Cinema Center Films
Company typeDivision
IndustryFilm production
Founded1967; 57 years ago (1967)
FoundersWilliam S. Paley
Frank Stanton
Gordon T. Stulberg[1]
Defunct1972; 52 years ago (1972)
CBS Theatrical Films (1979–1985)
Paramount Pictures (1999–present)
United States
Area served
Key people
Gordon T. Stulberg[1]
ProductsMotion pictures
$10 million loss (1971 est.)[2]

Cinema Center Films (CCF) was the theatrical film production company of the CBS Television Network from 1967 to 1972. Its films were distributed by National General Pictures.[3] The production unit was located at CBS Studio Center in the Studio City district of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, and produced 30 films.[om 1]


CBS chairman William S. Paley and Frank Stanton founded the network's first film division, Cinema Center Films, in 1967, with Gordon T. Stulberg as its first chief.[1]

In February 1967 CBS had bought the studios of Republic Pictures (which would be renamed CBS Studio Center) for $9.5 million.[om 1] The following month they announced Stulberg's appointment, stating they intended to make ten films a year at a cost of $3.5 million each on average. Paley and Stulberg met with Gulf & Western chairman Charles Bluhdorn, who had just acquired Paramount Pictures, in a search for a distributor, but Bluhdorn's over chumminess turned off Paley. Stulberg reported to John A. Schneider, CBS network president.[4]

The studio's first notable talent signing was with Doris Day[5] which resulted in their first movie With Six You Get Eggroll.[4] Initially, CCF was generally termed by the film community as a maker only of "fluffy films" that seemed designed for rebroadcast on CBS.[4]

Their second signing was with Bob Banner Associates, who were to make a series of projects that did not come to fruition.[6] National General Pictures agreed to distribute their films in August 1967, agreeing to provide $60 million for 22 movies.[7] They signed a four-picture deal in 1967 with Jalem, Jack Lemmon's company worth $21 million – Jalem was to produce four films, two in which Lemmon was to appear.[8] Other people who signed deals with the company include producer William Graf,[9] and actor Steve McQueen via his company Solar Productions.[10] Robert Culp's company also signed.[11]

Ogilvy Mather was hired in July 1969 to provide advertising for the division.[12] To counter-act the film community's perception of being a "fluffy films" producer Stulberg recommended making The Boys in the Band to Paley. Little Big Man was CCF's biggest hit at the box office despite a cost overrun.[4] CCF also financed a Broadway production, Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, a Don Petersen drama that opened in February 1970.[13] Paley moved responsibility at CBS for CCF from Schneider to Goddard Lieberson, president of Columbia Records, which was then owned by CBS.[4]

Twenty-six films were produced under Stulberg until he left to work at 20th Century Fox in 1971.[1] CBS closed the unit in 1972;[2] its last film was the Peanuts animated musical Snoopy, Come Home. The studio never reported a profit in any year of its operation losing money on the 20 out of 27 films for a total loss of $30 million.[4]


Distribution of Cinema Center's films were transferred from National General Pictures to Warner Bros. in a November 1973 deal that also included those of First Artists Productions.[om 2]

CBS sold 28 CCF films to Viacom in 1979 for $30 million.[14] Another look at Cinema Center Films found that it was profitable. Since its closure, its films had been generating income via network and pay TV ancillary markets,[15] thus CBS attempted another return to the theatrical film production business in 1982, with a unit known as CBS Theatrical Films, as well as with Tri-Star Pictures, the joint venture between CBS, HBO and Columbia Pictures. CBS closed down CBS Theatrical Films and dropped out of Tri-Star in 1985.[16]

CBS would later fall under common ownership with Paramount Pictures after being bought by Viacom (Paramount's parent since 1994 and originally the syndication arm of CBS) in 2000. CBS and Viacom split again in 2006, with CBS becoming a unit of CBS Corporation, but both are still majority-owned by National Amusements. CBS eventually launched a new film unit independent of Viacom and Paramount in March 2007, called CBS Films (which Lionsgate took over CBS Films' U.S. distribution and global sales functions in 2015).[17] On December 4, 2019, CBS Films was folded into the main CBS Entertainment Group after releasing Jexi, at the same time CBS also announced that it will re-merge with Viacom to form ViacomCBS (now Paramount Global), reuniting CBS with Paramount.


Main article: List of films produced by CBS

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Oliver, Myrna (October 18, 2000). "Gordon T. Stulberg; Studio Executive, Lawyer, Negotiator". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b Gould, Jack (January 10, 1972). "C.B.S. is Dropping Its Theater Films; Paley Takes Action as Part of a Production Review". The New York Times. p. 47. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
  3. ^ "Norman Levy, 67; Fox Chairman Turned Offbeat Films Into Hits". Los Angeles Times. September 28, 2002. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bedell Smith, Sally (February 29, 2012). "5: The King". In All His Glory: The Life and Times of William S. Paley and the Birth of Modern Broadcasting. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 9780307786715.
  5. ^ "Martin, Betty (May 9, 1967). Film Pact for Doris Day". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, Calif) (1923-Current File) Page D17.
  6. ^ Martin, Betty (June 22, 1967). "Multi-Film Agreement Signed". Los Angeles Times. p. d9.
  7. ^ "National General, CBS Sign Deal for Film Distribution". Los Angeles Times. Aug 22, 1967. p. c8.
  8. ^ "CBS, Jalem Sign $21 Million Pact". Los Angeles Times. Oct 2, 1967. p. d24.
  9. ^ "Cinema Center, Graf Announce Film Plans". Los Angeles Times. Dec 10, 1968. p. 31.
  10. ^ "Film Star of Year Turns to Creative Extension: McQueen's Creative Film Kick". Los Angeles Times. Sep 21, 1969. p. u1.
  11. ^ Warga, Wayne (July 28, 1968). "Cinema by, but Not Necessarily for, Television". Los Angeles Times. p. c14.
  12. ^ "Ogilvy & Mather Gets Film Task". The New York Times. July 21, 1969. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  13. ^ Zolotow, Sam (September 7, 1968). "C. B. S. Subsidiary to Help Stage Petersen's Drama on Broadway". New York Times. p. 23. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  14. ^ Slide, Anthony (June 11, 1998). "V". The New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry. Scarecrow Press. p. 221. ISBN 9780810866362. Retrieved October 5, 2017. CBS sold Cinema Center Films to Viacom -wiki.
  15. ^ Curran, Trisha (June 28, 1981). "CBS Wants to Star In the Movies--As One of the Major Film Producers". The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  16. ^ Brennan, Jude (July 23, 2014). "CBS Films' Presidency: And Then There Was One". Forbes. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  17. ^ Eller, Claudia (September 26, 2007). "CBS names head of movie division". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  1. ^ a b Orders of Magnitude I: Majors, Mini-majors, "Instant Majors", and Independents. Page 331-332.
  2. ^ Orders of Magnitude I: Majors, Mini-majors, "Instant Majors", and Independents. Page 308.