A major film studio is a production and distribution company that releases a substantial number of films annually and consistently commands a significant share of box office revenue in a given market. In the North American, Western, and global markets, the major film studios, often simply known as the majors, are commonly regarded as the six diversified media conglomerates whose various film production and distribution subsidiaries collectively command approximately 80 to 85 percent of U.S. and Canadian box office revenue. The term may also be applied more specifically to the primary motion picture business subsidiary of each respective conglomerate. The “Big Six” majors, whose operations are based in or around the Los Angeles neighborhood of Hollywood, are all centered in film studios active during Hollywood’s Golden Age of the 1930s and 1940s. In three cases—20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Paramount—the studios were one of the “Big Five” majors during that era as well. In two cases—Columbia and Universal—the studios were also considered majors, but in the next tier down, part of the “Little Three”. In the sixth case, Walt Disney Studios was an independent production company during the Golden Age; it was an important Hollywood entity, but not a major. Today, Disney is the only member of the Big Six whose parent entity is still located near Los Angeles (actually, on Disney’s studio lot and in the same building). The five others report to conglomerates headquartered in New York City, Philadelphia, and Tokyo. Of the Big Six, Paramount is the only one still based in Hollywood, and Paramount and Fox are the only ones still located within the Los Angeles city limits. Most of today’s Big Six control subsidiaries with their own distribution networks that concentrate on arthouse pictures (e.g. Fox Searchlight) or genre films (e.g. Sony’s Screen Gems); several of these specialty units were shut down or sold off between 2008 and 2010. The six major studios are contrasted with smaller production and/or distribution companies, which are known as independents or “indies”. The leading independent producer/distributors—Lionsgate Films, The Weinstein Company, and former major studio MGM—are sometimes referred to as “mini-majors”. From 1998 through 2005, DreamWorks SKG commanded a large enough market share to arguably qualify it as a seventh major, despite its relatively small output. In 2006, DreamWorks was acquired by Viacom, Paramount’s corporate parent. In late 2008, DreamWorks once again became an independent production company; its films are distributed by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures. The Big Six major studios are today primarily backers and distributors of films whose actual production is largely handled by independent companies—either long-running entities or ones created for and dedicated to the making of a specific film. The specialty divisions often simply acquire distribution rights to pictures in which the studio has had no prior involvement. While the majors still do a modicum of true production, their activities are focused more in the areas of development, financing, marketing, and merchandising. Those business functions are still usually performed in or near Los Angeles, even though the runaway production phenomenon means that most films are now mostly or completely shot on location at places outside Los Angeles. Since the dawn of filmmaking, the U.S. major film studios have dominated both American cinema and the global film industry. Today, the Big Six majors routinely distribute hundreds of films every year into all significant international markets (that is, where discretionary income is high enough for consumers to afford to watch films). It is very rare, if not impossible, for a film to reach a broad international audience on multiple continents and in multiple languages without first being picked up by one of the majors for distribution.