Zukor’s success mainly lied in him realizing that the feature films had potential, that they were economically more viable than short films. When he acquired the American rights for 40,000 dollars to the feature film called Queen Elizabeth and broadcast it as the film’s exclusive distributor, it instantly became a huge success. He made a fortune, thus proving the viability of feature films.
In 1912 he founded the Famous Players Film Company which produced such films as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Prisoner of Zenda whose success exceeded all expectations. In the following years he got huge financial backings and it became his goal to bring famous stage actors to the screen.
He even opened the first studio building in Hollywood. Soon, many famous actors came to him for work. His studio worked with and gained such actors as Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, Gary Cooper and Douglas Fairbanks much fame.
Zukor introduced exclusivity, which meant that his actors couldn’t work for other companies. It wasn’t a financially good or even fair deal for the actors, but still this contract always brought them their desired fame. Up to this day, the stars on Paramount’s logo represent the first few signed stars of the studio.
In 1916, Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky (the owner of Lasky Company) bought out the owner of Paramount and merged the three companies into one. Zukor became president of the new Paramount. From then on the company was flourishing thanks to Zukor.
He wasn’t an eccentric, well-publicized figure like most of the pioneers in the industry, he could have been easily mistaken for an average businessman as he liked to work from behind the scenes. Around the studio Zukor was known by funny nicknames like Sugar which Zukor means in Hungarian. During the 1910s and 1920s he created a cinema chain of nearly 2 000 screens, ran two production studios, and became an investor in radio, but his real talent laid in the organization of his company’s industrial structure.
He created a model of an integrated film studio as he centralized all segments of the film industry in one company, meaning that he gave Paramount control over production, distribution, and exhibition of movies. He was also infamous for visiting movie sets every morning and always keeping a close eye on production.