Monday, May 31, 2010

What's Your Favorite Studio Logo?

Do you even have one?


I have a fondness for Columbia's due to that weird rumor that the modern incarnation was based on Annette Bening. But my favorite is maybe Universal. I love watching the the studio name revolve around the planet. In general I dig studio logos and get a kick out of seeing them shift ever so slightly with changes in visual style and technology over the years.


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46 comments:

Jose said...

Twentieth Century Fox!
If I was an insane billionaire I'd build myself a life size replica of the whole thing with the lights and everything.
Plus the fanfare gives me goosebumps.

Volvagia said...

IFC Films. It may not be as showy as Columbia, Universal or MGM but the lights and the film reel, just impress me more than a logo I'm going to see thousands of times in my life because of the middlebrow tastes of the majority.

Ryan T. said...

I'm very fond of Focus Features. Simple, but effective.

Though I'm curious to hear if there are any studio logos that everyone hates...

NicksFlickPicks said...

The DreamWorks logo makes me pretty crazy. Damn kid. Effing mandolin.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I love the old RKO Radio logo from the 30s (dee dee deet! dee dee deet!), but honestly, I like almost all of them. Because they always mean that a movie is coming.

But not DreamWorks.

Guy said...

Yes, the DreamWorks logo is twee overload, and badly designed twee overload at that ... I inwardly retch a little every time I see it.

20th Century Fox and Rank (gongggggggg!) are tops for me -- though there's no studio logo I find as beautiful as the Scott Free production company emblem. That's a work of art.

Benji said...

20th Century Fox, probably. Although I kind of always expect it to be followed by the Star Wars theme...

And love how the logos have evolved over the decades, especially Universal.

Laika said...

I like Pathe's spinning chicken-mobile - I feel like I used to see it a couple of times a month in the late nineties/early 2000s.

Columbia, Tristar, Universal, Paramount - I love all the old-school ones... but not Twentieth Century Fox. Like the Pearl and Dean music, I've had to sit through it one too many times (sticking it on the end of TV shows didn't help).

jbaker475 said...

Focus, Miramax, and IFC are among my favorites, but my #1 has to be the now defunct Paramount Vantage. It was simple and had just the right understated touch of weirdness (the piece of tape/text being moved slightly by an unseen hand).

Peter Chan said...

I've always loved the Walt Disney opening. From the stream with the wee little pirate boat, pulling back to reveal Cinderella's castle through colorful fireworks and the little arch of fairy dusk over it.

Rebecka said...

Focus Features, because it kinda looks like it's been shot by Christopher Doyle...
I like Columbia and Universal as well, and MGM mostly because it makes me think of all the American classics they used to show on TV when I was a kid.
Also, because I'm a sucker for Chinese 1930's films, the flickering black and white star of Mingxing always makes me happy :)

NATHANIEL R said...

@Nick "honestly, I like almost all of them. Because they always mean that a movie is coming."

amen.

I used to really love Tri-Star's with the horse turning into a pegasus but then i got bored with it.

I would actually pee my pants with delight if Columbia's logo woman changed to be a replica of whatever actress was starring that film each time. I would pee my pants. And then stand and cheer and write loveletters to Columbia.

Carl said...

I like the Paramount logo, in part because of "Star Trek" over the years, but also because they were one of the first to go all in on incorporating the logo in the opening frames of the movie. One of the first examples I ever saw was the mountain logo change to an almost-lookalike mountain in South America (?) at the opening of "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Since then, I have seen Universal do it with their globe logo, most recently in "Serenity". How about it, folks? Anyone remember seeing any earlier examples?

Ash said...

I love the Focus Features logo, and I loved the now defunct Vantage and Picturehouse logos. I love the new HD Warner logo as well. I love this post Nat.

Glendon said...

jbaker475 took the words from my mouth/hands. Paramount vantage is my favourite for the reasons he described.

I also love the Twentieth Century Fox logo, but I never see it that often when I watch movies, which I have to deduce means Fox isn't as great a studio as Paramount, Universal, or Warner.

Carl, a great example of incorporating the logo into the film is the opening of Waterworld. After the usual Universal globe logo, the words disappear and continents begin to submerge.

NoNo said...

I really like the Disney logo during their Renaissance. The current one is a bit too "Disney World" if that makes sense.

Warner Brothers has a pretty great one too. I like how it goes from the studio lot into the logo. I particularly like how the Harry Potter and the Chris Nolan Batman films interpret them to fit with the tone of the movie.

I think just about everyone loves that 20th Century Fox Intro. That music intro is just iconic.

Andrew R. said...

20th Century Fox or Paramount.

NoNo said...

Oh and Pixar! With that hopping lamp!

adam k. said...

I hadn't thought about how all the Star Trek films had that Paramount logo, but they totally do.

What I DID think about was how even after seeing it in front of dozens and dozens of other films, I STILL associate the 20th Century Fox logo with Star Wars. The big, booming music of the logo clip feeds so effortlessly into the big, booming John Williams score and scrolling text that to this day, I always expect it to happen, every time I see a Fox movie. Whenever something else follows their logo, it always throws me for a sec.

Is that weird?

ClaudeMedwenitsch said...

Riverroad Entertainment!

Anonymous said...

While the logo itself isn't as iconic as others already mentioned, I do love the way that the Warner Bros. logo is often presented. That tracking of a still photo of a studio in gold, leading to the reveal of the gold logo. But even more than that, I love those few bars of played on the piano mimicking "the world will always welcome lovers" just before the whole orchestra joins in with "As Time Goes By." Nice to see a studio give tribute to one of their very best and most loved films.

-VAL

Henry said...

Universal. The director's commentary for Hulk with Ang Lee made this funny (albeit somewhat true-looking) observation that he thought the light traveling around the globe starts in Taiwan (where Lee is from) and ends in the United States. Look at the logo again. It's been like that as long as Universal has been around.

Henry said...

I used to love the Dreamworks logo, but now, I only like it when some filmmaker makes approved changes to it. Like when Kung Fu Panda changed it to reflect its Chinese subject matter.

vg21 said...

Maybe it should be 20th Century Fox as its founder was a Hungarian (and I'm one too), but my champion is Columbia because it belongs to The Remains of the Day. Whenever I see that torch, it reminds me of my heartbreakingly beautiful all-time finalist of dramas; I love it so much! Although I am unable to watch it as many times as my all-time favourite of comedies, for obvious reasons.

As for the other studio logos, I tend to love them all and the explanation has already been provided by NicksFlickPicks. Hope to see Miramax in the future before movies it used to precede!

James T said...

20th century fox and Disney!

vg21 said...

Oh, and the B&W Universal logo (I only saw it once, preceding Gran Torino) is exceptional.

The Jaded Armchair Reviewer said...

I've always held a soft spot for Powell and Pressburger's The Archers.

Runs Like A Gay said...

I'm with Laika on Pathe's chicken mobile.

Even though I know it can't possibly work (the shadows grows even when physics says it should shrink) whenever I see it start I'm trying to figure it out.

anna said...

TriStar, followed by Universal.
When it comes to German ones, I'm somewhat partial to Constantin Film.

Basically though, I just agree with Nick, I love all of them, because they mean that a movie is coming. :)

Tim said...

Like everyone else, I'm obviously a 20th Century Fox fan (who wouldn't be?), but if I can re-direct the conversation for just a moment: more than I've ever liked a studio logo, I adore the mid-period Criterion Collection logo, the one where it was a thin white line moving in from the left and illuminating letters as it underlines them. Simple and classy, and it all but screams "this is the most elegant possible way to watch this very intelligent motion picture you're about to see, even if it's The Rock."

/3rtfu11 said...

Paramount: arguably the most attractive studio logo ever.
I also happened to be very fond of the trend to use digitally altered versions of vintage logs – as was the case for Zodiac, Superbad, Inglourious Basterds, and Indy 4.

Sanj said...

Is there some sort of requirement that all logos must use the sky as a background, preferably with fluffy clouds at twilight? Almost all of these logos seem to use that...

(and I can't choose just one, it's just so interesting to see them change over time or change to fit certain movies)

Sam said...

I always think Ida Lupino when I see a Columbia picture. Am I wrong?

Cory Rivard said...

I just spent the last 10 minutes playing all 3 Universal logos at the same time. Now what to do with the rest of my day?

Bauxite Films said...

Just because they haven't been mentioned, I'm partial to the Strand Releasing smoky logo sequence and Oscilloscope's bizarro space-frequency.

As for least favorite, I still don't get the reasoning behind the name/logo change for Lions Gate/Lionsgate. It used to look distinctive, now it's just bland (especially on DVD spines). And Overture's logo just looks lazy.

Glenn Dunks said...

I've always been fond of the Miramax design where the name is made up out of the lights of Manhattan, but my fave has always been New Line but ONLY when they include the music. This music. That music just sounds so magical and a little bit mysterious and throw in the film strip and that deep blue lighting... I love it.

Kurtis O said...

Focus Features. I basically love everything about that company (though I here James Schamus is kind of a dick).

I, too, like watching the logos evolve. I love the new amped-up Disney logo that takes you down the river and over the castle as the fireworks go off. Magic.

I've also always had a fondness for Regency -- that big sweeping curve of the R that glistens blue.

Great post.

Dan Stephens said...

I'd have to go for Universal. I love that trailer they had a few years back where the Universal logo goes through the ages and ends up with the latest design.

Dan
www.top10films.co.uk

JoFo said...

Call me a softy, but I like the boy fishing of the moon in the dreamworks logo. It's adowable.

BrianZ said...

I've always been very fond of Focus Features.

/3rtfu11 said...

I'd like to remind everyone of the early 90's -- the Carolco logo before Basic Instinct, The Doors, Terminator 2, and Total Recall.

Burning Reels said...

MGM, rawr:)

Volvagia said...

Burning Reels, that's a weird choice with MGM. All it makes me think is: Yeah, an unmoving roaring lion. A lion is not quite majestic enough as an image when standing still and, thus, the only other fun would come from seeing how the logo would be manipulated to tie into the film you're about to see. (The WB logo changes are always the best part, because that logo is bland if it's presented plain) Oh, wait, the logo is a roaring lion. Not many ways to manipulate such an image.

Glenn said...

Oh man, Carolco! That was is incredible.

Does anyone remember Manderlay? More a production house than a studio, but still...

Anthony said...

Supposedly the Paramount logo (my favorite) is a sketch of Utah's Ben Lomond Mountain -- based on a childhood memory of W. W. Hodkinson, the first major movie exhibitor.

Dieter said...

@ Volvagia: You should watch Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers. Very funny manipulation of the MGM logo! watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXv4GhiXhQA