Universal Studios Inc., also known as Universal Pictures, is an American film production company headquartered in Universal City, California. The oldest film studio in the country, it is also considered one of Hollywood's "Big Six," along with Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, and Paramount Pictures.
Universal was founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles O. Baumann, Adam Kessel, Pat Powers, William Swanson, David Horsley, and Jules Brulatour as Universal Film Manufacturing Company.
In 1962, Universal acquired the American copyright to King Kong from RKO Pictures, and distributed Toho's King Kong vs. Godzilla in the United States. Universal planned to produce their own remake of the original King Kong in the 1970s entitled The Legend of King Kong, but instead RKO chose to sell the film rights to Paramount Pictures, who produced their own remake in 1976. Universal then sued RKO for ownership of the film rights to Kong. A federal judge found that RKO did not own King Kong, only the 1933 film and its sequel, and that King Kong was rightfully owned by the estate of Merian C. Cooper. The rights to King Kong transferred to Cooper's son Richard, who sold them to Universal, who retains them to this day.
In 2013, Universal reached an agreement with Legendary Pictures to market, distribute and co-produce their films starting in 2014 following the expiration of the latter's deal with Warner Bros. Universal began production with Legendary on a new King Kong film titled Kong: Skull Island, but Legendary moved production of the film to its old partner, Warner Bros., in order to set up a crossover film with Godzilla.
Universal acquired DreamWorks Classics in 2016, briefly giving it the U.S. distribution rights to the original Godzilla, Godzilla Raids Again, Rodan, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster, The War of the Gargantuas, All Monsters Attack, and Terror of Mechagodzilla. However, they expired the following year.
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) - Distributor (U.S. and select other countries)
- King Kong Escapes (1967) - Distributor (U.S. and select other countries)
- King Kong (2005) - Distributor
- Pacific Rim Uprising (2018) - Distributor
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