Castle Rock Entertainment

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum




Background

Castle Rock Entertainment is an American film production company founded in 1987 by actor and director Rob Reiner, Martin Shafer, Andy Scheinman, Glenn Padnick, and Alan Horn, with Columbia Pictures as their original strategic partner. Early in the studio's history, Nelson Entertainment co-financed their films until 1991, when New Line Cinema took over their duties (after Nelson was sold to New Line). On December 22, 1993, Castle Rock was acquired by Turner Broadcasting System and would become a part of Time Warner when the two along with New Line Cinema merged with them on October 10, 1996. In 1999, Warner Bros. Pictures gained distribution rights from Sony Pictures Entertainment/Columbia Pictures. Castle Rock's first release was Winter People in 1989, but no logo was used until When Harry Met Sally. The Castle Rock production label was a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment until numerous box office failures caused the folding of the label's physical production and public relations departments, back-office duties, and remaining employees into Warner Bros. in 2002. Several movies produced afterward used the Castle Rock name with special permission, specifically, movies made by Rob Reiner himself (i.e. LBJ and Shock And Awe).

The home media rights to the pre-1994 Castle Rock library (which was part of Nelson's library) were sold to Epic Productions, which incorporated it into its Gamma library, and then to PolyGram Filmed Entertainment; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired these rights in January 1999 after purchasing the pre-March 31, 1996 PolyGram library (including their back library) (exceptions are A Few Good Men, In the Line of Fire, and North, co-productions with Columbia Pictures that remained with the studio and The Spirit of '76, which Castle Rock produced and has a copyright holder alongside Black Diamond Productions, owned by Warner Bros.). Warner Bros. Television Studios does own the television rights to most Castle Rock films. The post-1994 library is owned by Warner Bros. (except for distribution rights of The Story of Us, The Last Days of Disco, and international rights to The Green Mile and The American President, all of which are owned by Universal Studios, the original distributor). Castle Rock retains the copyright to nearly all of its films. The company was revived on October 19, 2021, and will produce films in a first-look deal with Warner Bros.

1st Logo (July 14, 1989-July 29, 1994)


Visuals: There is a white light on a black background rotating counterclockwise, then the background fades to reveal some land and a lighthouse at sunrise. An orange sun rises from the bottom of the range, and the light reveals the plain white words "CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT" at the bottom of the screen. The sun becomes white, and the light disappears when the logo is finished.

Trivia:

  • Rob Reiner once said in an interview that the lighthouse was an allegory of the company's image: allowing creative talents to make their projects with more freedom than the major Hollywood studios would allow ("safe harbor", as he calls it). Indeed, Castle Rock's nurturing of such talent, including (most notably) Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, made it one of the most successful production companies of the 1990s.
  • The company name comes from the name of the real-life town in Maine that is the setting for several Stephen King stories (which he named after the rocky outcrop named "Castle Rock" in Lord of the Flies. Reiner himself named the company after the town after the success of his film Stand By Me, (which is based on King's novella, The Body).
  • According to Alan Horn, several ideas for the concept of the logo were tossed around, including five peas falling out of a pod or five elephants marching in a row. The basis for both those aforementioned concepts represents the five founders of the company. Eventually, they settled for the lighthouse as their logo as they liked the idea of their light shining out of the darkness.
  • It is worth mentioning while this is the first logo used for theatrical releases, Castle Rock debuted its lighthouse logo a year earlier for their television unit in a still logo with morning skies and blue water.

Variant: On several films, right before the light beams past the screen, the company name can be seen in the shadows.

Technique: Cel animation.

Audio: A soft piano sounder followed by a five-note fanfare with horns and bells. This tune was composed by Marc Shaiman.

Audio Variants:

  • Some films, such as some prints of Misery, Year of the Comet and Honeymoon in Vegas, have the end part of the theme a bit different.
  • On some films, the soundtrack of the film is used.
  • The Showtime documentary But Seriously... has the full logo with a shortened version of the theme, beginning on the last few piano notes before going into the five-note fanfare.

Availability: It usually appears on Castle Rock releases from the time-period until 1994.

  • However, this logo may or may not be present, depending on who currently owns the rights to the film and where it can be seen. Most commonly, an MGM logo will precede the Castle Rock logo; in other cases, the next logo may replace this one, and on occasion the Columbia Pictures logo seen on original prints may be kept as well. Current prints of City Slickers have the 2001 version of the 1986 MGM logo followed by the next logo, for instance.
  • This logo is preserved on Nelson Entertainment and New Line Home Video (distributed by Columbia TriStar Home Video) VHS releases of pre-1994 films, as well as VHS releases from MGM/UA Home Video and PolyGram Video (along with possibly early DVD releases by the company).
  • It is also preserved on the Columbia Pictures-owned A Few Good Men, In the Line of Fire and North.
  • It also appears on the Olive Films Blu-ray release of Sibling Rivalry (alongside the original Columbia logo, all preceded by the 2001 version of the 1986 MGM logo).
  • Other films that have this logo include When Harry Met Sally..., Lord of the Flies, Sibling Rivalry, Misery, Late for Dinner, Year of the Comet, Honeymoon in Vegas, Mr. Saturday Night, Amos and Andrew, Needful Things, Malice, City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold, Little Big League and Barcelona.
  • Strangely, it also appeared on a 1998 airing of The Shawshank Redemption on WIN Television in Australia, preceded by the 1992 Roadshow Television logo, with the transition effect. It's possible that this logo was used on the original 1994 theatrical run of said film and the next logo appeared when it was re-released in early 1995 during the Oscar season.
  • It also does not appear on The Spirit of '76; although Castle Rock owns the copyright (alongside Black Diamond Productions), the movie just has the Commercial Pictures logo.

2nd Logo (September 10, 1994-November 11, 2023)


Visuals: On a black background, a white light rotates counterclockwise, then the background fades to a blue and orange gradient sky with water to reveal a lighthouse and a house. As it zooms out, the white light turns from left to right while the plain light orange sun rises and sweeps around to reveal the words "CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT", in the same font as the previous logo and colored in white, below the lighthouse. The company name now zooms out from the bottom of the screen. The light disappears while the lighthouse and the company name stay on the logo.

Bylines: Below it, one of these five bylines fades in below the logo:

  • September 23, 1994-May 19, 1995: "A TURNER COMPANY" in a Helvetica font.
  • August 25, 1995-October 11, 1996: "A Turner Company" ("Turner" appears as the 1987 Turner Broadcasting logo and the rest of the text is in the same font as it.)
  • December 20, 1996-February 14, 1997, November 11, 2023: The logo is bylineless.
  • January 30, 1998-December 14, 2000: "A Time Warner Company" (in Bookman Old Style)
  • September 28, 2001-April 30, 2004: "An AOL Time Warner Company" (also in Bookman Old Style)
  • July 2, 2004-July 13, 2018: "A TimeWarner Company" ("TimeWarner" appears as the corporate logo; the rest of the text appears in FF Meta typeface).

Variants:

  • On Sleuth, the logo isn't animated.
  • An international version exists, which appears in closing credits. This is essentially just the print logo, with "Distributed by" above and "INTERNATIONAL" replacing "ENTERTAINMENT". It should be noted that the regular logo has no closing variant.
  • On Albert Brooks: Defending My Life, the logo fades out earlier to hide the byline (due to TimeWarner being replaced with WarnerMedia and later Warner Bros. Discovery in the years since its last appearance).

Technique: CGI and live-action because of the model of the lighthouse.

Audio: A rearranged version of the previous logo's fanfare (again by Marc Shaiman) that sounds more dramatic and powerful than before. Like before, music from any given soundtrack is also used. The first three films with this logo, The Shawshank Redemption, Before Sunrise and Dolores Claiborne respectively, used the opening theme of the movie; the regular theme was first used on Forget Paris.

Audio Variants:

  • On some current prints of 1989-94 films, this plasters the 1989 logo but keeps its original music, with one example being Crackle and AMC's prints of Misery (that also being seen when The Weather Channel aired the movie back in 2009). The 1989 theme was also used on Beyond Rangoon.
  • On the 2014 film And So It Goes, the fanfare is re-arranged to sound more powerful, minus the dings heard at the end.
  • Depending on the film, the fanfare may be tweaked largely, such as having a modified reverb effect.

Availability: Appears on almost every Castle Rock film since The Shawshank Redemption.

  • The early Turner variant appears on the original Columbia TriStar Home Video VHS releases of The Shawshank Redemption, Before Sunrise and Forget Paris.
  • The second Turner logo is slightly more common and appears on The American President, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, City Hall, Alaska and Striptease.
  • The bylineless version appears on Waiting for Guffman, Ghosts of Mississippi and Absolute Power.
    • It also appears on the Hamlet game for Windows.
  • The first Time Warner byline appears on Zero Effect, My Giant, Mickey Blue Eyes, Bait, Best in Show and Miss Congeniality.
    • It also appears on the original release of The Last Days of Disco and the original video releases, but current prints replace it and the Gramercy Pictures logo with the 2002 Focus Features logo (even the last part of the logo theme that goes into the credits is muted out).
  • The AOL Time Warner logo appears on Hearts in Atlantis, The Majestic, The Salton Sea, Two Weeks Notice, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Murder by Numbers, Kangaroo Jack and Envy (despite all Time Warner companies using the Time Warner byline at this point. The logo possibly had the AOL Time Warner byline due to the movie's release being delayed).
  • The second TimeWarner byline appears on almost all 2004-2017 films from the studio from Before Sunset to Shock and Awe, and also sometimes plasters the previous and older-bylined logos on newer prints.
    • However, The Polar Express (2004) uses the first Time Warner variant from 1998.
  • The international version appeared on some older films worldwide; more recent releases plaster it with newer New Line Cinema or Warner Bros. Pictures logos.
  • This logo also appears on the 2000 Warner Home Video NTSC DVD release of Absolute Power.
  • This logo also does not appear on Michael Clayton or Friends with Benefits, as only an in-credit notice appears instead.
  • The logo returned after five years on Albert Brooks: Defending My Life, released on November 11, 2023.