The Hollywood Antitrust Case:
aka The Paramount Antitrust Case
famous entrance to the Paramount studio, the largest of the major
film companies of the classic Hollywood era.
The 1948 Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Paramount
Pictures, et al, dealt a crushing blow to the Hollywood studios, and
effectively brought an end to the studio system of classic cinema. This Great
Hollywood Antitrust Case was actually two major suits (an numerous minor ones).
In effect there were two "Paramount cases."
The Hollywood studios' antitrust problems began with an
Federal Trade Commission investigation in 1921. The FTC declared block booking anticompetitive, and brought into question other studio practices related to
their theater monopolies. In 1928, the FTC took Famous Players-Lasky (the
forerunner to Paramount Pictures) to court, along with nine other major
Hollywood studios. In 1930 the major studios were declared guilty of
monopolization. However, the effects of the decision were nullified by a
controversial deal arranged with the Roosevelt administration during the depths
of the Great Depression.
After having weathered the worst of the Depression, the major
studios emerged more powerful than ever. In 1938, the Roosevelt administration
turned the tables on the studios, ordering the Department of Justice to file
suit against Hollywood's Big Eight. The case U.S. v. Paramount was
delayed several times by consent decrees and World War II. However, largely due
to the influence of the independent producers and the rise of the SIMPP, the
case made it to the Supreme Court where the famous 1948 decision lead to the
abolishment of block booking, and the forced divestiture of the studios to sell
off their theater chains.
This case was in integral part of SIMPP's mission, and had a
profound effect on Hollywood history.
Federal Trade Commission v. Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, et al
United States v. Paramount Pictures, et al
The Independent Producers and the
Paramount Case, 1938-1949
DOCUMENTS from the Paramount Case: