edge of the Montana Territory. The engagement is known by several names: the Battle of Greasy Grass, the Battle of Little Big Horn, and Custer’s Last Stand. Perhaps the most famous action of the Indian Wars, it was a remarkable victory for Sitting Bull and his forces. They defeated a column of seven hundred men led by George Armstrong Custer; five of the Seventh’s companies were annihilated and Custer himself was killed in the engagement along with two of his brothers and a brother-in-law. Known as the battle that left no white survivors, Little Big Horn has inspired more than 1,000 works of art, including over 40 films. Here are four of the best…

Son of the Morning Star

Based on the 1984 best selling historical novel by Evan S, Connell, Son of the Morning Star won five Emmys when it first aired in 1991. Focusing on the life and times of General George Armstrong Custer, it takes up Custer’s life near the end of the American Civil War, follows him through his involvement in famous Indian wars, and culminates with the battle of Little Big Horne. I particularly like this version because it attempts to get beyond the stereotypes and introduce you to the real man; it provides an excellent introduction to the personalities involved and the events leading up to and following the battle.

Little Big Man,

The 1970 film Little Big Man, directed by Arthur Penn and starring Dustin Hoffman, was based on Thomas Berger’s 1964 fictionalized “historical” novel by the same name. Admittedly adjusted history, it tells the satirical, fictional and picaresque story of Jack Crabb; a white boy orphaned in a Pawnee raid and adopted by a Cheyenne warrior, he eventually becomes the only white survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn. It is considered a “Revisionist Western” because Native Americans receive a sympathetic treatment that was uncommon for Western films in previous decades. Revisionist or not, I simply adore this wickedly humorous film about one man’s life revolving through the kaleidoscope of cultures that made up the American “Wild” West, and I recommend it with all my heart.

Bury My heart at Wounded Knee,

HBO’s 2007 adaptation of Bury My heart at Wounded Knee, a 1970 classic of Native American history by Dee Alexander Brown, recounts the struggle of the Indian Wars from the perspectives of three people: Charles Eastman, a young Sioux doctor who received his medical degree from Boston University in 1889; Sitting Bull, who led the combined forces at Little Big Horn and refused to submit to U.S. government policies that stripped his people of their dignity, identity, and sacred land; and Senator Henry Dawes, one of the men responsible for the government’s Indian affairs policy. The story line begins with the American Indian victory at Little Big Horn in 1876 and continues though to the shameful slaughter of Sioux warriors at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on December 29, 1890. If the film has any fault, it’s that it attempts to explain the whole deeply complex fourteen-year struggle in just over two hours. It manages to do an excellent job at providing an educational and entertaining overview for future investigation.

The American Experience: Last Stand at Little Big Horn

The American Experience: Last Stand at Little Big Horn takes the time to explore this controversial battle from two perspectives: The Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne, and Crow who had lived on the Great Plains for generations, and the white settlers who were moving west across the continent. Using journals, oral accounts, Indian ledger drawings and archival footage, James Welch and Paul Stekler combined their talents to create one of the most balanced documentaries about this event ever produced. Their efforts won them a much-deserved Emmy.