Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film and television production and distribution company, the company’s headquarters and studios are located at 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, California. Popular for its studio tours, classic Hollywood studio offering cart tours of its historic & active backlot sets & prop warehouse.
A tour highlight is the iconic Bronson Gate, the studio’s arched Mediterranean Revival-style main entrance seen in several movies including 1950’s “Sunset Boulevard.” The sprawling 65-acre lot features, sets of many film and television scenes, the street of Spanish-style architecture, as well as realistic replicas of vintage city streets.
Paramount Pictures Corporation is the fifth oldest film studio in the world, the second oldest film studio in the United States (behind Universal Pictures), and the sole member of the “Big Five” film studios still located in the city limits of Los Angeles. An iconic symbol of the golden age of movies open for business since 1926, Paramount Pictures Studio is the only major film studio still operating in Hollywood’s commercial district.
Paramount Studios offers tours of their studios. Explore over a century of Hollywood history and witness more in the making, and visit the place where some of the most celebrated motion pictures and TV shows are made.At Paramount, visitors will get to wander through the past and see the future at the same time.
As the longest operating and only remaining major studio in Hollywood, Paramount Pictures has been on the ground floor of every major development in film – from the advent of motion pictures, to the emergence of television, through the digital revolution. During our 100-year history, paramount studio have served as the production site for thousands of notable movies and TV shows. Today, the studio continue to partner with projects large and small in a ceaseless effort to create celebrated movies, television shows, and commercials.
Paramount studio lot has grown considerably over the years, expanding from 26 acres and four stages to 65 acres and thirty stages. The studio have also constructed other impressive sites like the massive Blue Sky Tank and the studio’s one-of-a-kind New York Street backlot, which features ten distinct city neighborhood backdrops.
Paramount pictures studio’s stages have hosted many of history’s most beloved, award-winning movie blockbusters and TV hits. Today, movie and television talent continues to come to Paramount from around the world to create their celebrated productions. When visiting the studio, the people passing by on bicycles, enjoying lunch at the Café, or reviewing scripts in Production Park, are the same talent, producers, and crew from these productions.
Paramount is the fifth oldest surviving film studio in the world after the French studios Gaumont Film Company (1895) and Pathé (1896), followed by the Nordisk Film company (1906), and Universal Studios (1912). It is the last major film studio still headquartered in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles.
Paramount Pictures dates its existence from the 1912 founding date of the Famous Players Film Company. Hungarian-born founder Adolph Zukor, who had been an early investor in nickelodeons, saw that movies appealed mainly to working-class immigrants. With partners Daniel Frohman and Charles Frohman he planned to offer feature-length films that would appeal to the middle class by featuring the leading theatrical players of the time (leading to the slogan “Famous Players in Famous Plays”). By mid-1913, Famous Players had completed five films, and Zukor was on his way to success. Its first film was Les Amours de la reine Élisabeth, which starred Sarah Bernhardt.
That same year, another aspiring producer, Jesse L. Lasky, opened his Lasky Feature Play Company with money borrowed from his brother-in-law, Samuel Goldfish, later known as Samuel Goldwyn. The Lasky company hired as their first employee a stage director with virtually no film experience, Cecil B. DeMille, who would find a suitable site in Hollywood, near Los Angeles, for his first feature film, The Squaw Man.
Starting in 1914, both Lasky and Famous Players released their films through a start-up company, Paramount Pictures Corporation, organized early that year by a Utah theatre owner, W. W. Hodkinson, who had bought and merged several smaller firms. Hodkinson and actor, director, producer Hobart Bosworth had started production of a series of Jack London movies. Paramount was the first successful nationwide distributor; until this time, films were sold on a statewide or regional basis which had proved costly to film producers. Also, Famous Players and Lasky were privately owned while Paramount was a corporation.
In 1916, Zukor’s Famous Players merged with The Jesse L. Lasky Company, which was producing films in Hollywood (including the first feature-length film ever produced in Hollywood – The Squaw Man) and also using Paramount Pictures as a distributor. The newly formed Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, soon consolidated with the distribution company (in which Zukor was a major stockholder) and all three companies became what you now know as Paramount Pictures.
After the merger, audiences first began seeing the iconic logo with the mountain and stars, which was created by Paramount (the distribution company) founder W. W. Hodkinson. Hodkinson had borrowed the Paramount name from an apartment house that he frequently passed in his neighborhood. A mountain peak he remembered from his childhood in Utah inspired the logo, which he designed. Legend has it that the stars surrounding the mountain represented the original 22 film stars Hodkinson had under contract. Another implication was that Paramount had more stars than there were in the universe.
In 1926, Lasky supervised the construction of a new Hollywood studio, which was the foundation of the Paramount Pictures studio lot today. The original studio, which cost $1 million to build, stood on a 26-acre lot and contained four large sound stages.
It only took a year after moving onto our current studio lot for Paramount’s success to become evident. In 1927, Paramount received the very first Academy Award for Best Picture with its release of Wings, a silent movie about World War I fighter pilots. In addition, Wings is the only silent film in movie history to win that award.
The 1930s through the mid-1950s proved to be an immensely successful period for Paramount. Many of the classics we’ve all come to know and love were created during this time. In the midst of the Great Depression, the memorable Bing Crosby musicals, Cecil B. DeMille spectacles and the outrageous comedies of Mae West were all created.
Throughout our history, Paramount has nurtured and aided the industry’s most legendary movie talent. From the earliest years and through the 1930s, actors and actresses were more like professional football players of today. They were contracted by the different studios to only appear in each particular studio’s movies. They were also traded back and forth for particular productions between studios. (In more recent times, actors, directors and other talent now have the freedom to work on any production they wish, with any studio.)
During the mid to late 40s, the critical acclaim of films from Paramount also became prominent. In 1944, Paramount won its second Academy Award for Best Picture for Going My Way. The very next year, The Lost Weekend took the top prize. Throughout the early 50s, Paramount dominated the Academy Award nominee lists with enduring classics, including Sunset Boulevard, The Greatest Show on Earth (1952 Academy Winner), Shane, The Rose Tattoo and DeMille’s remake of The Ten Commandments.
In the mid-1960s Paramount dove head first into the world of television. In 1967, the lot underwent one of its largest expansions with the purchase of Desilu television studios from Lucille Ball. With the acquisition, Paramount controlled and produced some of the most unforgettable TV series ever.
Despite focusing a great deal of energy on television, Paramount still continued to turn out countless, unforgettable movies. It was during this time that some of the most groundbreaking movies were created like the influential Godfather series, which set the standard for almost all gangster movies to follow.
The 1980s gave rise to some of the nation’s most memorable films – many of which went on to become enduring franchises. Critical acclaim continued to pour in over the movies coming from the Paramount lot, especially for many of the movies with historical backgrounds, like Forrest Gump, Braveheart and Titanic (all three of these won the Academy Award for Best Picture).
The most successful of these films, Titanic, a joint production with 20th Century Fox, became the highest grossing film up to that time, grossing over $1.8 billion worldwide, and retained that title until recently topped by Avatar.
As the 21st century begins to unfold, Paramount continues to remain one of the biggest and best forces in the film industry. Successful films, both critically and popularly, constantly stream to movie lovers worldwide. 2010 proved to be a great year, most notably for the movies The Fighter and a remake of the 1969 classic True Grit. Both movies were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
The Fighter received seven Academy Award nominations in total and took home awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. True Grit was nominated for ten Academy Awards. When told of all the nominations, its directors, the Coen brothers, stated, “Ten seems like an awful lot. We don’t want to take anyone else’s.”
Updates on the studio lot also continue unabated, keeping Paramount at the forefront of production technology. The most recent example is a new post production sound facility built in conjunction with Technicolor, which opened in December, 2011. Home to some of the industry’s leading creative and technical talent, it hosts the most advanced, state-of-the-art technology and is furnished with the latest digital infrastructure.
The studio has produced many critically acclaimed films such as Titanic, Footloose, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Braveheart, Ghost, The Truman Show, Mean Girls, Psycho, Rocketman, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Days of Thunder, Rosemary’s Baby, Nebraska, Sunset Boulevard, Forrest Gump, Super 8, Coming to America, World War Z, Babel, The Conversation, The Fighter, Interstellar, Team America, Terms of Endearment, The Wolf of Wall Street and A Quiet Place;
as well as commercially successful franchises and/or properties such as: the Godfather films, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Grease films, Sonic the Hedgehog, the Top Gun films, The Italian Job, the Transformers films, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films, the Tomb Raider films, the Friday the 13th films, the Cloverfield films, the G.I. Joe films, the Beverly Hills Cop films, the Terminator films,
the Pet Sematary films, the Without a Paddle films, Jackass, the Odd Couple films, South Park, the Crocodile Dundee films, the Charlotte’s Web films, the Wayne’s World films, Beavis and Butt-Head, Jimmy Neutron, the War of the Worlds films, the Naked Gun films, the Anchorman films, Dora the Explorer, the Addams Family films, Rugrats, the Zoolander films, Æon Flux, the Ring films, the Bad News Bears films, The Wild Thornberrys, and the Paranormal Activity films;
as well as the first four films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Indiana Jones films, and various DreamWorks Animation properties (such as Shrek, the Madagascar sequels, the first two Kung Fu Panda films, and the first How to Train Your Dragon) before both studios were respectively acquired by Disney (via Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm) and Universal Studios.
Paramount’s past and current achievements come together in this intimate, behind the scenes look at a true working studio. Step into the world of the industry’s top talent, producers, and crew as they create today’s award-winning television and feature films.
Visitors board a tram for a 2-hour tour of Paramount Pictures Studio’s historic 65-acre lot, a tour that includes such sights as a display case filled with Oscars won by Paramount films, an extensive New York street backlot and sound stages still used for film and television production.
On this 2-hour tour you’ll discover Hollywood’s first major movie studio led by an engaging Studio Page, visiting iconic locations like the Bronson Gate, New York Street Backlot, and the Prop Warehouse. Each step of the way, you will learn how Paramount’s 105-year legacy influenced Hollywood and the world at large. The Paramount Studio Tour immerses you into where it all began. It won’t take long to realize, Paramount is Hollywood.
The 2-hour Studio Tour offers a regular tour of the studio. The stages where Samson and Delilah, Sunset Blvd., White Christmas, Rear Window, Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and many other classic films were shot are still in use today. The studio’s backlot features numerous blocks of façades that depict a number of New York locales, such as “Washington Square”, “Brooklyn”, and “Financial District”.
As a Paramount VIP Tour Guest, you will have exclusive access to private areas of the Studio operations including Sign Shop, Prop Warehouse, and Sound Stages. In our legendary Archive facilities receive a hands-on look at props and set items from past productions. You will be introduced to the people and places who bring Hollywood to life and are the heart and soul of Paramount.
Each step of the way, you’ll learn how the puzzle pieces fit together to create the movies and television shows you’ve come to love. This unforgettable tour experience allows you to see the inner workings of Hollywood, and learn firsthand what goes on behind Paramount’s iconic gates.
The 4.5-hour VIP Studio Tour also includes lunch, access to the archive facilities and an exclusive hands-on look at sets and props. Along the way, your group will enjoy a gourmet lunch or hors d’oeuvres in a unique production setting.
The Paramount After Dark Tour begins with a champagne toast and highlights the studio’s history and forgotten passageways. The After Dark Tour also involves a tour of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.