Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. (CPII) is an American film production and distribution studio. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film studios in the world, a member of the so-called Big Six. It was one of the so-called Little Three among the eight major film studios of Hollywood's Golden Age.
The studio, founded in 1918 as Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales by brothers Jack and Harry Cohn and Joe Brandt, released its first feature film in August 1922. It adopted the Columbia Pictures name in 1924 and went public two years later. The name is derived from "Columbia", a national personification of the United States, which is used as the company's logo.
In its early years a minor player in Hollywood, Columbia began to grow in the late 1920s, spurred by a successful association with director Frank Capra.
With Capra and others, Columbia became one of the primary homes of the screwball comedy. In the 1930s, Columbia's major contract stars were Jean Arthur and Cary Grant (who was shared with RKO Pictures). In the 1940s, Rita Hayworth became the studio's premier star and propelled their fortunes into the late 1950s. Rosalind Russell, Glenn Ford, and William Holden also became major stars at the studio.
In 1982, the studio was purchased by Coca-Cola; that same year it launched TriStar Pictures as a joint venture with HBO and CBS. Five years later, Coca-Cola spun off Columbia, which merged with Tri-Star to create Columbia Pictures Entertainment. After a brief period of independence with Coca-Cola maintaining a financial interest, the combined studio was acquired by Japanese company, Sony in 1989.