Cannon Films

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Cannon Films (also known as The Cannon Group, Inc. and Cannon Pictures) was a film studio that produced low-to medium-budget films from 1967 to 1993. The studio was formed by Dennis Friedland and Christopher C. Dewey on October 23, 1967. In 1979, Cannon was sold to Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who had produced a few Israeli films such as Operation Thunderbolt (Mivtsa Yonatan, English translation: "Operation Jonathan") and the teen comedy Lemon Popsicle (Eis am Steil) before coming to the United States in 1979. During that year, they bought a controlling interest in Cannon Films and forged a business model of buying "bottom-barrel" scripts and putting them into production. In 1989, Cannon was acquired by Giancarlo Parretti and was renamed as Pathé Communications (this company was not connected with the French studio Pathé, although Parretti gave the company its name because he was going to purchase the latter studio, but was blocked by the French government). Parretti later acquired MGM/UA Communications Co. in 1990 and the two companies were merged to form "MGM-Pathé Communications Co.". Menahem Golan left the company to form a new studio, 21st Century Film Corporation. In 1993, Cannon was folded into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Most of the library of the American arm of Cannon Films is owned by MGM, who also owns home media and international television rights. Warner Bros. owns the North American theatrical and home media rights to their co-productions with Cannon, such as Cobra, Over the Top, The Hanoi Hilton, Bloodsport, Masters of the Universe, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (for which Warner Bros. also owns international home media rights). As of 2016, North American television rights to most of the Cannon library is owned by Paramount Pictures, having acquired the rights after being purchased by Viacom (now Paramount Global), who in turn, previously remained in charge of TV syndication for the Cannon library.

1st Logo (January 1971-1984)

Visuals: Against a black background, a white multi-lined hexagon consisting of a "C" and an arrow pointing to the right is wiped in. Then, the "C" turns blue and the arrow turns purple, and the hexagon becomes solid as well. It zooms out to the left, and the arrow splits off to the opposite side and leaves the text "THE CANNON GROUP, INCORPORATED" behind. Then, the "C" quickly meets up with the arrow and wipes the text away.


  • Sometimes, the arrow would remain white, or the hexagon would be completely dark blue.
  • A shorter version exists where the "C" merges from the split.
  • On trailers, the hexagon zooms out from the center of the screen and fades to a dark blue color, but with the lines still present. The hexagon splits open in the middle, revealing "COMING FROM CANNON FILMS", with "CANNON FILMS" in the corporate font. It then quickly closes.
  • On early films, the logo was longer, with the "C" moving to the bottom of the screen to make room for text in a heavily condensed Eurostile font reading "CHRISTOPHER C.DEWEY and DENNIS FRIEDLAND present".

Technique: Cel animation.

Audio: A very majestic and bombastic brass fanfare titled "Fanfare for an Ambassador", by Charles Williams. Otherwise, it's silent on some releases.

Audio Variant: One film uses the music from the 4th logo, due to a reverse plaster error.


  • It was seen on some Cannon films from the time frame, as most (including Northville Cemetery Massacre) had no logo or contained only a "The Cannon Group Presents" text notice. Appears on films such as The Happy Hooker, The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, The Alaska Wilderness Adventure, and Hot T-Shirts (the latter after the 1985 logo).
  • It may be seen on American theatrical prints (and possibly the Paragon Video Productions VHS) of the 1980 film Contamination, released in the United States as Alien Contamination.
  • The shorter variant can be seen on New Year's Evil.
  • The early variant can be seen on Fury on Wheels.

2nd Logo (September 12, 1980-March 20, 1987)

Visuals: An in-credit title card; we see the "C" and arrow from before, along with the text "THE CANNON GROUP (INC.) PRESENTS". The font, color, background and positioning of the logo depended on the film.


  • It's animated on The Barbarians. "THE CANNON GROUP INC." positions itself from the top of the screen, the C and arrow zooms out, and "presents" slides in.
  • On The Godsend, the text says "THE CANNON GROUP INCORPORATED PRESENTS".

Technique: A printed image made using traditional ink and paint. Cel animation for The Barbarians variant.

Audio: None or the opening theme.

Availability: Other than The Barbarians, this also appears on Treasure of the Four Crowns, Schizoid, The Seven Magnificent Gladiators, The Godsend, The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood, some prints of Runaway Train, and the international cut of Lifeforce (which is the most seen version).

3rd Logo (March 2, 1984-May 17, 1985)

Visuals: Against a black background, the C and arrow from before in blue come together in the center of the screen from both sides. As this happens, "THE CANNON GROUP, INC." in white appears below. The hexagon shines brightly, and after a while, a bright flash occurs, turning the hexagon a glowing white and quickly zooms out. A large ping appears in the middle, and it fades out.

Variant: On the CB Films release of The Assisi Underground, the words "UNA PELICULA" above, and "DISTRIBUIDA POR C.B.FILMS, S.A." abruptly appear, surrounding the main logo. It abruptly disappears when the flash is occured.

Technique: Backlit cel animation.

Audio: An eerie wailing sound, followed by a "whoosh" as the hexagon zooms back. Sometimes, it used the opening theme of the film.

Availability: Seen on Exterminator 2, Missing in Action, its prequel Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, and other films from the time frame usually preceded with an MGM logo. It first appeared on Over the Brooklyn Bridge and Sahara, and its last appearance was on Grace Quigley.

4th Logo (June 1, 1985-February 17, 1994)

Visuals: Just like the 1st and 3rd logos, the "C" and arrow, which now look more metallic, appear and meet in the center of the screen. "CANNON" in a bronzish color fades in below, and the hexagon shines. Then, the text fades out and the segments of the hexagon fly toward the screen one by one.


  • A short version exists, where the logo fades out instead of the hexagon pieces zooming in. This version was mainly seen on trailers, though it was also seen at the front of some films, such as Robotech: The Movie and Kickboxer.
  • One version had the "flying segment" animation playing in reverse, and when the logo is almost formed, it fades to black to make room for the text "THE CANNON GROUP presents" (or "presenteert" in original Dutch), with the opening theme playing over. This appeared at the beginning of the Dutch film The Assault.
  • A version with a silver hexagon also exists, which is seen on Invaders from Mars (1986 version).
  • On films released in France, after the usual animation, the words "CANNON France présente", with "France" in a script, zoom in upside down, then flip over. "CANNON" is in blue, "France" is in red, and "présente" is in white. The music cuts in a couple of seconds later in this variant.
  • On the original home video trailer for The Barbarians, there is a byline under the logo that says "Distributed by Media Home Entertainment Inc., a Heron Communications Inc. Company".

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A dramatic synth horn/drum tune with a synthesized "shining" sound (done with a preset on the Yamaha DX7 known as "E. PIANO 1") and a flourish produced by a string instrument of some sort. There are two different arrangements: an early version with a surround sound emphasis and a later monaural synth rendition. Both arrangments were composed by Alan Oldfield and Michael Linn.

Audio Variants:

  • The 1st jingle is adjusted for the short version, fading out before the last flourish.
  • A version with a voice-over saying "The Cannon Group presents a Golan-Globus production." exists. The voice is Don LaFontaine, who had provided the voiceover for many film trailers in the United States from the 1970s until his death in 2008.
  • On a Paramount Channel France broadcast of King Solomon's Mines and the French Blu-ray release of Runaway Train, there is a low-tone version which also exists.
  • On a Bulgarian release of Rescue Me (1992), the Cannon Video music is used.
  • The Cannon France variant has a pinging sound playing after the music.
  • Sometimes, it is silent or is accompanied by the film's opening theme.

Availability: Can be seen on several Cannon films from the time.

  • It debuted on Hot Chili.
  • A sped-up version was used as Cannon Video's logo in the UK between 1986 and 1988 such as the 1986 UK VHS release of Santa Claus: The Movie (1985).
  • Some TV prints of Cannon films may have the logo removed, such as TBS broadcasts of Invasion U.S.A. in the 1990s, ending with the 1990 Viacom "Wigga-Wigga" logo.
  • It also appears on the HBO/Cannon release of The Manhattan Project and the Media VHS release of Mannequin, both of them Gladden Entertainment productions distributed by 20th Century Fox domestically (the U.S. video rights presumably were retained by Cannon, the result of a lawsuit filed by Gladden after Cannon's takeover of Thorn EMI's assets; Thorn EMI had been a financial partner of Gladden's).
  • This is also retained on the 2012 Criterion Blu-ray release of Powaqqatsi.
  • The MGM/UA VHS release of The Naked Face, which originally didn't have a logo, also adds this at the start.

Legacy: This logo is just as well-known as the movies that it preceded.

5th Logo (1991?-1993)

Visuals: There is the hexagon from the previous logos, but it's still, colored white and above the text:


Variant: Another version has a smaller hexagon, a trademark symbol "TM" is seen on the right side of "CANNON", and the bottom now reads "P I C T U R E S I N C."

Technique: A printed image made using traditional ink and paint.

Audio: None.

Availability: It was seen on the final films produced and/or released by the studio.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.