1. What is the difference between a film production company and a studio?
To put it simply and according to Wikipedia:
1. Film Studio:
A film studio is a major entertainment company or motion picture company that owns its private studio facility or facilities intended to be used to make films, which is often managed by the production company. There are also independent private studios who have never produced a film yet they rent their facilities to film production companies or other studios.
2. Film production company:
A film production company provides the physical basis for works. Production teams are a group of technical staff (filmmakers, camera operators, makeup artists, decorators…) who produce films, series and video content intended for media usages. Generally, the term refers to organizations formed by individuals responsible for the technical aspects of creating a film or video production.
To many, a video production company and a studio are pretty much the same concepts. However, the truth of the matter is that both can share the same market and be involved in similar activities but, in general, there are some fundamental differences that separate one from the other.
Please be aware that a video production company and a studio can interchange their labels seamlessly but the following distinction we are dealing in this article are based on industry assumptions.
A film studio is a major entertainment company or motion picture company that owns its private studio facility or facilities intended to be used to make films, which is often managed by the production company.
2. Differences between film studio and production company
- Video production companies tend to have smaller teams.
- A studio produces films to the general public whereas video production companies work for other companies to help them produce their desired content.
- In general, studios are much larger and often acquire a corporate business configuration.
- Typical studio production vs video production company: Toy Story and a commercial video for a corporation (respectively). It is more likely that a studio hires a video production company to support them while filming.
- Studio productions are usually more expensive and can involve high-paid actors whereas video production companies have more limited budgets.
- Studios own backlots, prop houses, sound stages, post-production facilities, restaurants, libraries, other companies, equipment, hardware, software, websites, networks, satellites, and more.
- A film studio possesses large filming facilities and buildings where filmmaking, on the other hand, video production
- companies can be limited to just an organization created to make films.
- The minimum requirement to be a production company: filmmaking equipment.
- The minimum requirement to be a studio: possesses at least a building facility with a film set, professionals and filming equipment to be used in the process of filming or renting it.
3. Studios’ tasks
A studio can do as much as video production companies however most of the time, studios market and sell their own to the general public. Studios work mostly with production for the film and television industry.
Unlike studios, video production companies mainly do work for other companies, agencies or individuals, such as commercials for advertising agencies, corporate videos, training or promotional productions.
Studios usually deal with larger productions that ultimately sell to consumers, distribution companies or media companies.
4. Studio vs video production companies
In general studio and video production companies work for different markets, below I have listed the main ones.
In many occasions these films studios possess their production teams but eventually, they rent their facilities to other film production companies.
5. Top 5 film studios
5. 1. WARNER BROS STUDIOS
Warner Bros, founded in 1923 in by brothers from Polish origin named Wonskolaser before anglicisation. It possesses one of the largest studio complexes in the world based in Leavesden in Hertfordshire, in southeast England. The studios have witnessed the production of blockbusters such as the Harry Potter saga, Inception, Kingsman, Alien: covenant and Paddington among others.
5. 2. WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Probably the world´s most famous studios are one of the four business branches of the Walt Disney Company. It is founded in 1923, same year Warner Bros was formed, and is one of the “Big Five” major film studios. Based in Burbank, California, it is one of the oldest studios in the world.
5. 3. 20TH CENTURY FOX STUDIOS
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation is an American film studio that belongs to The Walt Disney Company, it is based in the Fox Lot in Century City, LA. Founded by Hungarian immigrant Willian Fox (born as Vimos Fuchs) in 1935. It is one of the big and most important film studios in the history of cinema. It has produced some of the highest-grossing films of all time such as Avatar, Titanic, Star Wars, X-men, Ice Age.
5. 4. PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Paramount Pictures based in Hollywood belongs to a larger conglomerate called Viacom since 1994. It is the second oldest studios in North American. It was founded in 1916 by Adolph Zukor. The company’s headquarters and studios are located at 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, California, United States. It has produced some of the highest-grossing films of all time: Titanic, Mission: Impossible, Shrek the Third, Transformers.
5. 5. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
Universal Studios also known as Universal Pictures is a film studio owned by Comcast. It was originally founded by Carl Laemmle and Mark Dintenfass among others in 1912. And it is the oldest studio in the United States and the world fifth oldest one. Films such as Shrek, Dragon Heart, Casper, Bourne and Kung Fu Panda have been produced at Universal Studios located in Universal City, California.
6. Top film production companies
6. 1. CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT
It is a film and television production company based in the United States and founded in 1987 by Martin Shafer and Rob Reiner among others. Now it belongs to Warner Bros. It has produced a few of the most successful films based on Stephen King´s novels such as Misery, The Green Mile and Stand by Me (its first major success).
6. 2. SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT
It was founded in 1991 by film producers Bernd Eichinger, Arnon Milchan, and Andrew G. Vajna founded in 1991 in order to manage film sales in foreign countries. Summit is currently owned by Lionsgate Films and is based in Santa Monica, California. Its most notable films are American Pie, Memento, Vanilla Sky.
6. 3. SCREEN GEMS
An American film production and distribution studio that belongs to Sony Pictures’s Motion Picture Group. It is based in Culver City, California. It has produced quite a few film successes: Resident Evil, Boogeyman, Anacondas, The Grudge. Many of its titles fall into the horror genre.
6. 4. LEGENDARY PICTURES
It is an American film production and mass media company based in Burbank, California. Founded in 200 by Thomas Tull, in 2005 it partnered with Warner Bros and Universal Pictures to co-produce and co-finance films, and in 2016 it became part of the Chinese corporation Wanda. It has produced a multitude of blockbuster successes including Christopher Nolan´s Batman and The Hangover´s trilogies, Pacific Rim, Interstellar and 300.