Top Five… movie studio logos

foxlogoThey are the cinematic equivalent of a nightclub bouncer – a few seconds that could get your evening off to a great start. Here are my favourite movie logos, those that send a shiver down my spine before the film even begins.

There is nothing like that rush you get just before a movie is about to begin. That anticipation of the adventure and excitement to come. Often this anticipation is obliterated a few minutes later by lousy acting/clichés/giant talking robots but however crap the movie, no one can take away those beautiful few seconds you had two hours earlier in which all your hopes and dreams were allowed to soar. And for me, and I’m sure a lot of movie-goers, those few seconds can be enhanced by a good film company logo. The best logos somehow manage to get your goosebumps up before the feature has started.

For my money, the best logos are short, simple and visually arresting. It is worth mentioning a few that didn’t make the Top Five. The DreamWorks logo is quite innovative but there is just too much going on, while Pixar’s is cute yet tries too hard. The eerieness of Bad Robot meant it almost sneaked into the list. Be sure to tell us your favourites in the comments section below.

5. Orion Pictures

The now defunct Orion helped bring us The Terminator, Platoon and The Silence Of The Lambs and it also gave us a smashing logo. It cleverly incorporates its titular constellation at the beginning, before a spinning circle morphs into an ‘O’ to get the juices going. Once the entire name appears you would be forgiven for thinking that was it, and then that cool sci-fi line cuts through the letters to provide the icing on the cake. Otherworldly and brilliant.

4. Miramax

Forget the bad things you may have read about The Weinsteins – their former company has good branding. The epic swoop across the water leading into the bright lights of New York is bold and immediately attention-grabbing, adding a distinctive East Coast feel that is as alluring as it is memorable.

3. 20th Century Fox

Come on, tell the truth: every time you hear this music you expect Star Wars to come on…

2. The Rank Organisation

Finally! A logo that has a person in it! There were a number of people who banged the gong over the years for the British company, including circus strongman Carl Dane, boxer Billy Wells and wrestler Kenneth Richmond. Its founder, J Arthur Rank, produced classics such as The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus before his name became rhyming slang for male masturbation. Bummer.

1. Paramount

And now to the grandaddy of them all – the oldest and best movie logo in the business. It’s just a peak with some stars around it and yet it is so much more. It’s just so, well, beautiful and never fails to make me smile in a darkened cinema. Is the logo’s summit a depiction of Artesonraju in Peru, Ben Lomond in the US or Ben Stack in Scotland? Who cares? It just looks great. The original 24 stars – representing Paramount’s acting roster – has since been cut to 22, but counting them isn’t an option in the split second that the image takes to blow you away in a theatre or at home. The logo has gone through a number of incarnations, and while I love how the stars fly at you at the beginning of Team America: World Police, it really is tough to beat the mountain morph, below, which kicks off one of the greatest movie adventures of all time.




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10 Responses to “Top Five… movie studio logos”

  1. Oh Lads, what about the roaring MGM lion? Top 5 easily. Big Miss.

    Think 20th Century Fox is unbeatable, regardless of what film you think is going to come on when you hear that music, you do know you are at an event. It is so stirring.

    The nerd in me always like the Universal (I think) globe spinning away as well and me mentally trying to name all the countries as it revolves and hoping against hope that it doesn’t finish just for once on America.

    Rank trivia – the gong was never once struck, just filmed to make it look like it was.

  2. that is good triv David
    while i can appreciate the greatness of the MGM lion it just doesnt do it for me – its the Bob Dylan of movie logos

  3. Kinda know what you mean Ross McG – but on the other hand you are completely wrong.

    Paramount is a weird one, cannot work out if it is genius or as incidental as the mobile phone ads that preceed it.

  4. man, youre not going to take this one Lion down, are you?

  5. mcarteratthemovies Says:

    Very cool idea for a Top 5 — tres original. Well done!

  6. shame it is the wrong top 5

  7. Yes every time the music comes on with the Fox logo I think for a second I am watching Star Wars, it is king of a disappointment when I realise I’m not!

  8. MGM lion should definitely be in there – he’s Irish!
    Unlike us Brits.
    What about Columbia, with the most prolific screen female of all time?
    Bottom five? That horrible pan out of the Warner Bros logo with the reflection of their parking lot or something – rubbish.
    Although I do like when they customise the logo for the film, ie going all frosty for Batman and Robin.
    You know, because the fweeeze was coming?

  9. As for customising the logo, the best I have seen recently is The Firm (set in the 80’s) it turned the WB into a neon sign.

    The first example of customising a logo I can remember was a Burt Reynolds film(can’t remember which one but thinking one of the Smokey and the Bandit or Cannonball Run films) they had a car chase around the Fox logo.

    The most effective was Waterworld when the seas rise on the universal logo, best thing about the film!

    I was planning to do a post on customised logos a couple of months ago but lost interest when someone beat me to it.

  10. Yeah good call on d original Orion logo, Im in favour of anything dat gets d kids lookin at d stars!

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