HBO Films

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


HBO Films is a film label established by Home Box Office in 1985; it was originally called "HBO Premiere Films" and "HBO Pictures". HBO Pictures would eventually merge with fellow sister label HBO NYC Productions (formerly "HBO Showcase Pictures") to form its current entity.

HBO Premiere Films

Logo (July 22, 1982-April 21, 1986)

Visuals: On a black background, a red light flashes, then an orange HBO logo eases in towards the screen as the words "Premiere" and "Films" in a cursive font write themselves in at the same time. As this happens, red lines laser their way in above and below “Premiere Films”. The top line comes from left to right, while the bottom comes from right to left. The HBO logo shines throughout the animation.

Technique: Motion-controlled animation.

Audio: None.

Availability: Appeared on HBO prints of Forbidden and Act of Vengeance.

HBO Pictures

1st Logo (October 26, 1986)

Visuals: On a purple and tan gradient background, a camera scrolls up past a clear translucent filmstrip with white HBO logos inside. Then one of the HBO logos in 3D with purple sides eases in. The filmstrip disappears and several white squares, rectangles and lines fly in below and “PICTURES” (in the style as seen in the following logos) flies in front of the squares. The shapes form a 3D marquee, with three other marquees behind it. The marquees light up one by one from back to front of the one with pictures.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A synthesized tune with an electric guitar.

Availability: It was seen on Florida Straits when it aired on HBO in 1986, but the home video release by Orion Home Video omits this. It's not known if this popped up elsewhere.

2nd Logo (April 8, 1988-September 9, 1990)

Visuals: Over a black background, the logo starts with pieces of lettering reflecting the sky. Then the pieces join together and form the HBO logo in shaded orange (or yellow), with "PICTURES" in dark red with the "U" and the "R" connected. Under it are five blue lines. The logo shines and then five purple bars fade beneath the logo (to represent a pillar illusion).

Variant: Sometimes, the bars don't appear at all, and/or the logo appears more three-dimensional and shiny.

Technique: Computer animation.

Audio: An upbeat yet relaxed synth theme with 6 horn notes, otherwise silent.

Availability: Appeared on HBO films during the period. It was seen on The Heist, By Dawn's Early Light, Steal the Sky, Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture and Dead Solid Perfect.

3rd Logo (March 6, 1991-January 11, 1997)

Visuals: Over a dark blue and yellow shaded background, the logo starts with some drops, as if it's raining. Then the background turns black and the HBO Pictures image from the first logo appears, colored dark blue. The logo shines twice and disappears.

Technique: Live-action combined with CGI.

Audio: A calm theme composed by Mark Isham (who also composed the music for the Largo Entertainment logo). Otherwise, it's the opening theme of the movie.

Availability: Seen on all HBO original films beginning with The Josephine Baker Story and ending with Dead Silence (1997).

4th Logo (March 15, 1997-November 20, 1999)

Visuals: Over a black/blue cloudy background, the logo starts with dark shimmering water. Bubbles rise up from the water. A big bubble then floats upward as the camera moves up and faces the water, while the HBO logo (minus the circle in the "O") and "PICTURES" below shimmer in. The bubble floats down and forms the circle inside the "O".

Variant: There is a sepia color version.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A remix of the 1991 theme.

Availability: Seen on all HBO original films beginning with The Second Civil War and ending with RKO 281.

HBO Films

1st Logo (February 24, 2000-)

Visuals: On a black background, the HBO logo with the word "FILMS" next to it appears via a blur effect. Behind it are various blue, blurry horizontal lines.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: The opening theme of the movie or silence.

Availability: Seen on all HBO original films starting with Dancing in September.

2nd Logo (May 30, 2008-January 5, 2009)

Visuals: On a black background, there is a black HBO logo coming in from the right of the screen. Behind the logo are many blurry pink/yellow copies of the HBO logo moving to the left of the screen at light speed. After a couple of seconds, the trail leaves one HBO logo behind. The logo shines and turns gold, while the Time Warner byline fades in below. The logo zooms in until it fades out.

Trivia: This logo is based on the November 2006 rebrand of HBO.

Variant: On the Sex and the City movie, the logo doesn't zoom in. Also, it fades to a purple color at the end.

Technique: Computer animation from PIC Collective.

Audio: None or the opening theme of the movie.

Availability: So far, its only known appearances are on Sex and the City (the 2008 movie) and An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong (2009). It's currently unknown if any other films used it.

3rd Logo (June 3, 2015)

Visuals: On a black background, there is a light shining, revealing a black HBO logo. The light makes almost half of the logo turn a silvery color. Another light shines on the logo from above as a white Time Warner byline appears. The logo zooms at us and shines for a bit before the lights die down and the logo fades out.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: The opening theme of the movie, which is "Figure it Out" by Royal Blood.

Availability: It was only seen on Entourage (2015) as a custom variant.

4th Logo (October 1, 2021)

Visuals: On a cloudy background, there is the HBO logo in chrome wiping in. The WarnerMedia byline is shown below the HBO logo, and then the clouds clear, revealing a silver version of the HBO logo that slowly zooms in.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: The opening theme of the movie.

Availability: Seen on The Many Saints of Newark as a custom variant.

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