The United Artists Corporation was formed on February 5, 1919 by four Hollywood greats: Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D. W. Griffith. Their motive was to challenge the power of the major studios which, some felt, were making a fortune out of the talent of individuals. The four friends, taking advice from businessman Gibbs McAdoo (son-in-law of Woodrow Wilson), formed their own distribution company, with Hiram Abrams as its first managing director. It was bought by Arthur Krim in 1952.
United Artists productions/releases included The Mark of Zorro (1920), Stagecoach (1939) and the films of independent producers in the 1930s and 1940s such as Walt Disney, Alexander Korda and David Selznick. Later releases included most of the James Bond and all of the Rocky films, as well as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It was owned for a time in the 1970s by the Transamerica insurance company, during which time the film The Hospital was released. After heavy losses incurred as a result of investing in the flop, Heaven's Gate, United Artists was acquired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1981 and ceased to exist as a separate company.