RKO Pictures

From Wikizilla, the kaiju encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
RKO Pictures LLC
RKO's current logo

Type Film company
Status Active
Led by Ted Hartley
Founder(s) David Sarnoff
Founded October 23, 1928
1270 Avenue of the Americas,
Manhattan, New York City, United States
Also known as RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. (1928-1957)
Preceded by
  • Keith-Albee-Orpheum
  • Film Booking Offices of America
  • Radio Corporation of America

RKO Pictures LLC, formerly known as RKO Radio Pictures Inc., is an American film production company. In the past, it was one of the biggest and most powerful Hollywood studios. RKO produced the original King Kong in 1933[1] and the initial Americanization of The Mysterians, which was eventually released in the United States in 1959 by MGM.[2]


RKO Pictures was founded in 1928 when the Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) theater chains and Joseph P. Kennedy's Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) studio merged under Radio Corporation of America (RCA). The company was very successful throughout the first half of the 20th century, producing such iconic films as Citizen Kane and King Kong. In 1948, Howard Hughes purchased RKO Pictures, and the company began a steady decline. RKO ceased production in 1957 and closed its doors in 1959.

Despite no longer producing films, RKO continued to own and administer the rights to King Kong, and in 1962 licensed the rights to Kong to Toho, who produced King Kong vs. Godzilla and later King Kong Escapes. In the 1970s, RKO sold the film rights to King Kong to Paramount Pictures, causing Universal Pictures, who previously held King Kong's film rights in the United States, to sue RKO. In 1976, a federal judge found that RKO did not own the rights to the character King Kong, only the 1933 film and its sequel, and that the character's rights rightfully belonged to the estate of Merian C. Cooper, Kong's original creator. The rights reverted to Cooper's son, Richard, who promptly sold them to Universal.

RKO began operating as a production subsidiary in 1981, and it and all of its remaining assets were sold to new owners in 1989. RKO continues operating as a small independent film company under these owners to this day.

Selected filmography


This is a list of references for RKO Pictures. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Kalat 1997, pp. 10-12.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Warren 1986, p. 325.
  3. Boxoffice 1958, p. 8.
  4. Ryfle 1998, p. 58.
  5. Variety, p. 24, October 2, 1957.
    Rodan 1957-10-02 Variety (Clips from Film Row - Los Angeles) p24.png


  • "Abundance of 'New' Features Available for TV This Fall". Boxoffice. Boxoffice Media LP. 23 June 1958.
  • Kalat, David (1997). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla® Series. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 0786403004.
  • Ryfle, Steve (1 April 1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G". ECW Press. ISBN 1550223488.
  • Warren, Bill (1986). Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties Volume II: 1958-1962. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 0786404795.


Showing 3 comments. When commenting, please remain respectful of other users, stay on topic, and avoid role-playing and excessive punctuation. Comments which violate these guidelines may be removed by administrators.

Loading comments...
Real World
Era Icon - RKO.png