May 1, 2018

The moguls behind the movies: How the biggest film studios stack up

By Jack Rear

When people think about the quality of movies they tend to think of the actors or the director. Occasionally the writers will get the blame (or credit).

However, the one group who arguably have the most influence over films are the producers. That’s why when a movie wins Best Picture at the Oscars, it is these people who pick up the award, rather than the actors or directors.

And who hires the producers? Well, that’s the job of the film studio.

We’re all familiar with film studios like 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Disney. After all, we see their title cards before almost every film we watch. But fewer people know what a film studio actually does.

What is a film studio?

Traditionally, a film studio was the location where movies were made. Film lots and sets are parts of studios. Most production companies would rent studio space to shoot their picture. These studios still exist and are something entirely separate.

Nowadays, when people talk about film studios they mean the production and distribution company. That’s what companies such as Warner Bros, Paramount, and Disney are. Quite a lot of these companies began by starting as traditional film studios, hence the why they have this name.

In the modern sense, a film studio is involved in almost every aspect of a movie’s production. It pays for a film’s production, and the producers who work for the studio will keep a close eye on all aspects of the film.

That means they have a hand in hiring the director then oversee everything from scripting to casting.

When the film is complete, it will ultimately be the studio that is in charge of negotiating with cinemas about how many screens it will go into, what fee it will receive, and so on and so forth.

Ultimately, producers employed by the film studio and, by extension, the film studio itself, has a huge impact on the final production, arguably more so than any other factor.

Therefore, when looking at film’s success or failure, it’s also important to take the film studio’s efforts into account.

Which film studio is ranked the best?

We can work out which film studio is objectively the best by looking at the reception of their films.

A studio whose films receive good responses from fans and critics will probably have a consistently positive approach. Those whose films get bad scores may be guilty of interfering too much or too little in a film’s production.

Verdict crunched the numbers and measured the success of films based on both fans and critics’ scores on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, and Metacritic.

We looked at all the films released by the six major studios: Disney, Universal, Warner Bros, Sony, 20th Century Fox, and Paramount, as well as Netflix and Amazon as a point of comparison.

We included each studios’ subsidiaries in their rankings. For example, Disney owns Lucasfilm and Pixar, so we counted those films towards Disney’s score.

We also limited our research to the past five years. After all, studio executives come and go, making it difficult to compare one studio in the 1960s with another in the 2000s.

Still, these are the best and worst of the major movie studios working at the moment. We’ve ranked them based on the average score of their films, from worst to best.


Average film score: 70.96%

Number of films released since 2013: 57

Best film since 2013: Inside Out (2015) – 90%

Worst film since 2013: A Wrinkle In Time (2018) – 38.6%


Average film score: 69.32%

Number of films released since 2015: 30

Best film since 2015: Gleason (2016) – 86.8%

Worst film since 2015: The Only Living Boy In New York (2017) – 47.4%


Average film score: 63.86%

Number of films released since 2013: 200

Best film since 2013: Virunga (2014) – 90.4%

Worst film since 2013: Mercy (2016) – 24.5%

Sony Pictures

Average film score: 61.15%

Number of films released since 2013: 169

Best film since 2013: Whiplash (2014) – 90%

Worst film since 2013: The Emoji Movie (2017) – 21.8%

Warner Bros

Average film score: 60.07%

Number of films released since 2013: 112

Best film since 2013: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – 87.8%

Worst film since 2013: Getaway (2013) – 27.6%


Average film score: 59.68%

Number of films released since 2013: 153

Best film since 2013: Dallas Buyers Club (2013) – 86.0%

Worst film since 2013: The Snowman (2017) – 27.6%

20th Century Fox

Average film score: 58.23%

Number of films released since 2013: 87

Best film since 2013: Logan (2017) – 85%

Worst film since 2013: Fantastic Four (2015) – 24.6%


Average film score: 56.23%

Number of films released since 2013: 71

Best film since 2013: A Quiet Place (2018) – 84.4%

Worst film since 2013: Rings (2017) – 28%

Verdict deals analysis methodology

This analysis considers only announced and completed artificial intelligence deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.

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