It is one of the leading film companies in the world, a member of the so-called Big Six. It was one of the so-called Little Three among the eight major film studios of Hollywood's Golden Age.
The studio, founded in 1919 as Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales by brothers Jack and Harry Cohn and Joe Brandt, released its first feature film in August 1922. It adopted the Columbia Pictures name in 1924 and went public two years later. In its early years a minor player in Hollywood, Columbia began to grow in the late 1920s, spurred by a successful association with director Frank Capra.
With Capra and others, Columbia became one of the primary homes of the screwball comedy.
In the 1930s, Columbia's major contract stars were Jean Arthur and Cary Grant (who was shared with RKO Pictures). In the 1940s, Rita Hayworth became the studio's premier star and propelled their fortunes into the late 1950s. Rosalind Russell, Glenn Ford, and William Holden also became major stars at the studio.