MGM/UA Communications Co.

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum

< MGM


Background

MGM/UA Communications Co. was founded in 1986, five years after the formation of MGM/UA Entertainment Co. when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios acquired United Artists from Transamerica Corporation in 1981. Before the name existed, from March 25 to August 26, 1986, Ted Turner owned MGM, and both companies were reincorporated as "MGM Entertainment Co." and "United Artists Corporation" for a short time. After UA purchased MGM's production and distribution assets, as well as its trademark, from Turner, both companies were reincorporated as MGM/UA Communications Co. In 1990, when Giancarlo Parretti under Pathé Communications (not to be confused with the French studio) purchased MGM/UA, the company was renamed as "MGM-Pathé Communications Co.". However, the company was reverted back to "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" on July 2, 1992.

Logo (July 31, 1987-December 16, 1988)


Visuals: On a black background, an outline of the MGM-UA logo zooms out, leaving a smoky trail behind it. The trail and "MGM-UA" outline splits into three. The smoky trails get sucked into the logo, which stops in the top center of the screen. The "MGM-UA" logo is a metallic, WGBH-like outline with "MGM-U\" on it. Then, the letters in the words "MGM/UA C O M M U N I C A T I O N S C O.", in red, appear one by one below "MGM-U\". A red line starts in the center of the company name and splits into two, one line going toward the top of the screen, and the other toward the bottom. The lines wipe the screen and bring forth either the MGM or then-new UA logos. The MGM-UA logo zooms toward the viewer as this happens.

Variants:

  • A variation that only uses this logo alone exists, which appears on Pumpkinhead (even on current prints where the 2001 variant of the 1986 MGM logo appears before it) and the original VHS release of Illegally Yours.
  • A black-and-white version exists.
  • Adapted for widescreen (2.35:1) films, the "MGM-UA" logo does not zoom out further than usual.
  • On trailers for films on MGM/UA Home Video VHS releases, the logo plays as normal, but the logo video zooms out and lands on a film cell and it slides away. Another film cell appears and the trailer begins.
  • Depending on the film quality, the silver may appear as light brown.
  • A 1.37:1 "academy" version of this logo exists, which appears on full-screen and UK VHS prints of films as well as a 2004 ITV1 UK airing of Rain Man (1988).
  • On a 2004 ITV1 UK airing of Rain Man (1988), the "Subtitles" text fades in at the top right when the trail and "MGM-UA" outline starts split into three. The "Subtitles" text also fades out when one of the letters in the words "MGM/UA COMMUNICATIONS CO." starts to appear.

Technique: Computer animation.

Audio: A synthesized chord segueing into some whooshing sounds combined with a drum beat, followed by a synth trumpet fanfare, and then a metallic hit at the end (which is not present on the standalone variant).

Audio Variants:

  • A French dub of Rain Man (1988) has a low-pitched version of this jingle with the United Artists logo.
  • On the 2017 Arrow Films remastered Blu-ray release of A Fish Called Wanda (1988), as well as the 2017 Scream Factory Blu-ray release of Poltergeist III (1988), the 5.1 tracks have the MGM/UA jingle play and when the MGM logo appears, cuts to the 1995 roar due to sloppy reverse plastering. The 2.0 stereo tracks on both films have the original audio and 1986 roar. Also, the 5.1 track for A Fish Called Wanda (1988) has the MGM/UA jingle in high-tone.
  • On the 2021 Severin Films remastered Blu-ray release of Overboard (1987), the logo is silent until the MGM logo shows up and the 1995 roar is heard. This is likely due to Severin reusing audio from the previous MGM master with the 2001 logo.
  • On a Russian dub of Child's Play (1988), the MGM/UA United Artists variation plays audio for the 1994 UA logo due to a reverse plastering error.
  • On the 1989 and 1994 VHS releases of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), the opening theme of the movie (more accurately, the sound of racecars) is heard over the MGM/UA United Artists variation (this also replaces the 1968 "Transamerica T" UA logo).

Availability:

  • Its earliest known appearance was on the American theatrical release of The Living Daylights, while its last appearance was on Rain Man.
  • The MGM/UA Communications-UA Swoosh mixture appears on old TV, VHS, and Laserdisc prints of several James Bond movies and movies from the Pink Panther series (and also plasters old UA logos, such as the "Transamerica T").
  • The version with the UA logo following it appears on older prints of Baby Boom, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka!, Rain Man, and the original 1988 version of Child's Play.
    • It also makes an appearance on the 1998 DVD release of The Great Escape.
  • The version with the MGM logo following appears on older prints of Fatal Beauty, Moonstruck, Overboard (including the one used for the 2021 Severin Films Blu-ray release), Poltergeist III (including the print used for the Scream Factory Blu-ray release), A Fish Called Wanda (including the print used for the 2017 Arrow Video Blu-ray release), and others.
  • Recent prints of many of the above, such as the 20th anniversary DVD release and Criterion Collection Blu-ray release of Moonstruck, will have it replaced with a newer MGM logo.
  • The B&W variant appears on the 1988 MGM/UA Home Video VHS release of The Manchurian Candidate and the 1989 MGM/UA Home Video Laserdisc release of The Apartment.
  • The trailer variant appears on several MGM/UA Home Video releases, such as the 1988 VHS release of Spaceballs (1987), among others.
  • The version with the UA logo following it also appears on the 1989 UK VHS releases of The Pink Panther Cartoon Festival: Pink Suds and The Pink Panther Cartoon Festival: Pink Paradise, respectively, among many others from MGM/UA Home Video.
  • The version with the UA logo following it also appeared on a 2004 ITV1 UK airing of Rain Man (1988) which aired as part of the late night movie, and also appears at the start of the Marquee Collection 4K Blu-ray release of the aforementioned film, following the 2012 MGM logo.
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