21st Century Film Corporation

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


21st Century Film Corporation (no relation to 20th Century Fox, 21st Century Entertainment, nor Fox's 21st Century Fox, Inc.), was founded in 1971 as 21st Century Distribution Corporation and was headed by Tom Ward and Art Schweitzer. The company specialized in low-budget horror and imported kung-fu/martial arts films until they acquired most of the Dimension Pictures library in 1981 and it went unnoticed for a few years until Giancarlo Paretti, the man who also purchased Cannon Films in 1989 and MGM/UA Communications Co. in 1990, acquired it and renamed it to its current name in 1987; the original incarnation went dormant in 1985. It was eventually handed over to Menahem Golan, co-owner of Cannon Films, after he left Cannon. Golan's goal was to release high-quality motion pictures to the American and worldwide film audience, but 21st Century only enjoyed small-scale success releasing low-budget films as well as remakes of Phantom of the Opera and Night of the Living Dead; also, in 1990, 21st Century bought the rights to Spider-Man and Captain America. The latter had only a limited release, and the former had its rights given to Sony. 21st Century had serious financial trouble and went bankrupt in 1996, with Epic Productions incorporating it into its library. The 21st Century library is owned primarily by MGM under the pre-1996 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment library through Orion Pictures which they owned since 1999, with some films owned by Paramount Pictures. There are a few exceptions; for example the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead and The Forbidden Dance (released on DVD as The Forbidden Dance is Lambada), are owned by Sony Pictures.

21st Century Distribution Corporation

Logo (Early 1980s-1985)

Visuals: Just a grainy picture of the text reading "21ST CENTURY DISTRIBUTION CORP." in a font similar to the Superman logo with a strange cyan/red color for the background, including the letters. "PRESENTS" fades in below in a conventional font.

Variant: There's a version that uses a red/white and yellow for the background and the text has a more intense red color.

Technique: A mix of camera-controlled animation and fading effects.

Audio: None. However, the U.S. print of Return of the Tiger (AKA: Da juan tao) features the first half of the Hong Kong Alpha Motion Picture Co. wave crash sound effects, due to a botched plastering job.

Availability: This logo can be seen on some early 1980s films such as Nightmare (Nightmare in a Damaged Brain), Lucio Fulci's Manhattan Baby, Nightmare City (City of the Walking Dead), The Slayer, Bloodtide, Return of the Tiger (AKA: Da juan tao) and The Deadly Spawn. The DVD release of the latter doesn't have this logo.

21st Century Film Corporation

Logo (1987-1996)

Visuals: On a marble or space background, the word "21ST" shaped in filmstrips, with the "21" on a silver diamond, flies at us, then the word "CENTURY" in silver moves to the "21ST". Then they both stop, and the byline "FILM CORPORATION" fades-in quickly. On the marble background, red lines appear behind the logo. The logo shines, then it flies away leaving only the background.

Variant: There's a version of the space background with red fog in the background. It might have been a film processing error. An in-credit variant also exists.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: An orchestra hit, followed by a 22-note synth theme with drumbeats. Whooshes are heard when the logo shines and when the logo flies away. Later, a new arrangement was introduced. The theme was composed by George S. Clinton. Sometimes, it is silent or has the film's opening theme.

Availability: The marble variant is preserved on the 1989 remake of The Phantom of the Opera, Deceit, Bad Jim, and the VHS of Masque of the Red Death (1989), among others. The space-variant is found on VHS releases of, among others, Bullseye!, Captain America (as well as the Shout! Factory Blu-Ray), Bloodmatch, and the Trimark DVD of Death Wish V: The Face of Death. It is unknown if any prints of Demons 6: De Profundis use either variant of this logo.

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