Carolco Pictures, Inc. was originally formed in 1976 by Mario F. Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna as "Anabasis Investments" to make a major independent competitor to the Hollywood studios producing A-movie product. In 1984, Anabasis Investments was reincorporated as "Carolco International, N.V." In 1987, Carolco acquired International Video Entertainment ("IVE" or "I'VE", then later known as "LIVE Entertainment") but later was forced to sell its shares in 1993 to a group of investors led by Pioneer Electronic Corporation after Carolco restructured. On August 28, 1987, Carolco acquired syndication company Orbis Communications for $15.4 million (Orbis would be merged into Carolco's TV unit in 1991). In 1995, Carolco went bankrupt because of overspending on their films and the disastrous release of Cutthroat Island (not to mention being hurt by them giving up distribution rights to Cliffhanger, so they can properly fund the film. Despite being successful at the box-office, Carolco saw little profit.), and the company closed soon after. In 1989, Vajna sold his share of Carolco and formed "Cinergi Pictures Entertainment". In 1998, Cinergi shut down. Kassar and Vajna also reinstated their partnership and founded C2 Pictures, which shut down in 2008. On January 21, 2015, it was announced that an independent production company, Brick Top Productions, purchased the Carolco trademarks and now operates under the Carolco name, with Mario Kassar as the company's chief development executive. Today, the ancillary rights to a majority of Carolco's library are held by the French production company StudioCanal. However, Paramount Pictures thru Trifecta Entertainment & Media handles the TV syndication on Paramount's behalf, and Lionsgate Home Entertainment continues to hold the domestic home video rights (via a new output deal with StudioCanal), while the international home video rights are held by a different company for each country. Exceptions include Aces: Iron Eagle III (produced with Seven Arts) that is owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment by the way of New Line Cinema, Cliffhanger is distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Last of the Dogmen is distributed by NBCUniversal, by the way of Focus Features gaining the rights to the Savoy Pictures library, and Showgirls, which Carolco sold off to Chargeurs during pre-production, and is distributed in North America by MGM. Carolco did not use a logo until 1985.
1st Logo (May 22, 1985-September 4, 1987)
Nicknames: "C in Space", "Space Streaks"
Logo: Against a starry space background, a blue streak of light zooms out, flashes, and forms 1/3 of Carolco's "C" logo, which is colored bronze. The process repeats two times, working its way outward. Afterwards, the logo shines brightly as the words "CAROLCO" (in the Hanzel font) shine in underneath. The logo then sparkles
Trivia: This logo was only used on international prints of Rambo: First Blood Part II, Angel Heart, and Extreme Prejudice. The original domestic prints of these films began with a TriStar Pictures logo.
FX/SFX: The streaks/flash effects.
Music/Sounds: A nice orchestrated piece conducted by Jerry Goldsmith, but on later releases a synthesized disco jingle was used starting with a zooming sound.
Music/Sounds Variant: AMC & Netflix broadcasts of Rambo: First Blood Part II use the TriStar logo with the Carolco jingle (it was originally silent on that picture), while it is high pitched on AMC. On the 1998 Artisan DVD release and VUDU prints however, the TriStar logo uses its normal fanfare.
Music/Sounds Trivia: This was also featured on the 2010 reissue of the First Blood soundtrack (though it appears nowhere on the film itself).
Availability: Extremely rare. Seen on international prints of the above-mentioned movies (Including early home video releases, which used them). However, Rambo: First Blood Part II, from the 1988 IVE release onward (with the exceptions of the 1991 Live Home Video, 1992 Promotional Concept Group, Inc. and 1995 Avid Home Entertainment VHS releases, which retains it), plasters this with the 3rd logo. Oddly, home media releases since 2002 have used the 1984 TriStar logo with the Carolco jingle (it was originally silent on that picture); on Spike airings of the said film, the TriStar logo, which again uses the Carolco jingle, is cut off by a few seconds at the beginning. On HBO prints, from when they first started running the film in 1986, the domestic print with the TriStar logo was used instead. Some TV prints of Angel Heart have the TriStar logo while most DVD releases open with no logo, though the Carolco logo is rumored to be on the Lionsgate and StudioCanal Blu-Ray releases; it is unknown if the TriStar logo is retained on said Blu-Rays.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The streaks, flashing lights, and whirring sound may startle some.
2nd Logo (May 1, 1986-November 30, 1988)
Nicknames: "Flashing C", "Cheesy C", "Radiator C"
Logo: The logo starts out being in a black background with two silver streaks hitting diagonally from the opposite sides of the screen (lower-left and upper-right corners of the screen). The streaks merge and they have one or two beams of smaller light coming from them. Afterward, the streaks form a curvy "C", the same one from the previous logo. After the "C" is formed, it flashes/shines in a bright orange light, which will remind many of the WGBH "Flash of Doom" logo.
Variant: On the theatrical trailer for Extreme Prejudice, it is tinted blue.
FX/SFX: Improved effects, different from the previous logo.
Music/Sounds: Either a synthesized disco tune or orchestrated piece from the last logo.
Music/Sounds Variant: The variation is silent.
Availability: Extremely rare. It can be found on the 1989 VHS release of Angel Heart. It is also intact on the U.S. VHS, Laserdisc, and Artisan DVD (preceded by the 1st Live Home Video logo) releases of EP. This logo can also be seen at the beginning of the RAMBO cartoon series.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The FX and the synthesizer may startle some, but otherwise it's not too bad (with the exception of the synthesizer music).
3rd Logo (March 4, 1988-August 26, 1994, 2015-2016)
Nicknames: "Laser Light", "The Laser-Light C"
Logo: Against a black background, a blue laser carves out a series of curves, making its way inward as it slowly turns up, revealing the "C" used in the previous two films. Then, the logo shines brightly in a "wind tunnel" effect and zooms-out. As the shining ends, the logo is silver-colored, and the words "CAROLCO" fade-in below. The logo shines once more.
- There is different lighting animation in the wind tunnel seen on some movies after the laser forms the logo. Appears on Rambo III, Narrow Margin, The Doors, Basic Instinct, Universal Soldier, Cliffhanger and the 1999 Artisan VHS release of First Blood: Rambo Part II.
- A shortened version of this was seen on current prints of Music Box (the original video releases had the standard logo).
- It should be noted that other films in the aforementioned ratio, such as DeepStar Six, Air America and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, use the other animation and appears cropped (as it was mainly for films in the 1.85:1 ratio).
- The logo on their website has the text "I TOLD YOU I'D BE BACK!" below the signature logo.
Closing Variant: Right towards the end credits, the print logo is seen with trademark info below. The logo may be seen again with "A Carolco Release" or "A Carolco International, N.V. Release" above.
FX/SFX: Top-notch '80s CGI.
Cheesy Factor: Nothing wrong with the original logo, but on the newer variant, "I TOLD YOU I'D BE BACK!" looks cheaply chyroned in, just like Carolco's Home Video division.
Music/Sounds: The same music theme played on the first logo, except now it's a little bit more dramatic. The whoosh of the laser is also heard as the logo is formed.
- Sometimes, like in original theatrical release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day (International prints have its music) and the shortened version, it is silent.
- Sometimes, like in Total Recall (1990), the opening theme starts over it.
- On some TV airings of Lock Up, the 1984 TriStar theme is heard.
- On Spanish dubbed versions of Basic Instinct, the TriStar logo has the Carolco theme, while the latter has the theme from the former.
- On the French Studio Canal Blu-Ray of Repossessed, it is silent until the theme from the Seven Arts logo is heard towards the end.
Availability: Very common, particularly on big hits such as Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Including the 3D version, albeit not converted like the movie itself), Rambo III, and others. Carolco went to TriStar for 80% of their releases. For most VHS releases, Carolco's logo is kept while TriStar's logo is deleted, except on DeepStar Six, Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw, Cliffhanger (owned by Sony Pictures), The Doors, Homeboy (VUDU and YouTube prints), Total Recall (releases since 2001), Hamlet (1990) (French SECAM VHS, among possible others), a Pluto TV airing of Johnny Handsome, Basic Instinct, Red Heat (on the IVE screener and all releases since 1999), the 1998/99 widescreen DVD release of Mountains of the Moon, Air America (from the 2004 DVD release on), The Doors, L.A. Story (particularly the 15th Anniversary DVD of that film), the German DVD of Narrow Margin, the 1998 widescreen LaserDisc release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day (as well as Netflix/VUDU prints, and a 2015 Encore broadcast, reportedly), They Live (non-American media, possibly), Chaplin (the original Live Entertainment DVD from 1998 has only the Carolco logo), and Universal Soldier (not on the Live Entertainment DVD release however). Whenever Encore and Telemundo air Rambo III, the current Paramount Pictures logo (the 90th Anniversary version on Telemundo's print, cut off by a few seconds at the beginning) omits the TriStar logo but leaves Carolco's intact, while Encore's airing of Deepstar Six shows the Paramount logo, in addition to the TriStar and Carolco logos. On Wagons East!, the last movie to use this logo, it appears after the 1993 TriStar logo (others after the 1984 TriStar logo), both proceeded by the Live Entertainment logo on TV prints (except Lionsgate's 2013 syndicated print) and on the VHS release. It also plasters the 1st logo on the 1988 and 1998 VHS releases of Rambo: First Blood Part II. U.S. prints of Repossessed have the Seven Arts logo instead, though the print logo still appears at the end and the actual logo appears on the 2003 Artisan Entertainment DVD. Don't expect this to appear on Stargate, Last of the Dogmen, and Showgirls. Also appeared on the beginning of the TV movies Dangerous Passion and Two-Fisted Tales. This is seen on a trailer for Reservoir Dogs (foreign prints only) and Cutthroat Island, but the film itself would use the next logo below. This is also seen on international prints of They Live, Shocker, Field of Dreams, Prince of Darkness, Career Opportunities, Opportunity Knocks, and The Wizard, which Universal Studios released domestically, among others. The Carolco International N.V. credit appeared on international prints of films and on some old video releases, but domestic prints would have the TriStar logo. Strangely, the Blu-Ray release of Johnny Handsome only has a 2004 StudioCanal logo (neither a TriStar nor Carolco logo) but would have the in-credit international logo with the legal information. This is seen on VHS releases of Lock-Up; DVD releases and some TV airings have TriStar and White Eagle instead as this is the domestic print. It was later seen on their website (before being replaced with the 5th logo), and in the annotation on the right. It is unknown if it appears on the Fox Lorber VHS release of Pathfinder. It might have appeared on non-Australian theatrical prints of the Village Roadshow Pictures film Bloodmoon.
Scare Factor: None.
4th Logo (December 22, 1995, 2015- )
Nickname: "The Still C"
Logo: Just a superimposed in-credit logo of Carolco, the "C" in gold, with "CAROLCO" below.
Later Variant: Later on, the logo had a silver look, and a copyright notice below.
Cheesy Factor: Well, most still logos are cheap.
Music/Sounds: The film's/show's opening/closing theme.
Availability: Starting to become common again. Seen on Cutthroat Island, the last production by this company until their resurrection.
Scare Factor: None.
5th Logo (2016- )
Logo: Same concept as the 1988 logo, but this time done in CGI. A few differences though is the company name eases back when the logo does instead of it fading in. The "CAROLCO" name is in a thicker font.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 1988 logo.
Availability: Brand New. For now, it is used as the intro on Carolco's website. It was seen on trailers & TV spots for the 3D version of Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Scare Factor: None.