All the way back in 2012 when I started this site, one of the first non-review posts I made was a fairly nerdy one…and I’m going to revisit it here today.
I love a logo. As much as fancy CGI or elaborate production design will make me ‘Oooo’ and ‘ahhh’, I will often get the same kind of glittery thrill from a studio logo that opens a film. In most cases, movie studios have the same logo for years and only allow variants for a select few filmmakers or franchises — this is a de facto calling card after all and you wouldn’t want to send your product out that would confuse your consumer in any way. “Special edition” studio logos are fun but what really excites me is when a studio makes a major (and permanent) change to their design.
From my original post:
I’m approaching the level of movie geekdom where I sometimes start to judge a movie based on the opening studio logo and opening credits. I know that with each film the credits can play an integral role in setting the tone (Bond films being one shining example) while other credits simply take the time to say the name of the movie. Even before the credits roll the studio logo is what first signals that the movie is starting. Much like an overture in a musical, I believe once the logo starts the movie has begun and everyone better pay attention.
I’ve found that many European films that could have a multitude of different producers can have a hefty amount of producing house logos. By the seventh or eigth pre-credit logo it becomes almost comical — it all seems like a huge build-up for another adaptation of a Jane Austen novel or a samurai epic.
I love it when studios change up their logos and do something creative/unique/special with them to coincide with a release. Warner Bros is one studio that sticks out for changing up their color scheme and sequencing for certain films. David Fincher famously convinced Paramount and Warner Brothers to use their logos from the 70’s when he released Zodiac several years back. Filmmakers like Fincher make these brilliant choices because right away the audience was transported back to a different era where the events of that movie took place.
I’d been thinking about this post for some time and had been wanting to revisit it but hadn’t found any movie studio had revamped their logo enough to warrant a deep dive…then Orion Pictures came in and saved the day.
Orion Pictures? Didn’t they stop making movies? Well, sorta but it’s more like their parent company MGM just put them on the back-burner during all of its business woes that kept them eeking along for the past decade. Slowly, the smaller branch that hit a big boom as its own entity in the late 80s and early 90s with major hits like Best Picture winners Dances with Wolves & The Silence of the Lambs and personal favorites like Mermaids & She-Devil is making a comeback and with that comes the debut of a fresh look to showcase that renaissance. I’m not sure I can ever truly let go of the classic Orion theme or look, but this futuristic redesign is the kind of flashy new attitude that several key stalwarts might want to take notes on.
Here’s the logo in it’s original incarnation (shown ahead of The Prince of the City):
Most of us remember this version:
A newer version from the late ’90s:
A slightly revamped look was seen (as Orion Classics) before films like the 2020 remake of Valley Girl:
And here’s the newest one:
So…what logo will be next? I’d actually like to see some of the tiny divisions from the past get revived and redesigned. While Orion never really went away, some of them (Triumph? Avco Embassy? Rogue? Hollywood Pictures) did and though it’s highly unlikely we’ll get them back because they’ve been absorbed into companies that have changed multiple hands/entities over years, hardcore nerds like myself understand their cool contingent and the nostalgia they invoke.
C’mon…Orion did it, here’s encouraging more companies to make a bold upgrade.
Here’s a bonus feature, the new-ish logo for Warner Bros. that was introduced in 2021. I didn’t talk about it a lot here for two reasons. 1) Though I like that fanfare by Ludwig Göransson and its nod to the original studio, this feels overaly animated and 2) with the 100th anniversary of Warner Bros. coming 2023, I’m betting on another tweak. We can discuss the history of the logo, another favorite, then!