Howard Hughes: The Aviator
Total control of RKO
By the end of 1954, Hughes had gained near-total control of RKO at a cost of nearly $24 million, becoming the first sole owner of a major Hollywood studio since the silent film era. Six months later, Hughes sold the studio to the General Tire and Rubber Company for $25 million. Hughes retained the rights to pictures that he had personally produced, including those made at RKO. He also retained Jane Russell's contract. For Howard Hughes, this was the virtual end of his 25-year involvement in the motion picture industry. However, his reputation as a financial wizard emerged unscathed. During that time period, RKO became known as the home of film noir classic productions thanks in part to the limited budgets required to make such films during Hughes' tenure. Hughes reportedly walked away from RKO having made $6.5 million in personal profit. According to Noah Dietrich, Hughes made a $10,000,000 profit from the sale of the theaters and made a profit of $1,000,000 from his 7-year ownership of RKO.