Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


The Buena Vista distribution company was established in 1953 after Walt Disney broke off his distribution deal with RKO Radio Pictures, using a logo in some form until 1989. It is named after the street on which the Disney Studios reside. In 2007 after the release of The Game Plan, the company was renamed and rebranded as "Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures".

Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc.

1st Logo (November 10, 1953-July 10, 1981)

Visuals: On a blue/black gradient background, there is the text "DISTRIBUTED BY Buena Vista FILM DISTRIBUTION CO., INC." in pale blue, with "Buena Vista" in a weird signature-like logo font, and the other words in a font that looks like carved wood.


  • In 1960, starting with Pollyanna, the word "FILM" is removed.
  • This logo was redone in 1966, brightening up the background to a blue/white gradient and changing the letters to a turquoise color. Also, the font for the "DISTRIBUTED BY" and "DISTRIBUTION CO., INC." text would change into a more normal font. This variant was first used on Follow Me, Boys!.
  • A black and white variant of the 1966 version also exists. It is only seen on the 1932 Mickey Mouse shorts Touchdown Mickey and Mickey's Good Deed, both reissued in 1974.
  • A variation where the text reads "Buena Vista FILM DISTRIBUTION CO., INC. Presents" (with "Presents" in the same signature font) also exists. This was seen on the featurette Alaskan Sled Dog
  • On some late-1980s/early-1990s reissues of classic animated features, which had the 1985 Walt Disney Pictures logo tacked on at the beginning, the films' respective BV logos were placed at the end of the film, where they played silently. This phenomenon is intact on the 1990 Laserdisc release of Peter Pan (this also happened on early-90s Disney Channel airings), the 1992 VHS release of 101 Dalmatians, the 1999 VHS and 2003 DVD releases of The Rescuers, and a late-1980s print of the animated short Goofy and Wilbur.
  • On The Big Fisherman (a non-Disney film that BV distributed), the text is an in-credit notice placed at the end of the movie.
  • On the Blu-ray release of The Rescuers, the logo is longer due to having been plastered over the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo from an earlier reprint.

Technique: A still card produced on print.

Audio: Either a customized fanfare composed just for the movie, the beginning of the film's score, or none.

Audio Variants: However, there are a few recurring themes that go with this logo.

  • On reissues of the majority of the theatrical cartoon shorts, as well as Son of Flubber, a horn stinger, composed by George Bruns, is heard.
  • On several films, such as Darby O'Gill and the Little People, Mysteries of the Deep, In Search of the Castaways, and very few cartoon reissues, an ominous-sounding melody, composed by Oliver Wallace, is heard. The music's pitch also varies.
  • On a few late-50s/early 60s featurettes, such as Noah's Ark, Goliath II and Gala Day at Disneyland, a majestic 20th Century Fox-esque horn fanfare, composed by George Bruns, is heard.
  • On Nikki, Wild Dog of the North, Big Red and The Legend of Lobo, a majestic 20th Century Fox-esque string/brass fanfare, composed by Oliver Wallace, is heard. On the two latter movies, the fanfare is re-orchestrated.
  • On The Absent-Minded Professor, Emil and the Detectives and Run, Appaloosa, Run, a suspenseful theme, composed by George Bruns, was heard.
  • On the Winnie the Pooh films (except Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore), an ascending stinger, composed by Buddy Baker, was heard. It was re-orchestrated on Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and television broadcasts of Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree.
  • On The Rescuers, there is a thunderclap over the logo, which is actually the Castle Thunder sound effect.

Availability: This appeared on many films the company distributed. It made its first appearance on The Living Desert.

  • This logo was cut on most video releases between 1985 and 1991 (with some exceptions, including the 1986 VHS release of Sleeping Beauty and the 1989 VHS release of Mary Poppins), but is now preserved on most Disney features from this era, and sometimes also replaces the still RKO logo used on earlier Disney films (such as Pinocchio, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Bambi, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Saludos Amigos, Melody Time, So Dear to my Heart and Song of the South).
  • The only place where this is accidentally plastered over is on Old Yeller, which has its custom Buena Vista music playing over the end of the Walt Disney Pictures logo.
  • The "Film Distribution" variant made surprise reappearances on the 1974 and 1981 reissues of Alice in Wonderland, despite Walt Disney himself denying the film a theatrical re-release during his lifetime, so it's possible said print with the "Film Distribution" variant was made in the 1950s, but withheld from release until 1974.
  • The 1960 variant made its last known appearances on The Love Bug and a reissue of Mr. Duck Steps Out, both from 1968.
  • The Rescuers version has also been restored on the 2011 DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film.
  • Mary Poppins has this logo on the following releases of the film: the 1980 Betamax and VHS releases, the 1989 VHS release, the 1998 and 2000 DVD releases, and the new 2013 DVD and Blu-ray releases. It was replaced with the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo on the 1997 VHS release and the 3rd, and 4th DVD releases, as well as all international DVD releases.
  • This was also the case on The Aristocats, with its logo restored beginning with the Blu-ray release; however, previous releases (such as the 1996 VHS release and the 2000 and 2008 DVD releases) had it replaced with the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo.
  • The 1987 VHS release of Lady and the Tramp had the logo blacked out (the fanfare can still be heard playing); however, it is restored on the 1998 VHS release of said film.
  • All other 1954-1984 titles have them intact.
  • Channel 4 UK airings of Pollyanna (1960), The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) also have this logo intact.
  • Sometimes, the logo is preceded by the Walt Disney Pictures logo.
  • This also appears on the 1992 and 1994 VHS releases of So Dear to my Heart, albeit silent.

Legacy: This logo is a favorite to older Disney fans.

2nd Logo (June 9, 1978-April 1979)

Visuals: The background is a set of red, yellow, and orange stripes on a blue background, and the text is modified to "A BuenaVista RELEASE" (Buena Vista is one word; the "B" and "V" are outlined) in Helvetica font.


Technique: A still card produced on print.

Audio: A customized fanfare composed for for the movie.

Availability: The only domestic releases to contain the logo were The Cat from Outer Space and Hot Lead and Cold Feet. It was also seen in international re-issues of older films such as Peter Pan.

  • While it is not present on the Anchor Bay releases of The Cat from Outer Space, the 2004 Disney release has it intact.

3rd Logo (June 27, 1979-December 14, 1984)

Visuals: The logo follows the same structure as the 1st logo, except the background is set to a blue/medium sea green gradient. The "Buena Vista" text is in a blocky font with a beveled texture.

Technique: A still card produced on print.

Audio: A customized fanfare composed for for the movie.

Availability: This logo was first used on The Apple Dumping Gang Rides Again and was later used on Footloose Fox. The last known appearance of this logo was Frankenweenie, released on December 14, 1984.

4th Logo (August 7, 1981)

Visuals: On a black background, a blurry object zooms out. When it fully sharpens, it is revealed to be the text "DISTRIBUTED BY BUENA VISTA DISTRIBUTION CO., INC." (in azure), with "BUENA VISTA" in a taller font. The words sparkle, and then fade out to be replaced by "WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS" (in white). The words then blur up again and zoom in towards the camera.

Variant: On the 1999 Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD and VHS release of the film, the Buena Vista screen is blacked out.

Technique: Traditional animation from Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Audio: "Pings" timed to go with the sparkling of the words, "whoosh" noises that sound during the zooms, and a thud noise just before the "WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS" logo zooms in.

Availability: Seen only on Condorman.

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

1st Logo (July 1-December 23, 1987)

Visuals: On a grainy blue background, the words "Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution" are seen in a Times New Roman font, arranged in a stacked position in the center of the screen.

Variant: On Good Morning, Vietnam, the words are positioned at the bottom of the screen and the word "Inc." is added to the end.

Technique: A still card produced on print.

Audio: None.

Availability: Seen on a few Touchstone films, such as Adventures in Babysitting, Stakeout, Can't Buy Me Love and Good Morning, Vietnam, all of which were released in 1987.

Legacy: This logo served as the basis for Buena Vista Home Video's 1990 international logo and all their logos from 1998 onwards.

2nd Logo (June 23, 1989)

Visuals On a turquoise gradient background, there is the text "DISTRIBUTED BY BUENA VISTA PICTURES DISTRIBUTION, INC." in a bubbly cartoon font and arranged in the same manner as the 1953 logo.

Technique: A still graphic made with traditional ink and paint.

Audio: None.

Availability: Only appeared on the Roger Rabbit short Tummy Trouble, which played in theaters with Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and appears as a special feature on the 2003 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Vista Series DVD.

3rd Logo (June 15, 1990)

Visuals: On a black background, a blue triangle rotates along the side of the screen until it's split into two triangles, all while a blue diamond grows below them, and they're positioned vertically. The end result is that top half of the screen is blue and the bottom half black, with a black triangle on the top half forming a stylized "A" and a blue triangle on the bottom half forming a "V". On the top half, the black letters "BUEN" slide in left from behind the "A", while the "V" slides left to reveal the blue letters "ISTA". After the "BUENA VISTA" text is revealed, the black words "DISTRIBUTED BY" and "PICTURES" wipe in on the top half, while the blue words "DISTRIBUTION CO., INC." wipe in on the bottom half. Finally, both "A"s in "BUENA VISTA" receive proper strikes through them.

Technique: Cel animation.

Audio: None.

Availability: Only seen on the Roger Rabbit short Roller Coaster Rabbit, which played in theaters with Dick Tracy. Like Tummy Trouble, it appeared as a special feature on the 2003 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Vista Series DVD.

Final Note

Beginning with the release of Never Cry Wolf in 1983, all films released by Disney under any of its banners would shift the Buena Vista text to an in-credit notice at the very end of the credits, although some films released after that year such as Frankenweenie (1984) and the first two Roger Rabbit shorts would use custom variants as mentioned above.

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