Background: Universal Pictures was originally formed on June 8, 1912 by Carl Laemmle, a German-Jewish immigrant who settled in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he managed a clothing store. It is the second oldest studio in Hollywood (beaten by one month by Paramount Pictures). The word "Universal" means "Omnipresent". In 1915, he opened Universal Studios. In 1946, Universal merged with International Pictures, headed by Leo Spitz and William Goetz. This team ran Universal-International, while Nate Blumberg and J. Cheever Cowdin remained at the helm of Universal Pictures, the parent company. In late 1951, Universal-International was acquired by Decca Records. In 1962, Music Corporation of America (MCA) purchased Decca Records and with it, Universal-International Pictures, leaving Milton Rackmil and Edward Muhl in charge, while Dr. Jules Stein (Board Chairman) and Lew Wasserman (President) guiding MCA. As a result of a consent decree with the justice department, MCA divested itself of its talent agency business. In 1990, MCA/Universal was acquired by Panasonic Corporation and later sold to Seagram and Sons in 1995. On December 9, 1996, MCA was reincorporated and renamed as "Universal Studios". In December 2000, French company Vivendi acquired Universal Studios from Seagram and Sons and formed Vivendi Universal Entertainment. On May 11, 2004, it was part-owned by Vivendi SA (20%) and General Electric (80%) and became a subsidiary of NBC Universal, Inc. On January 26, 2011, Vivendi S.A. sold the remaining 20% of NBC Universal to GE until January 28, when Comcast Corporation acquired a 51% controlling interest of the renamed NBCUniversal, LLC, and the remaining stock (49%) from GE on March 19, 2013.
(July 22, 1914-1919)
Nicknames: "Trans-Atlantic Globe", "Saturn Globe", "Trans-Atlantic Saturn Globe"
Logo: We see a circle with "UNIVERSAL" written above and "FILMS" written below. Inside the circle is some really small text that says "TRADE MARK". A Saturn-like ring surrounds the circle, which reads "THE TRANS-ATLANTIC FILM CO. LTD".(Universal's British distributor at the time).
Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the movie.
Availability: Ultra rare. Most of their silent films of this time were destroyed, while some went into public domain and have recreated titles replacing the Universal references. A few silent films however, have turned up with their original credits and this logo intact, so look hard for this one. It last appeared on a silent film aired on TCM's Silent Sunday Nights. However, it can be found on YouTube, on the film By the Sun's Rays.
Scare Factor: None, unless you're crept out by silent films.
Nickname: "Saturn Globe II", "The Almost Invisible Globe II", "Cheesy Globe I"
Logo: A sepia rotating model globe with "Universal Films" on a space background with "Made in USA" logo on two bottom corners.
FX/SFX: Just the globe rotating at a fast pace.
Cheesy Factor: Its almost unreadable to some films.
Availability: So far, this is known to appear on The Hedge Between.
Scare Factor: None to Low, unless you're not expecting this logo to show up.
(August 23, 1920-January 11, 1922)
Nickname: "Saturn Globe III"
Logo: We see a checkered background with a Saturn-like globe with the words "UNIVERSAL FILMS" on it. "UNIVERSAL" is shown above the globe in a stencil-like font. "FILM MANUFACTURING COMPANY", "PACIFIC COAST STUDIOS", and "Universal City, Cal." are shown below, in different fonts (and the first line in an upward arc).
Cheesy Factor: It looks like a print logo.
Availability: Ultra rare. It appears on silent films on TCM's Silent Sunday Nights.
Scare Factor: None.
(January 18, 1925, March 29, 1925)
Nicknames: "Carl Laemmle Globe", "The Almost Invisible Globe II", "Cheesy Globe II", "Eerie Organ Face", "Creepy Carl Laemmle"
Logo: On a dark cloudy background, we see a globe slowly rotating as a smiling Carl Laemmle can be seen within the middle. Below are the words "Carl Laemmle" in a script font and "P R E S E N T S" below it.
Variant: On a black background, we see a globe on the top left with Carl Laemmle smiling in the middle whilst the globe is rotating at a normal pace. On the bottom right hand corner we see "Carl Laemmle" in a script font like the normal logo and says "Presents" below it.
Closing Variant (Smouldering Fires): On a black background it says "It's a Universal Picture", with "Universal" in a cursive font.
FX/SFX: The globe rotating.
Cheesy Factor: The globe is barely visible, mostly due to the very grainy film quality and Carl Laemmle's face over it.
Music/Sounds: An organ theme for the normal logo whilst for the variant it has a descending orchestra which could be an opening to the movie. On both prints of the film it would be normally silent like the original film.
Availability: Like most early Universal logos, extremely rare. Can be seen on the silent film Smouldering Fires (1925), and the variant can be seen on another silent film Head Winds.
Scare Factor: Low to medium, bordering on high for both logos. It depends on what you think about the darkness of the logo, Carl smiling, and how old it is along with the scratches of the grain. It's pretty much harmless, however.
(September 2, 1923-September 6, 1925)
Nicknames: "Saturn Globe IV", "Cheesy Globe III" "Airplane Passing Globe", "Biplane"
Logo: Against some dark clouds, we see a biplane flying around a rotating globe counterclockwise, leaving a trail of smoke behind it, which form the words "UNIVERSAL PICTURES".
Variant: A more zoomed out version in a sepia tone color was used sometimes.
FX/SFX: The plane rotating around the globe, the forming of the name.
Cheesy Factor: Apart from the facts that Madagascar is three times larger than in real life, Indonesia is right above Australia and Japan and the Philippines are missing. Also, the earth is spinning to the left instead of to the right and animation is choppy. Very cheesy by today's standards, but good for its time.
Music/Sounds: None. In the left video, we hear white noise.
Availability: Ultra rare. It currently appears on some 1920's Universal films on TCM's Silent Sunday Nights. It has been seen on The Cat and The Canary.
Scare Factor: None to low. It may surprise you the first time you see it. The creepy cloud background and cheesy effects may make you uncomfortable, but it's mostly a harmless logo.
(September 9, 1927-September 17, 1936)
Nicknames: "Airplane Passing Globe II", "Biplane II", "Cheesy Globe IV" "Golden Age Globe"
Logo: On a cloud-like background, an earth globe rotates. No clouds are visible on the globe. As the globe rotates, a biplane flies around it, with "A UNIVERSAL PICTURE" being wiped in diagonally as the biplane passes the globe.
- The position of the globe varies per movie.
- The logo was cropped to 1.85 for Universal's 75th Anniversary logo in 1990. However, full screen prints of the logo retains the full aspect ratio.
- The words "THE END" are seen superimposed over the globe and the sky is darker. Then, seconds later, "IT'S A UNIVERSAL PICTURE" fades in.
- Another closing variant exists where the globe is at the bottom right corner rotating. On the top it says "The End" in a cursive font. "It's a Universal Picture" (also in cursive) is superimposed over the globe. A ray of light also shines down on the globe. Sometimes the text is on the bottom left corner.
FX/SFX: The biplane, wiping on of letters, and the globe.
Cheesy Factor: This logo is a very obvious product of the 1920's, as everything is a cheesy model. Still, it looked nice for the time.
Music/Sounds: Just the sound of the biplane's engine.
Availability: Rare. Can be seen on films of this era. This logo can sometimes be seen after the current Universal logos on certain movies. The earlier DVD releases of Frankenstein and Dracula have plastered this with the B&W variation of the 1997 logo, while the later VHS releases of the films plaster this with the B&W variation of the 1963 logo. Early Betamax and VHS releases of the films do not use a logo at all, though it can be seen on the alternate opening for the former on its 2005 Special Edition DVD and the 2012 DVD & Blu-ray of the two aforementioned titles. This is also seen on Bride of Frankenstein, including its 1984 MCA Home Video VHS release. It appears on TCM's print and the Criterion and Universal DVD releases of My Man Godfrey, although several public domain prints of the film have the logo removed entirely. It did make appearances on Land of the Dead and Dead Silent.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The sounds of the biplane might make you uneasy.
(May 11, 1936-December 15, 1947)
Nicknames: "The Art-Deco Globe", "Rotating Letters II"
Logo: A stylized glass globe is seen, tilted at an angle. Around the globe, the words "A UNIVERSAL PICTURE" rotate, in a stylized 1930s font. Stylized five-point stars (ala the stars on the Paramount logo) surround the globe.
- On color releases, the logo is tinted blue.
- On the colorized versions of the Universal Sherlock Holmes movies, the letters are gold colored.
- Like the previous logo, this logo was also cropped to 1.85 for Universal's 75th anniversary logo in 1990. The full screen version retains the full aspect ratio.
Closing Variant: Superimposed on a special background or in the last seconds of a movie, we see the words "The End" with lettering that varies on the movie along with the text "A Universal Picture" or "A Universal Release".
FX/SFX: The stars, globe, and rotating letters.
Cheesy Factor: This has to be cheesier than the previous one. The stars honestly look like they're hung from a mobile or something. And the glass globe and letters look weird. It did look okay for its time, though, and they did get better later on.
Music/Sounds: Usually the beginning of the movie's opening theme. However, a proud, bombastic orchestral fanfare (composed by Jimmy McHugh) is sometimes used, and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid uses a remix of the tune. It sounds suspiciously like the 20th Century Fox fanfare (or vice versa).
Availability: Can be seen on Universal releases of the era. The last regular appearance of this logo was on the Woody Woodpecker cartoon "Woody the Giant Killer".
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The cheesiness may get to some.
(August 28, 1946-May 8, 1964)
Nicknames: "Rotating ('40s) Globe", "50s Globe"
Logo: On a space background, a model globe (harkening back to the 2nd logo; still no clouds though), rotates. Superimposed onto the globe are the words "Universal International" (in white for B&W films or yellow-orange for color films) in a italic Roman font with "U" and "I" bigger than the rest of the letters, symbolizing Universal's merger with International Pictures.
Byline: Later on, the credit "EDWARD MUHL, IN CHARGE OF PRODUCTION" would appear in the lower-left corner.
Closing Variant: Same as above, but the text is "A Universal-International Picture".
FX/SFX: The rotating globe.
Cheesy Factor: Well, they got sane with this one. Relatively minimal on the cheesy scale, though you can tell it's a model globe.
Music/Sounds: The opening of the movie's theme. However, the Christmas bells are sometimes used. Notable instances include The Egg and I and The Naked City.
Availability: Again, seen on Universal International releases of the period. Sometimes, the 11th logo would precede it on later releases of movies from the period (like the DVD release of To Kill a Mockingbird).
Scare Factor: None to minimal.
(June 26, 1963-May 18, 1990, October 21, 2016)
Nicknames: "Zooming Globe", "Gaseous Globe", "Famous Globe", "MCA Globe", "Zooming MCA Globe", "Classic Globe"
Logo: We zoom through space, and a pair of Van Allen radiation belts start to form. The rotating earth globe appears in the distance, and as we get closer to it, the word "UNIVERSAL", in a bold, planetary font (named Futura Bold), fades in close-up to us and zooms out to a comfortable distance. When the word and the globe are in position, the byline "AN MCA COMPANY", fades in below it, in a bold yellow font (named Eurostile Bold). Two Van Allen belts surround the globe.
Trivia: The logo was animated and designed by Universal Title and Optical (commonly known as "Universal Title"), who was also responsible for the animation for the Universal Television logos, and handled all of the titles and optical effects for all Universal films and television series until 1990.
Variants: Several renditions of this logo have been discovered. This is going to get complicated, so let's explain this simply. There are many main variations of this logo:
- 1963-1973: "A UNIVERSAL PICTURE/RELEASE", with the "UNIVERSAL" text sandwiched between "A" and "PICTURE" or "RELEASE".
- "PRESENTS" is underneath the "UNIVERSAL" text. Sometimes, "UNIVERSAL PRESENTS" starts blurred, but becomes clearer as the globe zooms in fast. This variant is seen on movies like Secret Ceremony and The Killers (1964).
- 1971-1990: The byline "AN MCA COMPANY", in a yellow Eurostile Bold font, appearing below the "UNIVERSAL" text.
- "Scope": Shown in a wide ratio of 2.20:1 or 2.35:1 widescreen, the globe appears to zoom in rather slowly, and the "UNIVERSAL" text is blurred when it fades in, becoming clearer as it zooms out. The logo is much wider than usual, to accommodate the extra space. This is seen on films shot in this format such as Halloween II and III, The Thing, Scarface, The Dark Crystal, The Last Starfighter, They Live and Jaws. It also had a bylineless variant of its own, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969).
- "Flat": Presented in 1.37:1 academy or 1:85:1 "matted" widescreen, the logo appears to move somewhat faster than the widescreen version. The "UNIVERSAL" text is not blurred, and simply fades in. Seen on films such as An American Werewolf in London, Videodrome, Cat People (1982), Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Back to the Future I and II, Brazil, and Somewhere in Time. In a variant, used in tandem with the normal version, "A UNIVERSAL PICTURE" starts blurred, but becomes clearer, along with the Edward Muhl byline. The globe zooms in faster in this variant, used on movies like Shenandoah, Send Me No Flowers, Charade and Father Goose. A B&W version of this variant can also be seen on Kitten with a Whip.
- Off-center: Only known to exist on old video prints of Charade, the logo is slightly off-center, due to a sloppy job reformatting the aspect ratio of 1:85.1 into 4:3.
- A credit for Edward Muhl, the then-head of Universal, can be seen on the lower-left of the first movies to feature this logo.
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestial had this logo in reverse, so we go from the world to outer space.
- The 1971-1990 version is bylineless on some films.
- The 1971-1990 version, but with "PRESENTS" underneath the byline in a smaller font. This was seen on American Graffti.
- The widescreen version of Jaws 3-D has the MCA byline in a more extended font.
- There is an end-title variation that contains the word "RELEASE" below the MCA byline. This was used to plaster the Paramount logo on 1980s reissue prints of Alfred Hitchcock films owned by Hitchcock himself (including Rear Window and 1956's The Man Who Knew Too Much).
- A black-and-white version was seen at the beginning of the 1981 MCA Videocassette, Inc. VHS release of Scarface (1932), the 1980 VHS release of Psycho, and the 1965 unsold TV pilot Dark Intruder, which got a theatrical release.
- There is another scope variant where the 1.85 version is cropped to 2.35. This can be found on the on Coupe De Ville, Bird on a Wire and Jaws The Revenge. However, the GoodTimes DVD of the latter uses the regular scope variant.
- On most movies from 1989 and 1990, the MCA byline has more of a red orange tone to it. The Van Allen belts also have a more purple tone to them This can be found on Parenthood, Uncle Buck, Field of Dreams, Born on the Fourth of July (the VHS release), Opportunity Knocks, Coupe De Ville (which was a co-production with Morgan Creek), Bird on a Wire and the theatrical trailers for Back to the Future Part III and Problem Child (both of which used the 75th Anniversary variant of the 11th logo on the actual movies). However some movies from 1989 such as Back to the Future Part II, The Dream Team and K-9 would still use the original variant of the MCA byline. A clip of this variant was used for the Universal 75th Anniversary logo, which also used clips from logos 6 and 7.
- At the end of some films from the era. We see a blue background with the then current print logo inside a yellow circle with "UNIVERSAL STUDIOS" written under it. Around the yellow circle is a red ring with the following inside, "THE ENTERTAINMENT CENTER OF THE WORLD". Above & below it is the following, "PRODUCED AT" above it & "CALIFORNIA, U.S.A" below it. It then fades to a slide with a red bus outside of a set in Universal Studios in Hollywood. On the top left corner of the screen is the following text in yellow, "When in Hollywood Visit Universal Studios".
- A variant of this had "(Ask for Babs)" fade in under the text. This a reference to the 1978 comedy: National Lampoon's Animal House were one of characters named Barbara "Babs" Jenson becoming a tour guide at Universal Studios. Animal House director John Landis would use this variant at the end of all the movies he did for Universal. Such examples include The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf In London (the theatrical release only. All home video releases and TV broadcasts edit it out with the exception of a 2001 VHS release) Into The Night, and Amazon Women On The Moon. If you did ask for "Babs", you would of likely gotten a discount or free entry to Universal Studios according to this source. In 1989, Universal announced that they would no longer be giving out free entry's or discounts.
- Another variant also lacked the "PRODUCED AT" & "CALIFORNIA U.S.A" text.
FX/SFX: The rotating globe zooming-in, the Van Allen belts forming, and the "UNIVERSAL" text zooming out. This was very advanced for its time, and its longevity is amazing, especially during the '80s, when computerized logos were making their debut.
Music/Sounds: Usually it did not have music, but it did occasionally have the opening theme of the movie. Such memorable instances include Father Goose (composed by Nelson Riddle), The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Dark Crystal, and The Night Walker (both composed by Vic Mizzy). The opening tag from the latter film was also heard in abridged form on The World of Abbott and Costello. The 1972 feature length pilot of the TV series Emergency! used a dramatic, drum-driven fanfare based upon the series' theme.
- On the Goodtimes DVD of Earthquake, the 1963 scope logo with "PRESENTS" underneath uses the fanfare from the Cinema International Corporation logo! This appears before the standard version.
- On the U.S DVDs of the Battlestar Galactica movie (which is really the pilot episode "Saga of a Star World" released as a theatrical film in Europe), the 1963 logo is heard with CIC fanfare.
- On the DVS VHS's of Back to the Future and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, a female narrator describes the logo saying "Now, the planet Earth spins in a black star-sprinkled sky. Dusty blue rings like spotlight beams focus on it with a golden word. Universal. An MCA Company." In this case, it's described by Carol Brooks on the Back to the Future DVS VHS and a young female narrator on the E.T. DVS VHS. On the DVS VHS of The Land Before Time, Chloe Leaman describes the logo except the word "Now" is omitted from the description.
Availability: It's common as this was never plastered over, except the 20th Anniversary version of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial plasters this with the E.T 20th Anniversary variant of the 1997 Universal logo, but is still seen on the original version of said film with the 1988 and 1996 VHS releases, the theatrical DVD and Blu-Ray, and HBO and Cinemax airings. This was used for a total of 27 years, the second longest-used logo since the classic era, coming after the 1985-2014 Amblin Entertainment logo, with 29 years of use. (Ironically, Universal distributes a lot of Amblin's films.) It debuted on King Kong vs. Godzilla and made its last regular appearance on Bird on a Wire. The "PRESENTS" variation of the logo is seen on Silent Running and Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, followed by the "a GERRY ANDERSON CENTURY 21 CINEMA PRODUCTION" logo. Strangely, on Airport, this logo is seen after the end credits with the opening P.A. track for the film playing over it (at least one VHS release had the logo and track at the start of the film); a similar occurrence appeared on The Thing (without any audio). The logo is also seen on the Don Bluth/George Lucas and Steven Spielberg productions An American Tail, The Land Before Time, and the Paul Newman comedy Slap Shot. A sped-up or cut-short version was seen on a few movie trailers from 1985-1990 (including those for all 3 Back to the Future films, the last of which actually uses the 10th logo), but most went without it. NOTE: This was not seen on the following films originally (though most current releases place the 11th or 12th logos on them):The Electric Horseman, 1941, The Blues Brothers, Torn Curtain, Family Plot, and Frenzy. The Emergency!version can be found only on the pilot episode, available as part of the season 1 DVD set. (The episode is not rerun as part of the series' syndication package.)
Scare Factor: None to low, the dark atmosphere and eerie text may unsettle some, but this is a very popular logo.
10th Logo (In-credit variant)
Logo: Just a text credit saying "UNIVERSAL presents" or "A Universal Picture" that is in the same font as the opening credits.
Music/Sounds: The opening theme of the film or none.
Availability: Seen at the start of Universal pictures throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, in place of the 8th logo, notably The Blues Brothers, The Thing, Airport, and Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers: Torn Curtain, Family Plot, and Frenzy. Some prints may place the 8th logo (following the 11th logo) in front of this text credit.
Scare Factor: None.
11th Logo (10th official logo)
(May 25, 1990-April 18, 1997, 2011)
Nicknames: "75th Anniversary", "Rotating Letters III", "MCA Globe II", "90s Globe", "90s MCA Globe", "75 Years of Universal", "75th Anniversary Globe"
Logo: A large "flash" appears as we view the far right side of the Universal globe, still cloudless and against the new detailed starfield background. We move down the globe as the flash dims away and see, in golden letters, the word "UNIVERSAL", in a brand new font (named Copperplate Gothic Bold), appears from behind the globe and circling it. We zoom out and the globe moves to center, as the word "UNIVERSAL" straightens itself out and takes its place across the globe. The byline "AN MCA COMPANY", in gold and in spaced-out letters to fit the width of "UNIVERSAL", appears below the logo.
Trivia: This logo was produced by The Chandler Group and Studio Productions (now known as Flip Your Lid Animation), who also created the 1994-2010 20th Century Fox logo and the 1986-2003 Paramount Pictures logo. The animation of the globe and the letters were shot with motion control at The Chandler Group. The background was the painting that was done by Eric Von Schmidt.
Early Variant: In 1990, Universal was celebrating its 75th Anniversary, and the initial version of this logo was different from the one used afterwards. It began with clips of logos 5, 6, and 8, and then segued into the then-current logo, as if it were a grand unveiling, or a passing of the torch. The end logo also had "75th ANNIVERSARY" on top of the logo, with "75" in the middle of "ANNIVERSARY", which is in spaced-out letters like the MCA byline, and written out in script with "th" flashing in next to "75". Movies that have this logo include Back to the Future Part III (first film to use this logo), Ghost Dad, Jetsons: The Movie, Problem Child, Mo' Better Blues, Darkman, Henry & June, Child's Play 2, Havana, Kindergarten Cop, Lionheart, King Ralph, The Hard Way, Career Opportunities and A Kiss Before Dying (the final film to use this variant of the logo). This was only used from May 25, 1990 to April 26, 1991. From May 24, 1991 to April 18, 1997, starting with the film Backdraft, the regular variant was used (although the trailers for it had the 75th Anniversary variant).
FX/SFX: The rotating globe and letters (which, contrary to popular assumption, are not CGI, but models filmed with motion control). The 75th Anniversary variant was done by Studio Productions (now known as Flip Your Lid Animation).
Music/Sounds: A majestic orchestral fanfare by James Horner. A French horn fanfare was played during the clips of the old logos during the 75th Anniversary logo; a sped-up version of this was later used as the 1991 UTV theme.
- On a VHS of Reach the Rock, the 1997 fanfare is heard, most likely due to sloppy editing.
- On the 1998 DVD of Darkman. The logo is low pitched.
Availability: It's easy to see, as this was on all Universal releases of the era such as Jurassic Park,Schindler's List, Happy Gilmore and Waterworld among others. It premiered on Back to the Future Part IIIand made its final appearance on McHale's Navy. The 75th Anniversary version can be seen on the aforementioned films above. Most prints of Mallrats (including premium network broadcasts and video releases) have this logo preceding the Gramercy Pictures logo. However, most recent prints such as the Blu-Ray release have this replaced with the Focus Features logo.
Scare Factor: None. This is a great logo.
12th Logo (11th official logo)
(May 23, 1997-February 24, 2012)
Nicknames: "CGI Globe", "The Glittering Globe", "The Shimmering Globe", "The Transparent Globe", "2000s Globe", "Rotating Letters IV"
Logo: On a black background, an arc slowly appears and brightens. The lights begin appearing below the arc and we see that this is another globe, looking over Europe. We move down as the lights appear all over Europe, and then Africa (which the Earth's continents now have the green, yellow, and red color design this time). As we begin to zoom out, the letters in the word "UNIVERSAL", in a similar font as the last logo but handsomely redone (this time, the text is still gold, but has the inner white part of the text rising out of the gold part), rotate to the front of the globe as the lights around the continents dim out. By this time, the globe is shining from the back. A small copyright appears at the bottom-right.
Trivia: The logo was introduced to coincide with the rebranding of "MCA, Inc." into "Universal Studios, Inc." on December 9, 1996. It was designed by Identica Partnership in London.
Variants: A treasure trove. Here are a few variants:
- There is a shorter version of this logo, beginning as the "UNIVERSAL" text slides in over the logo, with a shortened version of the fanfare. This is usually found at the end of documentaries produced for DVD by Universal Home Entertainment, with a web address for Universal's website.
- From 1999 to 2010 (Excluding some variations) the URL, "www.universalstudios.com", in an orangish color, fades in at the end.
- In 2005, the globe was graphically enhanced with a darker color and was rotating below the arc in the beginning.
- Another variant has a darker mood. Nicknamed "The Transparent Globe," the presentation is the same as usual... except the initial darkness of the globe is darker than usual (pay close attention to that). Then, after the word "UNIVERSAL" is rotated from behind, a darker,
thicker shadow suddenly pops out late after it locks in position, and the entire globe zooms out farther than its intended mark, and instead of slowing to a stop, it stops hard in its far-back position. The URL is in a Xerox Serif Wide-type font. The globe appears much further back in letterbox format. You can find this variant on the following films: 8 Mile, American Wedding,Seabiscuit, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and The Bourne Supremacy.
- The biggest variation came on November 21, 2001, when the studio celebrated the 20th anniversary of the most successful film of 1982, E.T the Extra-Terrestrial. It animates as normal until the very end, when the "UNIVERSAL" text fades out and the silhouette of E.T. and Elliott, on their bike, fly across the shining globe. Text appears on the bottom, "UNIVERSAL STUDIOS CELEBRATES E.T.THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY" with "E.T." in its own movie logo font. This was appeared on films Spy Game (2001) (the first film to use it), A Beautiful Mind (2001), How High (2001), Brotherhood of the Wolf (2002), Big Fat Liar (2002; Theatrical and Home Media releases only, TV airings plaster it with a normal version), Dragonfly (2002), 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002), Harrison's Flowers (2002), and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (2002 Special Edition; Theatrical, 2002 DVD/VHS and TV airings, but the 2005 DVD deletes it) (the last film to use this variant). As of The Scorpion King, the normal version has been reinstated.
- Starting in 2009, the URL has been replaced with a byline "A DIVISION OF NBC UNIVERSAL".
- On some films, such as Nanny McPhee Returns, it is bylineless.
- Since 2004 this logo was used on licensed games (due to the closure of Universal Interactive brand). It is entirely a still logo on a black background, usually in better quality than the movie counterpart, or had the shining, but never the full animation. Several games with the still logo used a white background. Sometimes, it replaced the Universal Interactive logo on earlier games like The Grinch.
Music/Sounds: Begins with a powerful, majestic horn fanfare, followed by two orchestra hits. Then, another horn fanfare, followed by two more hits. Then, a very majestic fanfare as the logo is completed. Composed by Jerry Goldsmith, who was the composer for the Carolco logo theme.
- For the E.T. variation, it was arranged by John Williams; there is only one horn fanfare/hits sequence, followed by the end fanfare. This then segues into the theme from E.T. as he and Elliott fly across the globe.
- When the E.T. logo was dropped on March 22, 2002, the music did not change back to the 1997 version until May 17, 2002. Instead, it's a re-orchestration of its fanfare, re-arranged by John Williams. Same melody, but like the E.T. logo, it is in a different key and sounds more "powerful".
- On some prints of Tremors II, the 1990 fanfare from the previous logo is heard, due to a plastering error. Syfy's airing has the correct fanfare.
Availability: Very common. This logo first appeared on The Lost World: Jurassic Park (although the trailers and TV spots for it had the previous logo) and made its final theatrical appearance on Wanderlust. Recently, it was seen on Universal's latest made-for-home media movie: An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars. This logo also precedes releases originally without this logo on video (and served as a de-facto home entertainment logo) and occasionally on cable channels. Also seen on new prints of The Blues Brothers, Tremors (replacing the 8th logo), and the 1999 DVD of The Last Starfighter, plastering the 8th and Lorimar logos. Also appeared on licensed games, for example, can be seen on Tale of Despereaux (white background) and American Tail games (black background).
Scare Factor: None. This logo isn't as popular or well-received with fans as the previous logo, but there's nothing scary about it.
13th Logo (12th official logo)
(March 2, 2012- )
Nicknames: "CGI Globe II", "100th Anniversary Globe", "Rotating Letters V", "Majestic Globe", "100 Years of Universal", "2010s Globe", "Comcast Globe","Comcastic Globe", "Centennial Globe"
Logo: On a black starry background, as the sun shines on the planet, the camera pans backwards across Europe and Africa. Then "UNIVERSAL" in white with golden bordering rises upward as the sun pans down, and light glows on the continents. Then the screen eases back to its familiar position. The continents glow as the globe revolves showing the Americas. The sun shines, leaving a glow behind the Earth. Then the byline that reads "A COMCAST COMPANY" fades in underneath. The "UNIVERSAL" name shines before fading out.
Trivia: The logo was designed by Weta Digital of New Zealand.
Early Variant: Just like as they did with their 1990 logo when the company celebrated their 75th Anniversary, Universal initially used a special variant of this logo on the year they celebrated their centennial milestone. In a similar manner the 75th Anniversary variant of the 1990 logo was revealed, the logo acts out as another "grand unveiling" or "passing of the torch," as it begins with clips of the previous logos of the company's history, beginning with the 5th logo and finishing with the previous logo; in which the current logo makes its majestic debut shortly afterwards. The 100th Anniversary variant of the logo also featured the words, "100TH ANNIVERSARY" in gold, which are seen rotating in under "UNIVERSAL" at the same time. The logo w/ montage is only seen on the internet as a promotion video for their 100th year, as most films released so far only have just the logo.
FX/SFX: All brilliant CGI, and is reminiscent of the 1990 & 1997 logos.
Music/Sounds: The previous logo's fanfare, originally composed by Jerry Goldsmith, in a powerful new re-orchestration by Brian Tyler, accompanied by "a choir, new string parts, and drum cadence utilizing world percussion instruments", according to the Hollywood Reporter. On the 100th Anniversary logo variant, in the logo montage, "One Last Wish" from Casper is used as a fanfare.
- Sometimes, the opening theme or the opening song plays over it.
- On Disney Channel's airing of Big Fat Liar, the 1997 music is heard with this logo, due to sloppy plastering.
- On the 2012 Blu-Ray of Vertigo, it uses the music from the 10th logo.
- On both Pitch Perfect movies, an a-capella version of the fanfare is sung by a group of a-capella singers.
- Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping features a vaguely EDM-sounding remix of the theme, albeit only halfway through the logo's animation.
Availability: Current. It was unveiled on January 10, 2012 and is currently available on Universal's YouTube page. The 100th anniversary logo made its theatrical debut with Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (although trailers and TV spots for it had the previous logo) and made its last appearance on Mama, released on January 18, 2013. Also seen on Battleship, The Bourne Legacy, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Dracula Untold, among others. This has plastered the 1997 logo on a recent airing of The Perfect Man on TBS. Also, a still version is seen on movie-licensed video games, such as Battleship. The version without the "100TH ANNIVERSARY" wording debuted on Identity Thief, released on February 8, 2013, although it previously appeared at the end of Universal's Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories at Universal Studios Florida and on trailers for movies released in 2013. It also appeared at the beginning of Central Intelligence.
Scare Factor: None. A worthy successor to the 1997 logo.
Copyright Stamps: Here is some information about the copyright stamps on the Universal Pictures films:
- 1925-1935: Copyright © by Universal Pictures Corporation.
- 1936-1937: Copyright © by Universal Productions, Inc.
- 1937-1966: Copyright © by Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
- 1966-1977: Copyright © by Universal Pictures.
- 1977-1998: Copyright © by Universal City Studios, Inc.
- 1999-Present: Copyright © by Universal Studios.