Embassy Films Associates (also known at various points of it's existence as Embassy Pictures and Avco Embassy Pictures Corporation) was founded by film producer Joseph E. Levine in 1942. Levine distributed such films as Godzilla, King of the Monsters, Hercules (the 1958 Steve Reeves version) and more infamously, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (there was no logo in the pre-Avco years, just a "Joseph E. Levine Presents" text at the beginning and "An Embassy Pictures Release" text at the end of a film, both in the style of the credits). In 1967, Levine sold the company to Avco Corporation, an aviation equipment and financial services company, reincorporating it as "Avco Embassy Pictures Corporation". The familiar "AE" logo wasn't used for movies until about 1969 though the television unit adopted the logo upon Avco's buyout of the film distributor. In 1976, Avco Embassy sold off Avco Embassy Television division to Multimedia, Inc. and became Multimedia Entertainment. In January 1982, when Norman Lear and Jerry Perenchio acquired the studio, the motion picture division changed accordingly, reverting to the previous Embassy Pictures by dropping off "Avco". With the purchase Embassy started their second television production division, Embassy Communications (also known as Embassy Television and Embassy Telecommunications at various points in it's existence) after Lear and Perenchio renamed their own television studio, Tandem Productions, after the recently acquired studio. Also, Lord Lew Grade (who had just stepped down as head of ITC Entertainment Group) was brought in to run the Embassy Pictures International unit, which lasted until Norman Lear and Jerry Perenchio sold the entire Embassy empire to The Coca-Cola Company on June 18, 1985. In 1986, Coca-Cola sold the Embassy Pictures division to Dino de Laurentiis by forming De Laurentiis Entertainment Group and folded Embassy Films Associates. However, Coca-Cola continued to own the television division, by now renamed to ELP Communications (standing for Embassy Limited Partnership or Embassy Lear Perenchio, depending on the source) and as an in-name only unit of Columbia Pictures Television. In 1988, DEG was acquired by Village Roadshow Pictures and DEG became "Village Roadshow Limited". De Laurentiis' assets were sold to Parafrance International and eventually by StudioCanal. Currently, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures owns American home media rights most of the Embassy film library after they acquired the rights to the pre-March 31, 1996 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment library which included the rights to the Nelson Entertainment (Nelson owned home media rights to the Embassy library because they were originally formed as Embassy Home Entertainment, before being sold off by Coca-Cola). Sony Pictures Television owns television rights to the film library, because they remained a part of The Coca-Cola Company, who spun off their media holdings to form Columbia Pictures Entertainment and was subsequently purchased by Sony Corporation to form Sony Pictures Entertainment, due to Embassy's television division remaining part of Coca-Cola/Columbia. Sony also owns the Embassy logo, names, and trademarks through ELP Communications. Lionsgate Films owns American streaming rights to select titles in the Embassy library by agreement with StudioCanal.
1st Logo (1961-December 21, 1967)
Nicknames: "Circular E", "Spotlight E"
Logo: On a black background, a spotlight is shining on the middle of the screen, and a huge black, lower-case "e" is on it. Inside the "e" are the words "AN Embassy Pictures (1960)EMBASSY PICTURES RELEASE", with the "EMBASSY PICTURES" in white in the middle, centered, and the "AN" and "RELEASE" both in black above it. All the words are in a broad font.
FX/SFX: The "spotlight".
Music/Sounds: Only the opening theme of the movie.
Availability: Rare. It's seen on some United States-distributed Italian movies (which most are in public domain) and The Graduate. While the next logo below plastered this logo on most pre-1998 prints of the latter (while the 1978 Magnetic Video Corporation VHS plasters this with the 1969 Avco Embassy Television logo). It has been restored on current prints of The Graduate, beginning with the 1998 PolyGram Video VHS release, along with the recent DVD & Blu-ray release, and current television airings.
Scare Factor: Minimal.
2nd Logo (March 18, 1968-February 12, 1982)
Nickname: "AE Slate"
Logo: After a rectangular iris-in, three copies of a stylized "AE" (consisting of a right triangle, a rectangle, and three striped horizontal vertical lines) float in a circular pattern. The logos are red, green, and blue, and they eventually merge to form a white version of the logo. This one changes colors one shape at a time; the triangle turns blue, and each of the other shapes turn green. Below, three copies of the message "AN AVCO EMBASSY FILM" (red, green, and blue) come in from the left, right, and bottom and merge under the logo to form a white version of the words.
Closing Variant: Just a black screen with "An AVCO EMBASSY PICTURES RELEASE" in a white serif font.
FX/SFX: The Scanimate "merging", similar to the 1981 Marvel Productions logo.
Music/Sounds: Is usually silent, but other times, the opening theme of the movie is played.
- Some films use a dreamy string tune such as the cases of In Praise of Older Women and Phantasm.
- A high-pitched and repeating synth riff ending with a six-note synthesized tune was heard on certain movies like The Old Curiosity Shop, Permission to Kill, Sidewinder One, and Go Tell the Spartans.
- On the DVD release of The Seduction, the Embassy Television theme is mistakenly used. This may be due to a reverse-plastering error.
Availability: Uncommon. It's seen on The Producers, Swamp Thing, The Howling, The Fog, Vice Squad, The Seduction, The Exterminator, Target, The Ruling Class, the original Warner Home Video release of Watership Down, the original Vestron Video release of Go Tell the Spartans, and pre-1998 prints of The Graduate (the Embassy Home Entertainment and Nelson Entertainment VHS releases of the latter doesn't use a logo at all). This might be on older prints of Escape from New York, but has since been deleted from most newer releases. Sometimes, as seen on The Graduate, They Call Me Trinity, and A Nice Girl Like Me, the 1969 Avco Embassy Television logos plasters this or the previous logo on the Magnetic Video Corporation releases. As for the ITC Entertainment Group films that Avco Embassy distributed, the logo is removed on the Magnetic Video Corporation release of The Cassandra Crossing but is preserved on the Magnetic Video Corporation release of The Tamarind Seed. This logo is also seen on films aired on Antenna TV. On current prints, including Netflix Instant's print, this logo is plastered by the 2011 StudioCanal logo.
Scare Factor: Low.
3rd Logo(February 19, 1982-May 2, 1986)
Nicknames: "Spinning ☆E", "Rotating ☆E"
Logo: Same as the Embassy Television logo, but with several differences:
- The logo is on a brighter blue background.
- The animation is much slower and smoother.
- "EMBASSY PICTURES" fades in underneath it
Trivia: This logo was designed by Chermayeff & Geismar Associates of New York.
Later Variant: Starting in 1984, the logo appeared without the "EMBASSY PICTURES" text and the registered trademark symbol blotted out. This is mainly when the film division was referred to as "Embassy Films Associates".
FX/SFX: The "spinning E".
Music/Sounds: None or the films opening score.
Availability: Rare. Embassy's library is shared in various forms by StudioCanal (copyright and most international rights), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (domestic home media rights), Sony Pictures Television (television rights) and Lionsgate (domestic internet streaming rights under license from the StudioCanal) with any of their logos preceding or plastering this logo. It is more common than the Embassy Communications logo, and can still be seen on This is Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing. The version without the "EMBASSY PICTURES" text can be seen on the Shout! Factory DVD & Blu-Ray releases of Crimewave, the trailer for A Chorus Line, and the VHS of The Sure Thing (along with some television airings). However, the MGM DVD release and Encore airings of the latter use the standard version on the latter instead.
Scare Factor: Minimal.