Variety (magazine)

Variety (magazine)
Editor Timothy M. Gray
Categories Trade Entertainment
Frequency Weekly and Daily
First issue Weekly:
1905 (NY City, New York)
1933 (Los Angeles, California)
1998 (NY City, New York)
Company Reed Business Information
Country United States
Based in Los Angeles, California
Language English
ISSN 0042-2738

Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the Daily Variety Gotham edition, based in New York City was added. All three have been in continual operation since. Now delivered to 60 countries, Variety presents in-depth news, exclusive reports, trend stories, box office information and reviews. is a paid site and has all the latest news and reviews from the industry, and also offers searchable archives, interactive box office charting, international box office grosses, a credits database, film and television production charts, an in-depth industry calendar and reviews dating back to 1914.

Variety Events target every aspect of the entertainment industry. These events include the Variety Screening Series, held in both NYC and LA showcasing award contenders and Variety's philanthropic "Power of" events, including Power of Youth, Power of Women, Power of Comedy, and Power of Music. Variety also delivers content-driven conferences that provide platforms for industry leaders to discuss and debate the future of the entertainment industry.

The magazine is owned by Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier.



Variety has been published since 1905, when it was launched by Silverman as a weekly periodical covering vaudeville with its headquarters in New York City. In 1933, Silverman launched Daily Variety, based in Hollywood.

Silverman was the editor of the Variety Inc. publications until selecting Abel Green as his replacement in 1931; he remained as publisher until his death in 1933 soon after launching the daily. His son Sidne Silverman (1901–1950), known as "Skigie", succeeded him as publisher of both publications. Both Sidne and his wife, stage actress Marie Saxon (1905–1942), died of tuberculosis. Their only son Syd Silverman, born 1932, was the sole heir to what was then Variety Inc. Young Syd's legal guardian Harold Erichs oversaw Variety Inc. until 1956. From then Syd took over and managed the company until 1987, when he sold it to Cahners Publishing (later absorbed by Reed Elsevier) for US$64 million.[citation needed]

For twenty years its editor-in-chief was Peter Bart, who worked previously at Paramount Pictures and The New York Times. In April 2009, it was announced that Bart was moving to the position of "vice president and editorial director", characterised online as "Boffo No More: Bart Up and Out at Variety". The current editor is Timothy M. Gray.[1][2]


Circulation hovers around 27,000 for the daily editions, and 25,000 for the weekly edition (Audit Bureau of Circulations, March 17, 2010)


  • Variety (started in 1905) is a glossy tabloid edition with a broad coverage of movies, television, theater, music and technology, written for entertainment executives. It is published weekly and delivered internationally.
  • Daily Variety (started in 1933) is the name of the Los Angeles-based Hollywood and Broadway daily edition.
  • Daily Variety Gotham, (started in 1998) is the name of the New York City-based edition which gives a priority focus to East Coast show-business news and is produced earlier in the evening than the Los Angeles edition so it can be delivered to New York City offices the following morning.
  • (launched in 1998) is the internet version of Variety. It was one of the first online newspapers to charge for access when it launched. While the publication did briefly provide free access, it brought back its paywall in December 2009. At the same time, Variety introduced a new type of subscription; now subscribers receive, Digital Variety, Daily Variety and Weekly Variety for one price. [3]


For much of its existence, Variety's writers and columnists have used a jargon called slanguage or varietyese (a form of headlinese) that refers especially to the movie industry, and has largely been adopted and imitated by other writers in the industry. Such terms as "boffo box-office biz", "sitcom", "sex appeal", "payola", and even "striptease" are attributed to the influence of the magazine,[4] although its attempt to popularize "infobahn" as a synonym for "information superhighway" never caught on. Its most famous headline was from October 1929, when the stock market crashed: "Wall St. Lays An Egg". Another favorite, "Sticks nix hick pix",[5][6] was made popular—although the movie-prop version renders it as "Stix nix hix pix!" in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Michael Curtiz's musical-biographical film about George M. Cohen; translated, it means that rural audiences were not attending rural-themed films. Television series are referred to as "skeins", and heads of companies or corporate teams are called "toppers". In addition, more-common English words and phrases are shortened; "audience members" becomes simply "auds", "performance" becomes "perf", and "network" becomes "net", for example.

Facts and figures

  • On January 19, 1907, Variety published what is considered the first film review in history.
  • On December 7, 1988, Bart's predecessor, Roger Watkins, proposed and oversaw the transition to four-color print. Upon its launch, the new-look Variety measured one inch shorter with a washed-out color on the front. The old front-page box advertisement was replaced by a strip advertisement, along with the first photos published in Variety since Sime gave up using them in the old format in 1920: they depicted Sime, Abel and Syd. (, 7th paragraph).

A significant portion of Variety's revenue comes during the movie-award season leading up to the Academy Awards. During this time, large numbers of colorful, full-page "For Your Consideration" advertisements inflate the size of Variety to double or triple its usual page count. These advertisements are Hollywood's attempt to reach other Hollywood professionals who will be voting in the many awards given out in the early part of the year.


The Variety Building in December 2008.

In late 2008, Variety moved its Los Angeles offices to a high-rise office building on Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of the Miracle Mile area. The building was dubbed the Variety Building because a red, illuminated "Variety" sign graced the top north and south sides of the building. The 31-story tower can be seen from any direction in Los Angeles, and has totally unobstructed, 360-degree views of the city. The city welcomed the new landmark with a lighting ceremony in December 2008

Reprints of film reviews

This is the short list of English-language periodicals with 10,000 or more film reviews reprinted in book form:

  • Variety as Variety Film Reviews (1907–1996) in 24 volumes.
  • New York Times as New York Times Film Reviews (1913–2000) in 22 volumes.
  • Harrison's Reports as Harrison's Reports and Film Reviews (1919–1962) in 15 volumes.

Film reviews in Variety continued after the dates of the last reprints.

Reprints of obituaries

The complete text of approximately 100,000 entertainment-related obituaries (1905–1986) were reprinted as Variety Obituaries, an 11-volume set, including alphabetical index. Four additional bi-annual reprints were published (for 1987–1994) before the reprint series was discontinued.

Film trailer charts

In 2009, Variety launched a chart showcasing the top performing film trailers ahead of theatrical release in partnership with media measurement firm Visible Measures. An example of these charts can be found here.

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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