Film production company

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A film production company is a company that generates its income primarily from the production of films .

The working area of a film production company includes all stages of film production , from material development and film financing on the production preparation and shooting up to the post-production . Have smaller companies that do not own rental business and finished productions for theatrical release an external film distribution entrust done in the transitional period, until you find a rental, and tasks of the movie film release ( launch ) as the application of the film at the FSK and the Film Review Board (both only in Germany), public relations and advertising , festival applications and the organization of a - often large-scale - cinema premiere, including the acquisition of sponsorship and funding to finance this work.

Definition of terms

The terms film company and film production company are usually used synonymously. In a broader sense, however, those companies are also referred to as film companies which, in addition to film production, are also active in the field of film rental or distribution or operate their own cinemas .

The Federal Statistical Office also conducts this part of the production economy under the name of production company for audiovisual programs . In addition to feature films and films, programs and series for television, this also includes productions of advertising films , image films , industrial films and web series . A classic film production company is characterized by its creative and economic independence and the associated risks. A service production company is a company that produces films in whole or in part on behalf of the company. In 2012 there were around 900 classic production companies in Germany with an annual turnover of over € 150,000, including 300 cinema and 600 TV producers. In addition, around 800 service film production companies can be counted as producers in the broader sense .

The term film studio , coined in the USA , actually refers to a facility for the production of films. Colloquially, however, this term is occasionally used as a term for a film production company.


In the pioneering days of film, when the first film production companies were founded and the first film studios were built, the owners of the soon-to-be-very large film studios in Hollywood had great decision-making power. However, this influential position was gradually weakened by the emergence of independent recruitment agencies and filmmakers' advocacy groups, which significantly improved their contractual position. Nowadays, for example, successful actors usually have their own agent and are therefore not contractually bound to a film production company for a specific period of time, as was often the case in the first decades of film.

Legal forms

In Germany, film production companies are usually organized as corporations ( limited liability company , less often stock corporation ), but occasionally also as limited partnerships or partnerships . The corporation is the most common legal form for US film production companies .


Film production companies differ in their size or their turnover. Among the world's largest companies are the American Universal Pictures , which have enormous studio facilities, a stock of costume and props and 9,000 permanent employees, produce an average of 21 films per year and generate considerable additional income from the distribution and distribution of their own and third-party productions generate. One of the largest film production companies in Germany is the Munich-based Constantin-Film , which produces a good 5 films a year, employs 235 people, has numerous subsidiaries and also acts as a distributor. The majority of German film production companies, however, are small businesses that do not have their own studio facilities, employ only a handful of employees and would not be able to survive without film funding .

Film production companies differ in the length of their existence. One of the oldest still operating film companies in the world is the American Biograph Company , founded in 1895 ; the oldest German company is Universum Film AG (since 1917). Other companies are much more short-lived; often production companies are set up for the production of a single film and then dissolved again.

"Independent" film production companies are colloquially understood as those companies that are not among the major players in the industry. This distinction is particularly common in the United States, where a Hollywood- based oligopoly of seven super-corporations provides the lion's share of national film production. The label “independence” is often used in this context to create the impression that smaller, financially less well-resourced companies are generally producing independent films, i. H. films that also differ aesthetically from the mainstream . This is true in some cases, but most of the time it is not.

A special case of so-called “independent” film production companies are those companies that are not profit-oriented. One of the few examples is the German Film Association , which was founded in 1931 for the production of the film Girls in Uniform .

State-owned film production companies are another special case. In German history, Ufa , which was state-owned from 1937 to 1945, is the most prominent example (see: National Socialist Film Policy ). Another example is Mosfilm , which was founded in the young Soviet Union as a unified national film company and, despite the restoration of the market, has not yet been privatized.

Film production companies differ in their main areas of activity. In addition to production companies that exclusively or predominantly produce feature films, there are companies that specialize in the production of animated or documentary films. Still other companies produce television films , television series, and non-fictional films on behalf of radio or private broadcasters. There are also companies that specialize in producing commercials and others that specialize in music videos . So-called service productions offer local services for other film production companies, mostly from abroad.

Active US film production companies

Well-known film production companies outside of the US

Active independent film production companies

Active Swiss film production companies

Former film production companies

See also

Web links

Commons : Film production companies  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Oliver Castendyk, Klaus Goldhammer : Producer study 2012, data on the film and television industry in Germany 2011/2012 . 2012, ISBN 978-3-89158-582-5 , pp. 19-26 .