|Formerly||Northeast Theater Corporation (1936–1959)|
|Shari Redstone (President)|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||Paramount Global (79.4% voting)|
National Amusements, Inc. is an American privately owned movie theater operator and mass media holding company incorporated in Maryland and based in Norwood, Massachusetts. It is the controlling shareholder of Paramount Global.
|1912||Famous Players Film Company is founded by Adolph Zukor|
|1913||Lasky Feature Play Company is founded by Jesse Lasky|
|1914||Paramount Pictures is founded as a film distributor by W. W. Hodkinson|
|1916||Famous Players & Lasky merge as Famous Players-Lasky and acquire Paramount.|
|1920||Group W forms with the launch of KDKA-AM|
|1927||CBS is founded; Famous Players–Lasky assumes Paramount name|
|1929||Paramount buys 49% of CBS|
|1932||Paramount sells back shares of CBS.|
|1950||Desilu is founded & CBS distributes its television programs|
|1952||CBS creates the CBS Television Film Sales division|
|1958||CBS Television Film Sales renamed to CBS Films|
|1966||Gulf+Western buys Paramount|
|1968||Gulf+Western acquires Desilu and renames it Paramount Television; CBS Films becomes CBS Enterprises|
|1970||CBS Enterprises renamed to Viacom|
|1971||Viacom is spun off from CBS as a separate company|
|1985||Viacom buys full ownership of Showtime & MTV Networks|
|1986||National Amusements buys Viacom|
|1989||Gulf+Western renamed to Paramount Communications|
|1994||Viacom acquires Paramount Communications|
|1995||Westinghouse buys CBS|
|1997||Westinghouse renamed to CBS Corporation|
|2000||Viacom buys CBS Corporation|
|2001||Viacom buys BET Networks|
|2005||Viacom splits into second CBS Corporation and Viacom|
|2019||CBS Corporation and Viacom re-merge to form ViacomCBS|
|2022||ViacomCBS changes its name to Paramount Global|
The company was founded by Michael Redstone in 1936 in the Boston suburb of Dedham as Northeast Theater Corporation, operating a chain of movie theaters in the region. In 1959, when the founder's son Sumner Redstone joined the company, it was renamed National Amusements.
In 1986, the company acquired the original incarnation of Viacom, a former CBS subsidiary syndicating television programs to stations around the United States. NA retained the Viacom name and made a string of large acquisitions from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, announcing plans to merge with Paramount Communications (formerly Gulf+Western), parent of Paramount Pictures, in 1993 (which closed in 1994), buying the Blockbuster Video chain in 1994, merging with the original CBS Corporation in 2000, and acquiring BET Holdings (which became BET Networks) in 2001.
In March 2005, due to Viacom's declining stock price, National Amusements announced that it would split its media subsidiary into two companies that would remain under its control. The original Viacom would become the second incarnation of CBS Corporation as it kept CBS, Simon & Schuster, and Paramount Network Television (now CBS Studios), among other assets, while MTV Networks, BET Networks, and Paramount Pictures would spin-off to a sister company under the Viacom name. The split was closed on December 31, 2005; the second iterations of Viacom and CBS Corporation commenced trading on January 3, 2006.
At the end of 2008, due to financial troubles, owners Sumner Redstone and Shari Redstone sold $400 million of nonvoting shares in National Amusements. In October 2009, the company sold almost $1 billion of its interest in the stock of CBS and Viacom and sold 35 theaters to Rave Motion Pictures. Today these theatres are owned by Cinemark, AMC, Alamo, or have closed. National Amusements now almost exclusively operates theaters in the Northeastern United States (with the exception of one location in Ohio). The following year, National Amusements planned to sell $390 million of notes to refinance a large part of the company's bank owed debt.
In 2019, it was announced that the multinational media conglomerates controlled by National Amusements — Viacom and CBS Corporation — would re-merge to form a new company named ViacomCBS. Viacom and CBS announced that the merger would close on December 4; following the official close, the company began trading on NASDAQ the following day. In 2022, the company was renamed Paramount Global.
The company operates more than 1,500 movie screens across the Northeastern United States, the United Kingdom, and Latin America under its Showcase Cinemas, Showcase Cinema de Lux, Multiplex Cinemas, and Cinema de Lux. In Canada, National Amusements also owned Famous Players theatres through Viacom which today are now owned by Cineplex Entertainment and Landmark Cinemas. In 2004, National Amusements acquired the Brazilian operations to cinema chain UCI, and revamping it to be more in line with Showcase. They also share some of the corporate identities of Showcase and have XPlus & De Lux rooms in selected cinemas, as well as fully reclining seats.
National Amusements owns a 10.2% equity stake and 79.4% voting interest in Paramount Global. The company may hold an unspecified stake in Audacy, Inc., as part of the reverse Morris trust that spun CBS's radio assets off to that company; CBS Corporation shareholders overall held a 72% stake in the then-named Entercom as of the spin-off.
Recent Chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone died on August 11, 2020.