Gramercy Pictures

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

Gramercy Pictures was founded in May 1992 as a joint venture between PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Universal Pictures. The name of the company is derived from its parent companies, though it could also be a reference to Gramercy Park in New York City. Gramercy served as PolyGram Filmed Entertainment's US theatrical distributor and as Universal's art-house division.

The Seagram Company would sell half of the studio to PolyGram on January 11, 1996, thus Gramercy became fully owned by the latter. When Seagram (then parent owner of Universal) bought PolyGram on December 10, 1998, they acquired Gramercy, but later sold it (along with October Films and Interscope Communications) to Barry Diller's USA Networks (which Seagram owned a partial stake in), who renamed the combined operations USA Films (now "Focus Features"). In May 2015, Focus Features revived Gramercy as a label for action, horror and sci-fi genre films. However, after only six films and due to the box office failure of the Ratchet & Clank movie, the label was discontinued again a year later. The following year, Universal started up a similar label, OTL Releasing.

1st Logo (May 14, 1993-March 5, 1999)


Visuals: There is an outline of a circle, which is then illuminated by a flash. The circle zooms out to form a statue that holds its arms up. A yellowish spotlight then shines on it, and then a blue spotlight shines on it as well. The two spotlights move a bit and form an abstract "G" under the statue. The statue and abstract "G" zoom out and the text "GRAMERCY", with "PICTURES" spaced out below a golden line under "GRAMERCY" fades in.

Trivia: The logo was created by Rod Dyer Design. They were also responsible for creating the 1972-1996 logo for Gramercy's co-parent company MCA.

Variants:

  • An enhanced version debuted on Def Jam's How to Be a Player in 1997. The logo is more golden than before, and the animation is cleaner and smoother. "GRAMERCY P I C T U R E S" also zooms in from under the logo and is noticeably more shinier. The byline that says "A PolyGram Company" was also added below. This version is often shortened, though an extended version that plays like the normal logo has also been discovered.
  • On Double Dragon, the logo has a multicolor tint.
  • At the end of Clay Pigeons, the print logo is used. The text "A GRAMERCY RELEASE" appears above the logo.

Technique: Motion-controlled animation, alongside chroma key compositing graphics.

Audio: Usually silent or the opening theme of the movie.

Audio Variants:

  • On Grace of My Heart, a dark pound, then a soft yet very majestic string and piano fanfare is heard.
  • Sometimes, it has a dark and dramatic piano tune with an ominous synth. This was used on Dream Lover, Spike Lee's Drop Squad, Foreign Student, I'm Not Rappaport, Double Dragon, and the Academy Screener VHS release of Dead Man Walking, respectively.

Availability:

  • Appears on Gramercy films from the era, including Dazed and Confused, Grace of My Heart, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (but not on the 1998 Image Entertainment DVD release), Mallrats, U.S. theatrical prints of Double Dragon (removed from most home media releases, including the MCA/Universal VHS release, though it's also intact on Amazon Prime Video print; might also be on the recent Blu-ray release by MVD Visual), and Commandments, among others.
  • The Gramercy/PolyGram combo is also preserved on MGM prints of Dream Lover, Posse, A Home of Our Own, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (including a September 1, 2023 UK airing thereof on Talking Pictures TV), Romeo Is Bleeding, Canadian Bacon, and Dead Man Walking.
  • In the case of PolyGram films, the print logo appears on VHS/DVD covers of some of their films.
  • It is also supposedly intact on some streaming prints of Fargo.
  • It is unknown if this also appears on any prints of Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill (1993).
  • The enhanced version can be found on the PolyGram VHS release of Going All the Way and some Region 2 PAL DVD releases of Thursday and The Last Days of Disco.
  • The still version can be found on several U.S. PolyGram trailers from the time, such as Bean, The Big Lebowski, Elizabeth, The Last Days of Disco, and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, among others.
  • It may have been seen on the theatrical print of Keys to Tulsa, but home video releases show no evidence of this.
  • It also does not appear on most PolyGram features released after September 12, 1997, as most releases use international prints which have the 1997 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment logo instead.
    • The Last Days of Disco is an exception, as earlier releases retain this and the Castle Rock Entertainment logo which follows.
    • Current prints of said film, however, plaster the combo with the Focus Features logo.

2nd Logo (May 20, 2015-April 29, 2016)


Visuals: On a black background, a flock of yellow-green dots fly and go round over a bluish darkness. They form two dim circles, rotate several times and more circles appear until they all become the big "G" from the previous logo, and the company name blurs in and the byline "A COMCAST COMPANY" fades in below.

Closing Variant: It's only a still in-credit version of the logo.

Technique: Computer-animated graphics.

Audio: None, the opening theme of the movie, or an orchestral piece.

Availability:

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