By Bad Seed
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is a film and television production company. It is part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, which is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Sony.
THE SONY YEARS TO PRESENT
The Columbia Pictures empire was sold in 1989 to electronics giant Sony, one of several Japanese firms then buying American properties. Sony then made a management decision that surprised many[attribution needed], hiring two producers, Peter Guber and Jon Peters to serve as co-heads of production. Guber and Peters had just signed a long-term contract with Warner Bros; to extricate them from this contract, Sony ended up paying hundreds of millions of dollars, gave up a half-interest in its Columbia House Records Club mail-order business, and bought from Warner the decrepit Culver City studio which Warners had acquired in its takeover of Lorimar. Sony spent $100 million to refurbish the rechristened Sony Pictures Studios. Guber and Peters set out to prove they were worth this fortune, and though there were to be some successes, there were also many costly flops. Peters resigned[when? — see talk page], to be followed soon after by Guber.
Publicly humiliated, Sony took an enormous loss on its investment in Columbia, writing off its costs, and in effect starting over. TriStar was consolidated into the main studio; the entire operation was reorganized under Howard Stringer and renamed Sony Pictures Entertainment; with this came a new effort to focus on mainstream film-making. Sony has broadened its release schedule by creating Sony Pictures Classics for arthouse fare, and by backing Revolution Studios, a production company headed by Joe Roth.
As of 2007, Columbia has released fewer of their classic films to DVD, and most of the ones that have been issued have not had the same high standard of quality found in DVD releases from Warner Bros or 20th Century-Fox
THE COLUMBIA LOGO
Columbia's logo, a lady carrying a torch, originally appeared in 1924. The first model for the logo is unknown, although Bette Davis claimed that Claudia Dell was used.
In 1936, the logo was somewhat changed, with the Columbia "Torch Lady" appearing with shimmering light behind her. This logo was used for a total of 40 years. 1976's Taxi Driver was one of the last films to use the "Torch Lady" in her classic appearance.
In 1976, Columbia (like other studios) experimented with a new logo. It began with the familiar lady with a torch, but the torch-light rays then formed an abstract blue semi-circle depicting the top half of the rays of light, with the name of the studio appearing under it. The television counterpart used only the latter part of the logo, and the semi-circle was either orange or red.
This logo was replaced with a modernized version of the "Torch Lady" in 1981. After Columbia's purchase by Coca-Cola, radio talk-show host Michael Jackson of KABC-AM joked that the Torch Lady should be holding a Coke bottle instead.
In 1993, the logo was repainted digitally by New Orleans artist Michael Deas. It has been rumored that Annette Bening was the model, but in fact Deas used a model named Jenny Joseph