Cinema Center Films

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Cinema Center Films
Industry Motion Pictures
Successor CBS Theatrical Films
Founded 1967
Defunct 1972
Headquarters Hollywood, United States
Area served
Key people
Gordon T. Stulberg[1]
Products films
$10 million loss (1971 est.)[2]
Owner CBS

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 the Republic Pictures lot, Hollywood and produced 30 films.[4]


CBS chairman William S. Paley and Frank Stanton founded Cinema Center Films division 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.[4] 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. Pasley and Stulberg met with owners of Paramount Picture, Gulf & Western Chairman Charles Bluhdorn in a search for a distributor but Bluhdorn's over chumminess turned off Paley. Stulberg reported to John A. Schneider, CBS network president.[5]

The studio's first notable talent signing was with Doris Day[6] which resulted in their first movie With Six You Get Eggroll.[5] Which the film community took that CCF was only "fluffy films" for rebroadcast on CBS.[5]

Their second signing was with Bob Banner Associates, who were to make a series of projects that did not come to fruition.[7] National General Pictures agreed to distribute their films in August 1967, agreeing to provide $60 million for 22 movies.[8]

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.[9] Other people who signed deals with the company include producer William Graf,[10] Warga, Wayne. Steve McQueen's Solar Productions.[11] Robert Culp's company also signed.[12]

Ogilvy Mather was hired in July 1969 to provide advertising for the division.[13]

To counter act the film community's perception of being a "fluffy films" producer Stulberg recommended making The Boys in the Band to Pasley. Little Big Man was CCF's biggest hit at the box office however it had gone over budget to cost $9 million to lose money.[5] CCF also financed a Broadway production, Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, a Don Petersen drama that opened in February 1970.[14] Pasley moved responsibility at CBS for CCF from Schneider to Goddard Lieberson, president of CBS/Columbia Group.[5]

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.[citation needed] 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.[5]


CBS sold 28 CCF films to Viacom in 1979 for $30 million.[15] 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.[16] 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 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 1999. CBS and Viacom split again in 2005, but both are still owned by National Amusements. CBS eventually launched a new film unit independent of Viacom and Paramount in 2007, called CBS Films (which Lionsgate took over CBS Films' theatrical distribution functions in 2015).[17]


Unmade projects[edit]

The following projects were announced but not made:

  • The Apollo of Bellac (1967) based on the play by Jean Giradou
  • Contrast (circa 1967) based on two short stories by W. Somerset Maugham
  • Nelly Bly (circa 1967) a biopic of the famous reporter
  • musical adaptation of Treasure Island by Elliot Kastner and Jerry Gershwin[12]
  • Yucatan (1971) a motorcycle adventure starring Steve McQueen[19]
  • Man on a Nylon String (1971) an adventure tale to be made by Solar Productions but not starring Steve McQueen set in the Alps[19]
  • Applegate's Gold (circa 1971) a Western for Solar Productions [19]


  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". New York Times. p. 47. Retrieved 27 July 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 Orders of Magnitude I. Page 331-332. Cook, David A. (2000). Lost Illusions: American Cinema in the Shadow of Watergate and Vietnam, 1970–1979. University of California Press.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l 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. 
  6. ^ Martin, Betty (May 9, 1967). Film Pact for Doris Day. Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, Calif) (1923-Current File) Page D17.
  7. ^ Martin, Betty. Multi-Film Agreement Signed. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 22 June 1967: d9.
  8. ^ National General, CBS Sign Deal for Film Distribution. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 22 Aug 1967: c8.
  9. ^ CBS, Jalem Sign $21 Million Pact Los Angeles Times (1923–Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 02 Oct 1967: d24.
  10. ^ Cinema Center, Graf Announce Film Plans. Los Angeles Times. (1923–Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 10 Dec 1968: 31.
  11. ^ Film Star of Year Turns to Creative Extension: McQueen's Creative Film Kick. Los Angeles Times (1923–Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 Sep 1969: u1.
  12. ^ a b Cinema by, but Not Necessarily for, Television. Warga, Wayne. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 28 July 1968: c14.
  13. ^ "Ogilvy & Mather Gets Film Task". New York Times. July 21, 1969. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ Eller, Claudia (September 26, 2007). "CBS names head of movie division". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Cutting Loose': A Film That Never Made It Warga, Wayne. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 04 Dec 1977: x46.
  19. ^ a b c Warga, Wayne. Film Star of Year Turns to Creative Extension: McQueen's Creative Film Kick. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 Sep 1969: u1.

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