DreamWorks Pictures

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum



Background

DreamWorks Pictures (also known as "DreamWorks, LLC", "DreamWorks SKG" or "DreamWorks Studios") is an American film studio that was established in 1994. The company was formed as an ambitious attempt by media moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffery Katzenberg and David Geffen (hence SKG) to create a new Hollywood studio. In 1995, CJ Entertainment became an investor in the studio and began distributing and licensing select titles in Korea and Asia. The studio primarily released their own films domestically, although some films were co-released or released in some territories by another studio (most often Universal Pictures (who were their principal international distribution partner (through UIP) during their independent era) and Paramount Pictures and in some cases, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and even Buena Vista International for at least one film).

On December 11, 2005, the founders agreed to sell the studio to Viacom (later ViacomCBS, now Paramount Global) to become a division of Paramount Pictures. The sale was completed on February 1, 2006, but the studio became independent again in 2008.

On February 9, 2009, DreamWorks (ironically given one of its founders' history) struck a distribution deal with The Walt Disney Studios (through their Touchstone Pictures label), which was effective from 2011 to 2016. In 2012, DreamWorks signed a deal with Mister Smith Entertainment to handle sales of its titles in Europe, Middle East and Africa. DreamWorks Animation was formerly a subsidiary of the studio until the two split into separate companies on October 27, 2004. DreamWorks Pictures is now legally known as "DW II Management, Inc." with the "DreamWorks" name and logo being used under license from DreamWorks Animation.

On December 16, 2015, Spielberg, Jeff Skoll, Anil Ambani of Reliance Anil Ambani Group and Darren Throp of eOne formed Amblin Partners with DreamWorks becoming the adult label of the new company. Later on, Universal signed a deal to distribute the later titles by Amblin so Universal Studios distributes the studio's material once the distribution deal with Disney expired, of which the majority of their post-2016 output has been distributed by (though some titles were released by Paramount, Netflix, and at least one title even by Lionsgate Films).

Paramount owns the rights to the studio's live-action films (from the studio's inception until the spin-off from Viacom) after purchasing rights held by Soros Strategic Partners LP and Dune Entertainment II LLC, as well as the films they distributed until the partnership ended, with U.S .TV over-the-air rights handled by Trifecta Entertainment & Media. Films produced by DreamWorks with distribution handled by The Walt Disney Studios have still retained distribution by the aforementioned company after the contract expired in 2016 with EMEA rights being held through Mister Smith Entertainment. DreamWorks Animation (which was acquired by NBCUniversal in 2016) owns all of the studio's animated films.



Logo (September 26, 1997-)


Visuals: It starts out at night with a crescent-shape moon and some clouds in a reflection of water, then there is a bobber and fishing reel splash into the water. The camera then pans upwards through bunch of clouds to see a boy, wearing a white shirt with black suspenders on his black shorts and sitting on top of a crescent-shape moon holding a fishing rod. He reclines further into the moon and swings his foot in a rocking motion as a large "D" fades in, and as the camera pans to the right, the next proceeding letters follow, although parts of the letters are covered by the clouds. We then swoop past a whole bunch of several clouds, engulfing the screen. They then revolve away to reveal the text "DREAMWORKS" with "SKG" with a trademark symbol next to it appearing underneath sandwiched between lines respectively, and the text is set by the dark of night with clouds to accompany it.

Trivia:

  • The idea for this logo was a concept from founder Steven Spielberg. He originally wanted the logo to be CGI depicting a grown man fishing on the moon, but his frequent collaborator Dennis Muren suggested a hand-painted logo instead. The very first sketch of the logo (with the man) was drawn by artist Gregory Weir-Quiton on a piece of tissue for Spielberg. Artist Robert Hunt was then commissioned to design the logo. Spielberg loved one of Hunt's designs, a boy sitting on a crescent moon while fishing, and it was made into a full-motion logo. The boy who is seen sitting on the moon is based upon Hunt's son, William.
  • This logo has run into legal trouble, with Michael Jackson's family accusing it of being ripped off by Spielberg from Jackson's Neverland Valley Ranch logo being used without his permission or credit.
  • The 2021 variant was created to accommodate 4K resolutions.

Variants:

  • A short version of this logo exists, which was seen on trailers for films and at the end of films released through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Touchstone Pictures (except in EMEA and India), starting with I Am Number Four through The Light Between Oceans. Real Steel has the still version of this logo at the end.
  • Starting in December 2002 with the release of Catch Me If You Can, the trademark symbol is replaced with a "®" thanks to the registration of the company's trademarks going through.
  • On trailers and commercials for early films like The Peacemaker, Mousehunt, and Amistad, a 4:3 version was used. The only difference in this version that there was no "TM" next to "SKG".
  • Some films have the logo fading out early after it has been formed.
  • Sometimes, the logo may be zoomed out further than usual.
  • It remain unclear if a full-frame version of the entire animation exists, as the logo was often presented in its original aspect ratio even on VHS and fullscreen/pan-and-scan DVD releases.
  • Starting with the 2021 film Stillwater, the logo is remastered with more modern animation of the clouds, water, and letters. The logo is also a lighter shade of blue. Oslo has the still version of this logo at the end.

Technique: CGI from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), directed by ILM animation supervisor Wes Takahashi; Hunt provided some of the resources for the logo. The 2021 variant was animated from scratch at Technicolor; Archie Donato was the CGI supervisor, with James Marcus and Yinglei Yang handling the designing, modeling, animation, and rendering.[1] The boy sitting on the moon, however, was live-action and superimposed with the CGI moon.

Audio: A piece of orchestrated music that starts out with a guitar tune, followed by a loud, majestic horn fanfare, and ending with another guitar tune, composed by John Williams. The only sound effect is that of a splash when the bobber hits the water.

Audio Variants:

  • On MouseHunt, the theme is a different orchestration and the guitar section at the end is replaced with a French horn playing the same notes. The sound of the bobber hitting the water is also largely delayed, and the fanfare starts earlier. Considering that this was also used for the short version of the 1996 DreamWorks Interactive logo, this could indicate that this was the concept version since the sound editors for this film forgot to replace it during post-production.
  • On some prints of Antz (such as the Region 2 and 4 DVD releases of the film), the logo is silent, even though original prints and the 1999 Australian VHS release had the opening theme playing. This may have either been an error in production or distribution or it could be intentional since the opening credits were automatically skipped if another language is selected on the menu and it was muted so it couldn't affect the audio pause during it.
  • On some films, it is either silent or the opening theme of the film is used. The splashing SFX can sometimes still remain in the audio; although it might be changed to a different splashing sound effect, depending on the film.
  • On the U.S. DVD release of Evolution, if the "English 2.0" track is selected, the 1998 common fanfare for the 1993 Columbia Pictures logo will be heard instead. This most likely boils down to the fact the 2.0 English track from the Sony-owned international master was mistakenly used.
  • On foreign dubs of Antz, the sound of the bobber would either be muted or the opening score would be delayed.
  • On Old School, the sound of the bobber is largely different.

Availability:

  • It premiered on the studio's first film The Peacemaker and has appeared on nearly every DreamWorks film ever since.
  • It was seen on pre-2004 DreamWorks Animation films, from Antz to Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.
  • This logo precedes the 1991 BBC Video logo on the DreamWorks Home Entertainment DVD release of three Wallace & Gromit short films, however, it was later removed from future prints of these shorts.
  • Current prints of the studio's animated films and pre-2008 live-action films may have this logo preceded (or plastered) by a Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and/or a DreamWorks Animation logo.
  • This logo also appears on the video game adaptations of Shark Tale and Shrek 2 (said films use the 2004 DreamWorks Animation logo), released in 2004, and on UK HDTV broadcasts of Chicken Run, despite being distributed in the UK by Pathé.
  • This was also used as a de-facto home video logo on some DreamWorks Home Entertainment releases outside North America.

Legacy: It's considered an iconic logo due to its animation, John Williams' score, and its 25+ year longevity.

Unused

1st Logo (1994)

Visuals: Over a dark purple background is the DreamWorks Pictures print logo with clouds, the latter of which were responsible for the on-screen logo.

Technique: 2D animation by Robert Hunt.

Availability: Unused.

2nd Logo (1995)

Visuals: Over a dark grayscale background is the DreamWorks Pictures print logo with clouds, the latter of which were responsible for the on-screen logo.

Technique: None.

Availability: Unused.

References

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