Bacground: The Cannon Group, Inc. was a film company that has produced low- to medium-budget films from October 23, 1967 to 1993. The company was founded by Dennis Friedland and Christopher C. Dewey. In 1979, Cannon was sold to Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who had produced a few Israeli films such as Operation Thunderbolt (Mivtsa Yonatan, lit. "Operation Jonathan") and the hit teen comedy Lemon Popsicle (Eis am Steil) before coming to the United States in 1979. During that year, they bought controlling interest in Cannon Films and forged a business model of buying "bottom-barrel" scripts and putting them into production. In 1989, Cannon was acquired by Giancarlo Parretti and rechristened as Pathé Communications. Parretti later acquired MGM/UA Communications Co. in 1990 which became part of "MGM-Pathé Communications Co.". Menahem Golan left the company to form a new venture, 21st Century Film Corporation. In 1993, Cannon was folded into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Today, most of the library of the American arm of Cannon Films is held by MGM, who also owns home entertainment, international television, and ThisTV rights. Warner Bros. Entertainment holds the North American theatrical and home video rights to their co-productions with Cannon, such as Cobra, Over the Top, Masters of the Universe, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (for which WB also owns worldwide video rights). North American television rights to the Cannon library are held by Paramount Pictures, with distribution licensed to Trifecta Entertainment & Media.
1st Logo (May 8, 1975-1984)
Nickname: "The Cannon Hexagon"
Logo: Against a black background, a white multi-lined hexagon consisting of a "C" and an arrow pointing to the right is wiped in. Then, the "C" turns blue and the arrow turns purple, and the hexagon became solid, as well. It zooms out to the right, and the arrow splits off to the opposite side and leaves the text "THE CANNON GROUP, INCORPORATED" behind. Then, the "C" quickly meets up with the arrow and wipes the text away.
Variant: Sometimes, the arrow would remain white.
FX/SFX: Just simple 2D animation.
Music/Sounds: A very majestic and bombastic brass fanfare titled "Fanfare for an Ambassador", by Charles Williams. Otherwise, it's silent.
Availability: Rare. It's seen on some Cannon films from the era, as most (including Northville Cemetery Massacre) had no logo or contained only a "The Cannon Group Presents" text notice. Appears on films such as The Happy Hooker and The Alaska Wilderness Adventure.
Scare Factor: Low to medium for the version with the fanfare, and none for the silent version.
2nd Logo (September 1980-March 1987)
Nickname: "The Cannon Hexagon II"
Logo: An in-credit title card; we see the "C" and arrow from before, along with the text "THE CANNON GROUP (INC.) PRESENTS". The font, color, background, and positioning of the logo depended on the film.
Variant: Animated on The Barbarians. "THE CANNON GROUP INC." positions itself from the top of the screen, the C/arrow zooms out, and "presents" slides in.
FX/SFX: None except for the Barbarians variant.
Music/Sounds: None or the main title music.
Availability: Extremely rare. Other than the The Barbarians, this appeared on Treasure of the Four Crowns, Schizoid, The Seven Magnificent Gladiators, and the international cut of Lifeforce (which is most seen version worldwide).
Scare Factor: None.
3rd Logo (1984-1985)
Nickname: "The Cannon Hexagon III"
Logo: Against a black background, the C and arrow from before, in blue, come together in the center of the screen. As this happens, "THE CANNON GROUP, INC.", in white, appears below. The hexagon shines brightly, and after a while, a bright flash occurs, and the hexagon turns white and quickly zooms out.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The lighting effects.
Music/Sounds: An eerie wailing sound, followed by a "whoosh" as the hexagon zooms back. Sometimes, it used the opening theme of the film.
Availability: Seen on Exterminator 2, Missing in Action and other releases of the era, usually preceded with an MGM logo.
Scare Factor: Medium to high due to the darkness, music, lighting effects, and sudden zoom-out.
4th Logo (June 13, 1984-1994)
Nicknames: "The Cannon Hexagon IV", "CGI Hexagon"
Logo: Just like before, the C and arrow, which now look more metallic, appear and meet in the center of the screen. "CANNON", in a bronzish color, fades in below, and the hexagon shines. Then, the segments of the hexagon fly toward the screen one by one.
- The "short" version doesn't show the flying segments.
- There is a version with a voice-over saying "The Cannon Group presents a Golan-Globus production.". The voice is none other than Don LaFontaine, who has provided the VO for many movie trailers in the U.S. from the '70s until his death in 2008.
- One version had the "flying segment" animation playing in reverse, and the text "THE CANNON GROUP presents" (or "presenteert" in original Dutch), in light blue, would appear below. This appeared at the beginning of the Dutch film The Assault.
- There is a version with a silver hexagon seen on Invaders from Mars (1986).
- On films released in France, after the usual animation, the words "CANNON France présente", with "France" in script, zoom in upside down, then flip over. "Cannon" is in blue, "France" is in red, and "présente" is in white. The music cuts in a couple of seconds later in this variant.
- In cinemas, some longer films would be split up into two parts. The logo would play before the interval (or intermission) with "INTERVAL" written below instead. Then, after the interval, the logo would play again, with "CANNON CINEMAS PRESENT" below.
FX/SFX: The CGI used in the logo.
Cheesy Factor: The lighting effects still look cheesy.
Music/Sounds: A dramatic synth tune with a flourish produced by a string instrument of some sort. Other times, it's silent, or has the opening theme of the movie playing over it.
Availability: Can be seen on several Cannon films from the time. It debuted on The Naked Face, though Cannon continued to use the previous logo for another year. It is also seen on the UK theatrical release of The BFG (1989), but all other prints use the ITV-aired version.
Scare Factor: Minimal to low. Some might get a little jumpy with the music and hexagon segments flying at them, but this is a favorite of many.