In the early 20th century, film was an emerging industry in the United States. Nickelodeons were opened throughout the country, which showed short films to eager audiences. Later, full length films became the industry’s focus and Hollywood became the official headquarters. One of the earliest and longest lasting film companies to begin operations in Hollywood was Paramount Pictures.
On this day, May 8th, in 1912, Paramount Pictures was founded as the Famous Players Film Company. The Famous Players Film Company initially focused on creating full-length films with the leading theatrical names of the time in hopes of gaining middle class appeal. Famous Players Films were first released through the Paramount Pictures Corporation start-up company. Famous Films eventually took on the Paramount name in 1914 and became the first successful nation-wide film distribution company.
Paramount Pictures began to quickly rise in the 1920s and quickly became one of the country’s leading film companies. Paramount was purchased by Viacom in 1994 and has continued to be successful under Viacom’s ownership. In 2011, Paramount Pictures generated $1.2 billion in revenue.