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The “Big 5” Movie Studios in Los Angeles

Everyone thinks of LA as “Tinsel Town”, where stars are born and movies are created. Originally housing the “Big 5” major studio lots of 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Paramount, Columbia and Universal, some of our favorite movies have been made through these iconic studios. While in LA you come with LA Insider Tours and discover Hollywood, where your favorite celebrities live and hang out. But with the studios, you can see a behind the scenes look at the movie makers and shakers. We’ve broken down the “Big 5” Studios below and how you can get an insider’s look at Hollywood Studios.


Paramount Studios

Founded in 1912 as The Famous Players Film Company, Paramount Studios is the 5th oldest surviving film studio and is the last major film studio whose main headquarters is still in Los Angeles. Having created movies with some of the  “first” movie stars such as Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, Marlene Dietrich and Mae West, Paramount has also released such blockbuster hits as Transformers, Mission: Impossible, Indiana Jones, Titanic and Forrest Gump. You can take a tour of the studio 7 days a week and get a real behind the scenes look at some of the great sets on this studio lot.

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Studio

Columbia Pictures was founded in 1918 and released its first feature film in 1922. While originally considered a minor player in Hollywood, Columbia’s association with famed director Frank Capra  helped make them a major player  and Capra’s Oscar winning  It Happened One Night established Columbia as a heavy hitter in the industry.   Sold in 1982 to Coca Cola, Columbia Pictures was sold again to Sony Entertainment in 1987. Located in Culver City Sony Pictures Entertainment has given us such hits as Spider Man, Men In Black and Underworld.  You can take a tour of the Sony lot where you will swing by legendary stages from The Wizard of Oz and Batman. You can also visit the homes of popular game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune!

20th Century Fox

When Fox Film Corporation and 20th Century Pictured merged in 1935, it became one of the most influential film companies of our time. It is the 2nd largest major film studio and has produced such hits as Avatar, Star Wars, Ice Age, X Men, Die Hard and The Fantastic Four to name a few. On the small screen, 20th Century Fox has brought us some laughter and song with award winning shows such as How I Met Your Mother, Glee, Modern Family & New Girl. And let’s not forget about some of the amazing, iconic stars they have brought to the screen including Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Jayne Mansfield and Shirley Temple. While there are no studio tours offered, you can get a real insiders look at the television tapings that they have available during filming season.


Universal Studios

You can’t come to LA without going to Universal Studios. Wherever you go, you feel like you are a part of a major movie or television set.  Founded in 1912, this studio has taken us Back To the Future, on a shark hunt for Jaws, running from dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and helped us “phone home” with E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. As the 3rd largest amusement park operator in the world, the Universal experience is unlike any other studio tour. Fantastic for the whole family, it will take you into an entertainment adventure world beyond your wildest imagination.

Warner Bros Studio

Founded in 1923 by Albert, Harry, Sam & Jack Warner, Warner Bros Studio was put on the map by a dog. You read that right… a dog.  Warner Bros was the first studio to sign a contract with Rin Tin Tin. All barking aside, Warner Bros has been a leader in producing entertainment on the big and small screen. They were one of the first movie houses to produce the original films with sound, known as “Talkies” with its release of the groundbreaking film “The Jazz Singer” starring Al Jolson. In the 1990’s Warner Bros branched into television with the WB TV Network which has produced several popular TV shows. But their biggest box office hit is undoubtedly The Harry Potter movies which is the highest grossing film series of all time. You can take a tour of the Warner Bros Studios 110 acre lot and check out sets, backlot streets , sound prods, craft shops and more for an insiders look into the studio!

Once you are done discovering the studios, come out on a tour with LA Insider Tours and we can take show you the town these studios built. From the walk of fame to the stars homes, our fully customizable, private tours will make you feel like a star. We hope to see you soon!