6 of 10
Hit: Columbia Pictures
Still reeling from the Betamax debacle, Sony dished out $3.4 billion in 1989 to purchase Columbia Pictures, based on the intuition that the company could have withstood the VHS challenge had it owned the "software" (movies) to accompany its "hardware" (Betamax). After the Columbia acquisition, Sony immediately spent an additional $250 million to lure top Warner Brothers producers Peter Guber and John Peters to Columbia, and another $300 million to settle breach of contract lawsuits with Warner and to build production facilities.

Conscious of industry concerns about foreign owners in Hollywood, Sony granted its producers extraordinary leeway. Though that quelled public fears, this strategy yielded a series of expensive, high-profile flops -- including Radio Flyer, Bonfire of the Vanities, and Last Action Hero -- and in 1994, Sony conceded it had already lost $3.2 billion on the Columbia investment. Since then, though, what seemed a devastating investment in the short term has proven worthwhile for the long haul: Box office sensations like the Men in Black and Spider-Man series have redeemed Columbia Pictures, which has become the foundation of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

NEXT: Hit - then a miss: PlayStation
Last updated June 25 2009: 9:42 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
8 CEOs who took a pay cut in 2013 Median CEO pay inched up 9% in 2013 to $13.9 million. But not everyone got a bump last year. Here are eight CEOs who missed out. More
10 best convertibles now that spring has sprung It's finally time to put the top down. Here are our 10 favorite rides for the warmer months to come. More
10 best founding teams The most effective co-founders pair vision with fortitude to launch a business. Here are some of the best examples through the years. More
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.