Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a movie-making monster. The producer of Godzilla is a unit of Sony Corporation of America, the US arm of Japanese electronics giant Sony. It operates Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, which includes Columbia Pictures (big budget films); Screen Gems (midsized budget); Sony Pictures Classics (small budget); and marketing and acquisitions unit TriStar Pictures. Its film library contains more than 3,500 titles, including classics such as Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. Other holdings include operations devoted to TV (Sony Pictures Television), DVDs (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), digital production (Sony Digital Production), and online video (Crackle).
Through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (previously called Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment), SPE is active in the sale and rental of DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and digital titles. Meanwhile, SPE's TV arm continues to produce and distribute TV programs for both the broadcast and cable television markets. Internationally the group has invested in several channel and satellite ventures and co-production deals. It also owns a 40% stake in GSN (the Game Show Network). Digital production division includes a features animation unit (Sony Pictures Animation) as well as visual effects firm Sony Pictures Imageworks.
SPE distributes content in approximately 160 countries throughout the globe.
This company defrays the high costs of production and distribution by partnering with other movie studios. It has been busy producing Spider-Man films in in partnership with Marvel Entertainment. The first three Spider-Man films grossed an impressive $2.5 billion combined at the worldwide box office.
Hoping to repeat such successes, in 2012 it released a fourth installment, The Amazing Spider-Man. Beset with challenges such as finding a workable script and budget, the movie was initially delayed. However, it was apparently worth the wait. A hit with critics and audiences, The Amazing Spider-Man broke box office records when it was released.
The company has another partner in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In 2012 it joined forces with that studio to to co-finance and theatrically market and distribute the latest James Bond film, Skyfall. The previous year the two firms collaborated on 21 Jump Street. Other movies that MGM and Sony have worked on together include Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, 21, and The Pink Panther.
Meanwhile, SPE's TV arm has produced programs such as The King of Queens, The Shield, and Rescue Me. Among the TV programs its distributes in the syndicated market are Seinfeld, Mad About You, and The Nanny. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment output includes DVDs such as 2012, Angels & Demons, and Michael Jackson's This Is It. The digital units give their technical know-how to SPE productions such as The Smurfs, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and 2012.