Note: This is not to be confused with an earlier company of the same name.
TriStar Pictures (originally spelled "Tri-Star") was formed in 1982 as a joint venture between Columbia Pictures (then owned by the Coca-Cola Company), HBO, and CBS, hence the name of the studio. Originally it was known as "Nova Pictures" until the name was changed on May 16, 1983 in order to avoid confusion with PBS's hit science series NOVA. CBS was the first joint-owner who dropped out venture on November 15, 1985 and sold its interest to Columbia Pictures for $48m. In 1986, HBO sold its shares in Tri-Star to Columbia as well and formed HBO Pictures. On December 21, 1987, Tri-Star Pictures, Inc. was renamed to "Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc." and Coke merged Tri-Star & Columbia to become "Columbia/Tri-Star", of which Coca-Cola owned 80% of its stock. In late 1987, most of Tri-Star's releases were copyrighted under the "Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc." name until mid-1988, when it was reverted back to "Tri-Star Pictures, Inc.", as a new entity with that name was incorporated on April 13. In January 1988, CPE's stocks fell a little and Coke decreased its shares in CPE to 49%. On November 8, 1989, Sony Corporation of Japan acquired Columbia Pictures Entertainment for $3.4 billion. On August 7, 1991, under Sony Pictures Entertainment, the hyphen (-) was taken off of the name to refer it to the current CamelCase-style name, "TriStar".
(April 6, 1984-May 28, 1993)
Nicknames: "The Early Pegasus", "Wobbly Wings", "Jumping Pegasus", "Pegasus Over Pyramid", "'80s Pegasus", "The Quiet/Loud Music", "Majestic Pegasus", "Pegasus Over a Triangle", "From Stallion to Pegasus", "The TriStar Pegasus"
Logo: On a dark blue/purple evening background with pink skies, a splashed white horse that's known as a stallion, gallops into view coming from the left. When it gets really close, three stars coming from the left, right, and bottom of the screen crash into each other, forming a "T" in Didot font (the same font used for the CBS text as CBS was one of the joint owners of Tri-Star until 1985). The stallion grows a pair of wings and flies over the "T". It zooms out, revealing two more letters: "R", and "I", and below it is the word "STAR" reading the stacked words, "TRI STAR". The text continues to zoom out. A yellow outline of a triangle zooms out with the spaced-out word "PICTURES" under it, surrounding the text and the background. As this happens, the triangle outline reveals an abstract drawing of a Pegasus "jumping" over the logo.
- According to then-TriStar head Victor Kaufman: "One of the advisers in creating the company was Sydney Pollack, who was a famous director and actor, and he helped us put together the logo. The horse for the TriStar logo was the horse from The Electric Horseman, which he directed and made with Robert Redford. And the horse from The Electric Horseman was a dark horse, so he transposed the horse to look white, and put it on the screen, and created a Pegasus and created ... the music and everything ..."
- According to Elizabeth Kaye McCall's book The Tao of Horses, the Pegasus was played by a white Arabian gelding named "T-Bone," who was trained by Hollywood horse trainer Corky Randall. The Pegasus sequence was filmed at night in an outdoor arena Randall frequently used. T-Bone, powdered to look whiter, was to run in an especially made L-passage flanked by black curtains. When Randall called him, he galloped through it, and jumped over a fence to reach him, creating the desired effect.
- This logo was spoofed on the Family Guy S4 episode "Petergeist", where it shows Joe Swanson riding his wheelchair instead of the Pegasus, and it says "JOE SWANSON THEATRES" instead of "TRI STAR PICTURES".
- On some movies that are in the 2:35:1 ratio, the triangle and the Pegasus shrink while the jingle plays. On VHS and full-screen DVD releases, they might use the standard animation or use the pan-and-scan version of the zooming Pegasus by
- (1.) the screen focusing on the Pegasus when it appears and suddenly shifting when it jumps over the "T"
- (2) the screen following the Pegasus
- or (3), the screen starting in the middle and the Pegasus appears shortly before it jumps over the "T".
- On two Carolco movies in the aforementioned format (in this case, shot in Super 35), Deepstar Six and Air America, the standard logo is stretched to fit the ratio.
- On many Tri-Star releases in 1985, we can see the white stallion make it half way and start to grow its wings and jump over the "T".
- The text "A TRI-STAR RELEASE" appears on a black background after the end of the Tri-Star logo. The 1984 theme, which appears to be out of sync in this variant, plays over it as well. Seen originally on earlier films such as Supergirl, and Santa Claus: The Movie. In recent years, it has been removed or plastered over on TV airings and video releases. However, on the U.S.A. Home Video VHS and CED of Supergirl, the standard version is used.
- On 1991-1993 movie trailers and commercials, the words "TRI STAR" are in white over a black background with a little "Pegasus Over Pyramid" logo in the upper right next to "TRI", while the films themselves used the 1984 logo and the newly-formed TriStar Television did use this for their logo.
- There was a logo for Producers Sales Organization that began at the end of the Tri-Star logo.
- The beginning of Tri-Star Showcase has this logo edited, with the horse galloping. When it jumps over the "T", it fades to the preview of the movie.
- On a TV commercial for Places in the Heart, the pegasus outlining and company name appear bolder.
- On the VUDU print of Lock-Up, the 2011 StudioCanal logo plays, and after it ends cuts in the middle of the this logo when the Pegasus jumps over the "T".
- May 11, 1984 - September 20, 1991, January 29, 1993: Scrolling in the end credits would have the same exact logo, minus the purple triangle with the gold outline color. Above the logo has the phrase "A TRI-STAR RELEASE". Some films such as The Natural, Johnny Handsome, The Freshman, and Sniper, the "A TriStar (or Tri-Star) Release" phrase is below the logo.
- Flashpoint has "A TRI-STAR RELEASE" text on the right of the logo.
- The movie Sweet Dreams, being produced by HBO/Silver Screen Partners, has the text "Presented by HBO Pictures in association with Silver Screen Partners" above the Pegasus-over-Pyramid and the "A TRI-STAR RELEASE" text below. Made in U.S.A (produced by Hemdale) has the text "Released through Tri-Star Pictures".
- December 11, 1991- October 16, 1992: The closing variant of the still logo from the movie trailers and the 1991 TriStar Television logo, minus the "TELEVISION" rectangular box below "STAR" nor "PICTURES" below the triangle with the phrase "A TRISTAR RELEASE" minus the hyphen between the TriStar name seen above the logo. Sometimes, the rectangular box is seen below the logo, but it lacks the "TELEVISION" text inside it. Starting in late 1992, there is a new version with "RELEASED BY" above the logo and the rectangular box has a Sony Pictures Entertainment byline. This was seen on Wind and Candyman.
- A black screen with a copyright stamp is seen at the end of The True Story of Glory.
- On Avalon, a still of the movie logo is seen after the end credits and the Baltimore Pictures logo.
- A few Carolco films such as Narrow Margin, Jacob's Ladder and L.A. Story has no "Tri-Star Release" text; just the print logo.
FX/SFX: The wings growing on the horse, the forming of the "T", the text zooming out.
Cheesy Factor: The wings and mane were drawn and animated frame by frame, which explains why the wings appear suddenly; and the Pegasus doesn't look like it jumps over the gate-like "T", but still the logo looks very well done and is ahead of the others by approximately 10 years.
Music/Sounds: An orchestrated piece done by Dave Grusin. As the horse gallops into view, three low French horn notes play and they repeat. When the Pegasus flies over the "T", more enlightening trumpets play and are combined with the trombone. For the logo formation, a loud trumpet solo is played. Strangely, on the 2004 Lionsgate DVD release of Universal Solider, the fanfare is barely audible, likely due to a printing error.
- On some films, such as Birdy, Runaway, Candyman, the U.S. theatrical & Netfilx prints, as well as one AMC airing of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Excluding home media prints, which the logo is removed), the 1999 VHS of The Muppets Take Manhattan (Others has the logo music) and recent prints of Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw, the logo is silent.
- On some prints of Rambo: First Blood Part II, the Carolco theme is heard (one TV airing of the movie had the high-tone version of the theme). This also appeared on a 1995 Australian television Broadcast of Iron Eagle II. The original domestic print had the standard TriStar fanfare, as this was the version used on HBO early on, starting in 1986.
- On The Principal, the music begins a few seconds before the logo fades in.
Availability: Common. Can be found on Tristar movies from the 80s and early 90s, particularly Red Heat, Total Recall, Night of the Creeps, Steel Magnolias, Rad, Hook, Glory, The Monster Squad, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, L.A. Story, the first two Look Who's Talking movies, Labyrinth, and Sniper, among others. This logo made its first appearance on Where the Boys Are '84 as TriStar's first released film and then on The Natural, TriStar's first produced film and officially ended with Cliffhanger. Strangely, this logo replaces the 1993 logo on ABC Family's print of Matilda. The trailer logo is rare and seen on previews of TriStar films from 1991-1993, such as Bugsy, Candyman, Sniper, Cliffhanger, and Sleepless in Seattle (though the last film uses the next logo on the main feature). Many releases of Carolco productions remove this logo, but it's preserved on some films such as DeepStar Six, Universal Solder, Basic Instinct, and streaming prints and the 1998 Widescreen LaserDisc release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, as well the U.K Blu-Ray release of Rambo III. This plasters the 1st Carolco logo on recent releases of films like Angel Heart and Extreme Prejudice, and the 2nd logo on Rambo: First Blood Part II (sometimes with the Carolco jingle). Also seen on The Kiss (including the Canadian Astral Video VHS), and on the original MGM/UA Home Video VHS release of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, a Cannon film released by TriStar originally (the current DVD version has it replaced with the 2001 MGM lion, although it was retained on the Chinese bootleg Blu-ray of this film with Cannon jingle intact). The HBO VHS release of Places in the Heart remove this logo, while it is retained on the DVD release. This logo was also retained on Paramount's official YouTube print of Ironweed since it uses the same master found on the Olive Films DVD and Blu-ray. Strangely, on a couple episodes of the TV series Werewolf, this was used in place of the TriStar Television logo and was even retained on Chiller reruns.
Scare Factor: None to minimal, due to the sudden loud music at the end of the logo. This logo has become a memorable one and a favorite of many.
(June 25, 1993-August 28, 2015)
Nicknames :"'90s Pegasus", "Ultra Majestic Pegasus", "The TriStar Pegasus II"
Logo: We start out on a black background. Then we see a part of the evening, which slowly fades in and brightens up to reveal a dark background with dark cumulonimbus clouds with a layer of fog on the bottom. A white flash of light at the bottom, that starts to glow and gets bright as it almost fills the screen. A Pegasus appears from far distance spreads its wings out and takes a few steps towards the viewer, causing the fog to flow as the flash dims away slowly. "TRISTAR" in a light shiny gold chiseled bold font slowly fades in above it, on top of the screen with the letters "T" and "S" in a bigger font that the other letters. The Pegasus stops when its wings are fully spread out and the "TRISTAR" text fully appears. The text slowly shines as the fog still flows.
Trivia: This logo was animated by Intralink Film Graphic Design. The footage of the white stallion was shot in a hangar at the Santa Monica Airport. The wings were done by combining real feathers and digitized computing and were merged with the white stallion's image via computer morphing. The footage of the cloud background was shot from the Haleakala Crater on Maui.
- June 25, 1993-March 12, 1999: (Bylineless)
- December 15, 1995-Febuary 21, 2014: "a SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT company" (first seen on Jumanji. However, some post-1995 films continued to use the bylineless version until 1999. In 2012, the byline appears smaller and a bit darker, but slighty of centered, like the 1996 Columbia Pictures logo; last used on Pompeii. However, Moms' Night Out and When the Game Stands Tall still used the SPE byline in tandem until August 2015.)
- April 16, 2014-:"a Sony Company" (seen on Heaven is for Real, Ricki and the Flash, War Room (The last film to use this logo). In this version, the Sony Pictures Entertainment logo transitions to this logo)
- During this logo's early years, on movie trailers and commercials, when the Pegasus is spreading out its wings, the "TRISTAR" text is fully transparent, rather than fading in as in the regular version. Also, it doesn't shine.
- On Sleepless in Seattle (the first movie to use this logo), the flash dims away quickly and early before the Pegasus spreads out its wings and the "TRISTAR" text appears.
- On early VHS releases, the 1993 music replaced the 1984 music
- In 1998, the logo became enhanced by making the clouds a lighter gold color.
- In 2007, starting with Daddy Day Camp, the logo was given a "enhanced" look, with the SPE byline in gold to match the cloud's color.
- From 2012-February 2014, the SPE byline is smaller and is a bit darker, but not centered.
- A very early trailer and commercial logo has a black background with the stacked words "TRI STAR" and next to it is the box with the Pegasus in front of the cloud. This can be seen on the trailer for Rudy.
- Since 2014 (Beginning with Heaven is for Real), the Sony logo now transitions to this logo.
- It's the same current print logo that appeared on movie trailers during its early years, and looking similar to the last print logo. The Pegasus is placed inside a box, with a cloud background overlapping the top. Its wings overlap both ends of the box. Below the logo is the phrase "A TRISTAR RELEASE", or "RELEASED BY" above the logo with the SPE byline underneath. Sometimes, "A TRISTAR RELEASE " isn't there. Sometimes, it's bylineless.
- One early variant of such featured the boxed Pegasus logo at center, with "TRISTAR PICTURES" (in Bank Gothic MD BT) and the SPE byline below one another. This particular closing variant happened to appear at the end of the features Chaplin and Cliffhanger, which both used the old logo at the beginning, although the latter was the last movie to use the old logo at the beginning; though this may be unsurprising, since both Columbia and TriStar first introduced their new logos for their home video and television divisions a year earlier in 1992. The movie Wilder Napalm has the "A TriStar Release" text above.
- On films like The Call and Heaven is for Real, the Pegasus' wings have the shadows removed.
- Starting with Heaven is for Real, "A TRISTAR PICTURES RELEASE" is now seen underneath with the byline: "a Sony Company".
Cheesy Factor: After the flash dims away, you can see parts of "TRISTAR" visible on the top of the middle cloud before the chiseled version of the said text fades in.
FX/SFX: The light beam forming the Pegasus, the fog flowing, the text fading in and shining.
Music/Sounds: A more majestic remix of the first jingle, composed by Bill Johnson. Starting with the film Godzilla released in May 20, 1998, the fanfare has been rearranged.
- Early films with this feature this logo with the original 1984 music, such as Sleepless in Seattle, Jury Duty and Magic in the Water.
- On some films like Jerry Maguire, this logo is completely silent.
- On certain films like Philadelphia, and Jumanji, there's music from any music soundtrack playing over the logo.
- On Little Secrets, the logo is high pitched.
Availability: Common. It's seen on all current TriStar releases since Sleepless in Seattle and last seen on War Room. Strangely, this logo is seen on 1997 VHS prints of The Craft, Multiplicity and Alaska instead of the Columbia TriStar Home Video logo (some prints do have the CTHV logo instead). The Live Home Video releases of Wagons East! preserve this logo.
Scare Factor: None. This logo is beautiful over the years, including the music and mind-blowing CGI.
(September 30, 2015-)
Nicknames: The TriStar Pegasus lll", "Ultra Majestic Pegasus II", "CGI Pegasus", "Christian Pegasus"
Logo: We see the clouds of the previous logo, only this time, more improved. Then the clouds brighten and turn into full daylight. Then, we see a pegasus run towards us. He stands up in his hind legs and rises his wings. Once he has done this, the TRISTAR text from the previous logo (only more golden) fades in, then the byline "a Sony Company" fades in after that.
Trivia: This time, this logo was animated at JAMM VFX, Santa Monica, California. Sony commissioned the updated logo to take advantage of new technologies such as 4K and IMAX 3D.
FX/SFX: All great CGI by JAMM VFX.
Music/Sounds: Same as the previous logo.
Availabilty: Brand new. First seen on the IMAX trailer for The Walk and will be seen on future films.
Scare Factor: None to low, this is a great logo!