Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum



Background

Metro Pictures Corporation was founded on June 23, 1915, by Richard A. Rowland (1880-1947) and Louis B. Mayer (1884-1957), and started out distributing films produced by Solax Studios. However, Mayer left the studio soon after operations began to form his own company, Louis B. Mayer Pictures Corporation, in 1918. Richard Rowland would continue to produce a number of films in New York City, Fort Lee, New Jersey, and Hollywood, where he established a backlot at North Cahuenga Boulevard (which remains open and is today known as Red Studios Hollywood). Marcus Loew, a theater magnate who had been seeking products for his ever-expanding collective of nickelodeons, vaudeville houses, and movie palaces, acquired Metro Pictures in 1920.

Dissatisfied with Metro's output following his purchase of the studio, Loew later purchased Goldwyn Pictures in 1924 and combined the two studios in the hope of creating higher-quality content for his theaters. The same year, Louis B. Mayer sold Louis B. Mayer Productions to Loew for $75,000 (around $1.17 million adjusted for inflation). On April 17, 1924, the three studios were merged to become Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM). With Mayer serving as head of the studio, MGM became one of the major players in the Golden Age of Hollywood, and was one of the "Big Five" film studios, alongside Paramount Pictures, RKO Radio Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. At its peak in the 1930s, the studio was releasing 50 films a year. In 1952, Loews Inc. was forced to relinquish control of MGM due to the outcome of United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., which forced studios and theaters to separate. By the time the split was completed in 1959, MGM was in decline due to a combination of the split, the decline of the old studio system, and the rise of television. In 1957, the same year Louis B. Mayer died, the company filed a loss for the first time ever.

In 1969, Kirk Kerkorian purchased the company. However, in 1973, MGM closed its distribution offices and signed a distribution agreement with United Artists for distribution in the United States; the company also made a similar agreement with CIC for international distribution. In 1981, MGM purchased the failing United Artists before renaming itself MGM/UA Entertainment Co. a year later, with UA's distribution branch being renamed MGM/United Artists Distribution and Marketing (later MGM/UA Distribution Co.). MGM was also a founding partner in CIC's successor United International Pictures. On March 25, 1986, MGM/UA was purchased by Ted Turner (who temporarily renamed the company MGM Entertainment Co.), but after a large amount of debt, Turner sold it back on August 26, keeping the pre-1986 MGM library. MGM was then renamed MGM/UA Communications Co. In 1990, it became MGM-Pathé Communications Co. after Giancarlo Parretti purchased the company and merged it with Pathé Communications (not to be confused with the French studio, which Parretti attempted to buy but failed due to French governmental concerns over his business background). Due to lawsuits, it was sold back to Kerkorian yet again and the company became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1992. In 2000, MGM broke off its international distribution agreement with UIP and instead signed with 20th Century Fox to take over international distribution rights for MGM's films. On April 8, 2005, a consortium led by Sony's American branch bought the company.

In 2009 and 2010, MGM suffered financial problems and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on November 3, 2010. After escaping from bankruptcy on December 20, Spyglass executives Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum became co-CEOs and co-chairs of the company. Birnbaum left on October 3, 2012, and Barber was fired in March 2018. For much of the 2010s, much of MGM's output was produced with and/or distributed by Columbia, Paramount, Universal, or Warner Bros. Pictures in all territories outside of the Nordics, Israel, Central Europe, the Middle East and Portugal. In 2017, MGM signed an agreement with Annapurna Pictures to distribute titles from both parties in the US, with third-party titles being released under the Mirror banner. MGM also signed an agreement with Universal that same year to handle the international distribution of MGM titles. In 2019, the partnership became known as United Artists Releasing and Orion Pictures' distribution staff was added to the venture.

On May 26, 2021, online shopping company Amazon announced its intention to acquire MGM for $8.45 billion, a deal that was finalized on March 17, 2022. On August 15, 2022, MGM announced a new distribution agreement with Warner Bros. for international markets outside of North America (including China), which excluded two titles from Orion and the 26th Bond film, which will be retained by Universal. As part of the deal, Warner Bros. will take over home video rights in all regions. In 2023, Amazon Studios was renamed into Amazon MGM Studios with MGM serving as a banner of the company for its films. As of 2024, its major film franchises include Rocky and James Bond, while its most recent television productions include Fargo and The Handmaid's Tale.

The current company and studio location are located in Beverly Hills, California. MGM owned a more well-known set of studios in Culver City from 1925 until 1986 when the backlot was sold to Lorimar-Telepictures; the lot is now owned by Sony through the Sony Pictures Entertainment subsidiary of Sony Entertainment and is known as Sony Pictures Studios.



Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corporation

Logo (November 9, 1924-June 14, 1928)


Visuals: Over a black background is a marquee with torches surrounding it, similar to the MGM print logo. A statue of a lion rests on top. There is text over the marquee reading:

A
Metro Goldwyn
PICTURE

On the first part is "A", in the middle is "Metro Goldwyn" ("Metro" is the Metro Pictures logo of the time and "Goldwyn" is in a script font), and on the bottom is "PICTURE", looking slightly smudged out in the center.

Trivia: This logo (with the word "Mayer") was used as a print logo until the 1950s, as well as on various films as late as 1984.

Variants:

  • Depending on the film the colours are different.
  • A sepia variant exists.
  • On Cleopatra, the logo reads "DISTRIBUTED BY Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer DISTRIBUTING CORP" and the lion is realistic.

Technique: A printed graphic filmed by a camera.

Audio: The closing theme of the film.

Availability: Seen at the end of very early MGM-era films such as He Who Gets Slapped, Lady of the Night, and Cleopatra (1928), and also as an opening logo like on Greed.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc.

1st Logo (November 9, 1924-April 22, 1928)

Visuals: Same as the final Goldwyn Pictures logo, but a new lion named "Slats" occupies the circle. Slats moves his head from right to left and then looks at the camera, and later looks around aimlessly. Instead of "A GOLDWYN PICTURE", the marquee below the logo now reads

Metro----------------
Goldwyn
----------------mayer

all in differing fonts. "Metro" is in a plain serif font, "Goldwyn" in a more fancy script font, and "mayer" in an Art Deco-esque font.

Trivia: Slats was born at the Dublin Zoo on March 20, 1919, and was originally named "Cairbre". He died in 1936.

Variants:

  • Slats appears to move differently on every film in which the logo makes an appearance. Interestingly, on Battling Butler, despite Slats being given the title of "the only MGM lion that didn't roar", he roars once, and freezes for a few seconds before he turns his head as the logo fades out.
  • On a promotional film for the studio, the words "METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER" appear word by word, with "STVDIOS" appearing underneath the words. After a few seconds, the words "CONTROLLED BY LOEWS INC." appear below "STVDIOS". Then the logo blinks twice with the mascot on top and a light below.

Technique: Live-action footage, which differs depending on the film, with the elements surrounding Slats being a printed graphic composited over the footage.

Audio: None or the opening theme of the film.

Availability: It can be seen on the earliest films under the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer name. Some films were still around, while others are destroyed.

  • Due to the 1965 MGM vault fire, existing prints of most films from this era have the 3rd logo plastering this one, this is not easy to come across.
  • Currently, it is seen on He Who Gets Slapped, Confessions of a Queen, The Unholy Three (1925), The Circle, and Battling Butler.
  • It may have also been seen on some original prints of London After Midnight, Lady of the Night, and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ respectively.

2nd Logo (October 1, 1927-September 27, 1928)


Visuals: Nearly the same as before, but the ribboning has been slightly redone and a different lion named "Numa[1]" appears. The usual MGM marquee is seen below, with the ribboning in white, the wreath in yellow, the mask in red and the marquee in green.

Trivia:

  • This was MGM's first attempt at a color logo, and color films in general.
  • For a period of time, the lion's name was unknown, so it was given the unofficial name of Bill by the wiki.

Variant: As seen in the first picture, there is a variant with copyright notices below the logo.

Technique: A printed graphic with Numa being a live-action photograph.

Audio: The only films this is known to appear on were silent, so either none or the opening theme of the film.

Availability: Was mainly seen on early colorized silent films.

  • It was seen on The Heart of General Robert E. Lee (which is currently being restored by the Library of Congress), and is also said to appear on Buffalo Bill's Last Fight.
  • The logo should be retained if either film resurfaces.

3rd Logo (September 1, 1928-October 13, 1953)

Visuals: A new lion named "Jackie" appears in a slightly re-done film-like ribboning. Jackie roars three times and then looks offscreen. The marquee from the last two logos is seen below.

Trivia: Jackie was born in 1915, and was nicknamed "Leo the Lucky" because he survived several accidents, including two trainwrecks, an earthquake, and an explosion inside the studio. He retired in 1931 and was given to the Philadelphia Zoo and died in February 1935 from heart problems. His hide is currently on display at the McPherson Museum in McPherson, Kansas.

Variants:

  • Until 1938, the filmstrip from the first logo was reused.
  • Until 1932, there was also an extended version where Jackie roars three times, then he looks away and turns back to the camera before it fades out.
  • This logo would sometimes be sepia-toned.
  • Some films in the early 1930s would feature the logo of the National Recovery Administration (NRA), a New Deal agency that existed between 1933 and 1935, on the left side, below the marquee.
  • In Turner's colourized versions, the ribboning is in a brownish-gold color, the wreath is green, and the mask is red.
  • There's another colour variant, like the aforementioned logo, but with the marquee in red.
  • There's another colourized variant of the 1938 version, with the ribboning in either brownish-gold, pastel yellow, goldenrod, or silver.
  • In 1949, during MGM's 25th anniversary, an additional "Silver Anniversary" variant was used alongside the Jackie logo. There is a fancy napkin that has "MGM" in a ribbon at the top-right, and text reading "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Silver Anniversary Picture" in the center (in the Commercial Script font). Seen on Edward, My Son, The Great Sinner, Any Number Can Play, Scene of the Crime, Madame Bovary, The Doctor and the Girl, Border Incident, Adam's Rib, Intruder in the Dust, and Tension.
  • There is a variant where the logo is redrawn, Jackie has a shadow, and there is copyright information around the logo. This was seen on the Our Gang shorts "Teacher's Pet", "School's Out" and "Love Business", as well as the Laurel & Hardy short "Another Fine Mess".
  • This has appeared superimposed over scenes on trailers of 1930s films such as Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), Fury (1936) and San Francisco (1936). On the latter film, the company name and the marquee below the ribboning, wreath and the drama mask are invisible.
  • On a Dutch print of Dood Water (translated as Dead Water, 1934), the logo looks entirely redrawn with the mask also being slightly different.

Closing Variants: After the MGM merger, a variant of the Metro-Goldwyn Pictures closing logo, with the appropriate addendum, was used on the studio's end cards from 1924 until the 1950s.

  • In 1931, the ending title has been changed. The "The End" text has now been larger, and the pseudo logo now appears smaller and is outlined in white.
  • From late 1938 to 1941, the closing logo features the reclining lion carving on a white (later grey) marble background, with "THE END" in black, and a pseudo logo in the same color is below. Starting in 1939, the font was changed, and "The End" text appears in script font, and appears in white along with the pseudo logo in the same color.
  • In 1942, during the WWII-era, the "The End" words were moved to the top of the screen and the pseudo logo was moved to the bottom to give the space for the following advertisement:

"AMERICA NEEDS YOUR MONEY
BUY DEFENSE BONDS AND STAMPS
EVERY PAY DAY"


This was used as the basis for the 1st MGM Cartoons logo.

  • Starting in 1949, the "MADE IN HOLLYWOOD, U.S.A. by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" phrase is shown. In 1952, the end title card fades in first, then the title of the movie and the same phrase fades in between top and bottom below, respectively.
  • On some films, such as Red-Headed Woman (1932), Maytime (1937), Topper (1937), and Rosalie (1937), the "THE END" text is only shown. Also, the MGM pseudo logo is absent, like the 1st MGM Cartoons logo.

Technique: Live-action footage, with the elements surrounding Jackie being a printed graphic composited over the footage.

Audio: Jackie roaring; there are several variants. From 1928 to 1930, Jackie's actual roar was used. From 1930 to 1932, starting with the film Paid, a panther's roar was used. From 1932 to 1953, another roar was used, which would also be used for the 4th logo. For silent films, it's the music's intro only without Jackie roaring.

Audio Trivia: Jackie roaring at the beginning of White Shadows in the South Seas (1928) marks the very first time audiences ever heard an MGM lion, as it was the studio's first film with a pre-recorded soundtrack.

Audio Variants:

  • Many early sound films made in 1929 and 1930, such as The Broadway Melody, The Single Standard, They Learned About Women, and The Big House, have this logo without the roar, even though the films themselves have sound.
  • Earlier variants of the logo have at least three different roar variations, some more often than the others.
  • In the 1930s, a light fanfare composed by LeRoy Shield played under Jackie's roaring, chiefly at the beginning of films from Hal Roach Studios. In the 1940s, there was a more majestic fanfare composed by Franz Waxman, with Jackie roaring on some films (such as A Day at the Races (1937) and The Philadelphia Story (1940)). A new performance of Waxman's fanfare is included on Michael Feinstein's The M.G.M. Album (2008). None for the mid-to-later years, as some had the intro music from any film playing with Jackie roaring.
  • On Flip the Frog cartoons, the different fanfares were heard without Jackie's roaring. Starting in late 1932, a new roar was added.
  • The Super 8mm version of The Wizard of Oz used Tanner's roar.
  • On the 1993-1998 MGM/UA Home Video logo, Jackie roars with Tanner's roar instead of his own roaring sound.
  • The aforementioned Dutch print of Dead Water uses the panther roar from the 1930 version instead of the standard 1932 roar for an unknown reason.
  • The original print of Freaks (1932) uses the early roar from the 1928 version instead of the 1932 panther's roar for an unknown reason.

Availability: Seen on films of the era, such as Freaks (1932), Grand Hotel (1932), Manhattan Melodrama (1934), The Thin Man films from 1934 to 1947, The Girl From Missouri (1934), Riptide (1934), A Night at the Opera (1935), Fury (1936), Libeled Lady (1936), Camille (1936), Romeo and Juliet (1936), The Good Earth (1937), Captains Courageous (1937), Topper (1937), A Day at the Races (1937), the Andy Hardy films from 1937 to 1946, The Wizard of Oz (1939), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), Ninotchka (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Ziegfeld Girl (1941), Mrs. Miniver (1942), Gaslight (1944), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), Pat and Mike (1952), as well as the 1930s The Captain and the Kids cartoons.

  • The color variant is quite rare, as colorized versions are hardly ever shown on TV or on video. It is, however, seen on the colorized version of Babes in Toyland (1934), as well as colorized version of The Thin Man (1934), David Copperfield (1935) (intact on the Russian channels for the former as well as 2000's local stations airings for the latter), Libeled Lady (1936), Camille (1936) and A Christmas Carol (1938) (intact on the Canadian YTV's airing). Also, this might be seen on some variant recreations of these colorized versions of said films.
  • This logo may plaster Slats on current prints of silent films such as The Navigator, Greed, Lady of the Night, Go West, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, Torrent, The Scarlet Letter (1926), Flesh and the Devil and The Unknown; his first appearance as the full-time MGM lion was in Our Dancing Daughters.
  • In later years, clips from this logo were reused for the 1993-1998 MGM/UA Home Video logo.
  • It was also seen on the reconstructed Turner Classic Movies version of London After Midnight.
  • The last few films to use this logo were The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, Big Leaguer, The Actress and Main Street to Broadway.

Legacy: Along with Tanner, Jackie rates at the top with logo enthusiasts as far as MGM lions go. He was the third-longest lion to be used behind Tanner and Leo.

4th Logo (November 2, 1928-March 15, 1932)

Visuals: Another lion named "Telly" appears in a newly redrawn film-like ribboning. He is the first of the two two-strip Technicolor lions. Telly first stares on camera for several seconds and then roars with a long snarl and two roaring sound effects. The usual MGM marquee is seen below. Everything but the lion is in a green hue (likely caused by the two-strip Technicolor process).

Variant: While the logo was made in colour, a black and white version exists. Said variant was seen on The Mysterious Island, which was originally shot in colour, but only a black/white version is known to exist.

Technique: Live-action footage, with the elements surrounding Telly being a printed graphic composited over the footage.

Audio: A cougar's roar, which was also used for Jackie in the 1932 variant of the 3rd logo. Some films would only have the opening theme by itself or with Telly's roar.

Audio Variant: On Crazy House (1930), silence.

Availability: Seen on color films such as The Viking (1928), The Mysterious Island (1929), The Rogue Song (1930), and Crazy House (1930), as well as color shorts like Kiddie Revue (1930) and Over the Counter (1932).

5th Logo (February 4, 1932-May 25, 1935)

Visuals: Another two-strip Technicolor lion named "Coffee" appears in a slightly redrawn film-like ribboning with the mask redrawn. Coffee snarls while looking down and then roars. The Latin phrase is still shown inscribed on the circle. "TRADE" and "MARK" appear on different sides. The usual MGM marquee is seen below. The ribboning and wreath are white, and the mask is red.

Variants:

  • A longer version of this logo exists, which was only seen on Wild People, where Coffee does a second roar.
  • A B&W variant also exists on prints in said colours.

Technique: Live-action footage, with the elements surrounding Coffee being a printed graphic composited over the footage.

Audio: Coffee's roar.

Availability: Seen on several of MGM's color short subjects, including Roast-Beef and Movies and Wild People and on the first season of MGM's "Happy Harmonies" cartoons.

6th Logo (September 18, 1934-December 3, 1953)

Visuals: A new lion named "Tanner" appears in this logo. He is the one of the three-strip Technicolor lions. The Latin phrase on the circle is red, the words "TRADE" and "MARK" are yellow, and the red mask and the ribboning are redrawn slightly with orange accents on certain parts of the filmstrip ribbons. The wreath is yellow and on the MGM marquee, the letters "M", "G", and "M" are red, with the remainder of the letters in yellow. Tanner roars three times.

Trivia: In addition to this logo, Tanner also appeared in a few Three Stooges shorts such as "Hold That Lion!" (1947). His roar was also frequently used as a sound effect in some MGM cartoons of the time.

Variants:

  • A longer version of this logo exists, in which Tanner would growl first, roar three times, look at the camera while tilting his head, and growl again, with the final roar accompanied by a gasp-like sound and a growl at the end.
  • The Silver Anniversary variant for this logo is basically the same as the version seen on Jackie's, but it's in color with Tanner preceding it. Seen on Neptune's Daughter, In the Good Old Summertime, Challenge to Lassie and On the Town.
  • A Cinecolor variant exists on Gallant Bess, in which the logo is darker and most of the yellows look faded.
  • This logo was strangely seen in black & white and with Jackie's roar on a TCM Australia airing of The Hucksters, due to a plastering error. However, current prints of said film have Jackie instead.
  • On My Grandfather's Clock, the logo has a slight red tint.
  • A rare Soviet version also exists, which was seen on a print of the 1960 Russian dub of The Great Caruso, during the opening credits of the film. This variant is a still painting, with the marquee redrawn slightly. Tanner's mouth is also wide open.

Technique: Live-action footage, with the elements surrounding Tanner being a printed graphic composited over the footage.

Audio: Some films would feature Tanner's roars, while animated features would use Coffee's. Other live-action films would have the music's intro with Tanner roaring. For the long version, it's just Tanner roaring.

Audio Variants:

  • On "Happy Harmonies" cartoons, as well as on An Optical Poem, the logo has Coffee's roar track. On the first roar for Tanner, it's Coffee's second roar, followed by the third roar, with the final roar being Coffee's growl.
  • On a Rede Globo airing of Gone with the Wind from December 15, 1989, the 1982 roar track, which was first used for the ninth logo, was used, albeit slightly pitched up.
  • As the Soviet version of the logo is still, it only uses the opening theme of the film.

Availability: Seen on color live-action films such as Lassie Come Home (1943), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), National Velvet (1944), Good News (1947), On the Town (1949), An American in Paris (1951), Quo Vadis (1951), Singin' in the Rain (1952), short subjects, FitzPatrick's Traveltalks travelogues Cherry Blossom Time In Japan (1936), Rocky Mountain Grandeur (1937), Hong Kong: The Hub of the Orient (1937), Java Journey (1938), Paris On Parade (1938), Sitka and Juneau (1940), Cavalcade of San Francisco (1940), ‎Over the Andes (1943), Colorful Colorado (1944) and ‎‎Monumental Utah (1944), several musicals and animated features from MGM's "Golden Age", the 1939's Pete Smith Speciality "Marine Circus" on TCM (but not on the Warner Archive DVD nor Blu-ray releases), and Two Hearts in Wax Time (1935). Its first feature film appearance after four years later was Sweethearts (1938), and the last few films to use this were The Naked Spur, The Band Wagon, Latin Lovers, and Give a Girl a Break.

  • The long version is seen on Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove (1934), as well as on the travelogues Holland in Tulip Time (its first appearance until 1938), Switzerland the Beautiful, Zion: Canyon of Color, Ireland: The Emerald Isle, and Los Angeles: Wonder City of the West. The former short can be found on the DVD release of The Gay Divorcee, which was originally released by RKO Radio Pictures.
  • This logo was also strangely seen with the 1982 roar tracks (albeit higher pitched) on the aforementioned Rede Globo airing of Gone with the Wind, even though that film doesn't use this logo at all.

Legacy: As one of the more iconic lions, those who grew up watching Tom and Jerry may consider Tanner a favorite. However, he has gained some notoriety for frightening younger viewers, mainly towards those that grew up watching MGM cartoons such as the previously mentioned Tom and Jerry.

7th Logo (July 15, 1953-November 2, 1956)

Visuals: This time, the MGM marquee below the logo has been permanently dropped, and the name "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" has been placed on top of the logo and is slightly arched, minus the hyphens in between the names. Jackie appears on black/white films and Tanner on colour films. A registered trademark symbol is added underneath the left side of the filmstrip.

Trivia: This marks the start of the more established design of the logo, although the more familiar lion wouldn't be introduced until four years later.

Variants:

  • A short version of Jackie with the last two roars exists.
  • For the Tanner version, there are two versions. One has the ribbons in silver and the other in gold.
  • Another version appears with the gold ribbon Tanner variant with copyright info on either side.
  • Tanner was used for a 3D version that can be found on films such as Kiss Me Kate.
  • A CinemaScope variant exists. After the logo fades out is the golden text "IN CINEMASCOPE", with "CINEMASCOPE" in its respective font, similar to the one used by 20th Century Fox, all on a black background.

Technique: Live-action footage, with the elements surrounding either lion being a printed graphic composited over the footage.

Audio: Jackie or Tanner roaring depending on the film.

Audio Variant: The Long, Long Trailer and Forever Darling have Tanner with Jackie's roar.

Availability: Seen on MGM films during this era, starting with the films Ride, Vaquero! and Torch Song, and ending with The Rack.

  • The version with Jackie first appeared on Half a Hero, released on September 4, 1953, and can also be seen on Blackboard Jungle, I'll Cry Tomorrow, as well as The M-G-M Parade on TCM.

8th Logo (April 26, 1956-February 27, 1959)

Visuals: A new lion named George appears in the studio's logo. The ribboning is more stretched out than in the earlier versions. The red mask appears redrawn and the wreath looks more stretched out below. The color of the letters "M", "G'", and "M" are still red, but look faded. A registered trademark symbol has been added. The first version has the lion looking at the camera, then he turns away and starts roaring. Then he would later look back at the camera and roar again and snarl. The other would have the lion look at the camera first, then would roar while looking up and snarl at the end.

Trivia:

  • Actual footage from this logo's production, dated June 24, 1955, has been preserved and can be seen on the Widescreen Museum website.
  • The logo was directed by A. Arnold Gillespie, an MGM special effects artist known for his work on such films as Ben-Hur (1925 and 1959), The Wizard of Oz, and Forbidden Planet.

Variants:

  • This logo would appear on either a blue or black background.
  • A B&W variant also exists, which can be seen on some B&W films, such as The Fastest Gun Alive (1956), among others.

Technique: Live-action footage. Unlike previous and future MGM logos, the graphic surrounding the lion is actually a physical cutout as evidenced by the behind-the-scenes photos.

Audio: Tanner's re-dubbed roar or Tanner's roar with the music's intro.

Audio Variant: A slightly different tone of Tanner's roar with an extra growl was heard twice on Barnacle Bill (1957) and First Man Into Space (1959), with the synced roar that was used for the next logo.

Availability: Seen on MGM films during this era, starting with the film The Swan (released on April 26, 1956).[2]

  • This is also seen on the aforementioned First Man Into Space (1959) and on Any Number Can Win (1963), respectively.
  • It was also seen on a January 20, 1996 airing of Designing Woman (1957) on BBC2.

9th Logo (September 6, 1957-July 10, 1987)

Visuals: A new lion named "Leo" appears. The script "Metro Goldwyn Mayer" is in a new font. The wreath and the mask are redrawn once again, and the ribboning on the sides is stretched out even more. Leo roars at first, then turns his head to his right. He would roar again for the second time and look away, and would do the same thing on his third roar and would look away for the final time.

Trivia:

  • Leo was born at the Royal Burgers' Zoo in Arnhem, Netherlands. The reason why his mane is shorter compared to all the other lions is that he was the youngest at the time when he was filmed. He also appeared in several films, such as King of Kings (1961), The Lion (1962), Zebra in the Kitchen (1965), Fluffy (1965), and Napoleon and Samantha (1972), as well a Dreyfus Corporation commercial in 1961, which is shown here.
  • This marks the start of a definitive design for the logo, as it would only receive minimal changes in the following decades.

Variants:

  • A B&W variant exists, which is seen on earlier films of the era.
  • On technicolor films, the lettering on the marquee is golden yellow.
  • On films shot in the Cinerama format, the logo is curved to accommodate the format and the ribboning is also enhanced.
  • By the 1970s, the logo looks a little more enhanced and the lettering on the marquee has more of a grey color.
  • May 23, 1974-July 4, 1975: A special variant was used to commemorate MGM's 50th anniversary. At the top, "Metro Goldwyn Mayer", in the same font as the 1957 logo, is in yellowish-gold, and the wreath is slightly thinner. Inside the circle is the phrase "BEGINNING OUR NEXT 50 YEARS...", with "B" a bit bigger and stretched vertically, also in yellowish-gold as Leo roars. There would be a crossfade between the phrase and Leo. Instead of "TRADE MARK" seen on the sides of the circle, "GOLDEN" is seen on the left and "ANNIVERSARY" is seen on the right in the same color. Leo would roar again two more times. This became the basis of Leo's two roar footage.
  • June 3, 1983-February 21, 1986, July 10, 1987: The marquee name was altered to read "MGM/UA Entertainment Co.", following their acquisition of United Artists in 1981, with all text (apart from the initials and Latin phrase) rendered in orange. Everything else remains the same.
    • A prototype variant where the MGM/UA marquee is slightly off center and Leo also has a greenish tint also exists.

Closing Variants:

  • 1960-1982: The movie's title would often appear above, with text below reading “Presented By Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer”. Starting around 1976, the 1966 print logo would appear under the text.
  • 1982-1987: Same as the first variant but with the text reading "DISTRIBUTED BY" or "FROM" with the MGM/UA Entertainment Co. or MGM Entertainment Co. print logo below. The Beastmaster only showed the logo.

Technique: Live-action footage, with the elements surrounding Leo being a printed graphic composited over the footage.

Audio: Some movies, especially later movies with the logo, would only have Leo's roar. Other movies would have the music's intro with the roar.

Audio Variants: Tanner's roar was used from 1957 to 1982. The sound used is Tanner's first roar, repeated twice; for Leo's second roar, Tanner's first roar is used without the growl. For the three-roar variant, the first roar is Tanner's second roar.

  • 1957-1961: Leo roars three times.
  • 1960-1987: Leo roars only twice.
  • There are a few variations seen on some movies with the roar. Some have Tanner's first and second roar, while a few others have that reversed.
  • Starting with Poltergeist (released on June 4, 1982), a new roar track for Leo was introduced, recorded and mixed by Mark Mangini. Leo's roar track is now a synthesized one, which sounded more polished in theaters featuring Dolby/THX sound systems. Movie trailers continued to use the 1960 roar.
  • Around 1985, the final part for the roar was changed, ending with a growl (which appeared on Year of the Dragon, while a few films such as To Live and Die in L.A. and 9 1/2 Weeks used the 1982 track). This version would be used concurrently with the 1982 roar until around 1987-1988.
  • Brainstorm has an edited 1982 roar. The first roar is the last roar repeated two times, and the last roar is the first.
  • Reckless has the growls heard between the roars muted out.
  • The DVD release of The Beastmaster and the Shout! Factory Blu-ray releases of Poltergeist II: The Other Side and To Live and Die in L.A. use the 1995 roar. However, the 2.0 audio tracks of the latter two films have their original roar tracks.
  • The 1994 Laserdisc release of Poltergeist uses the 1994 roar track.
  • The VCI Blu-ray and streaming prints of Gorgo blend the 1957 and 1995 roars, possibly due to sloppy plastering. Since the 1995 variation had only two roars, the second roar is used at both the beginning and the end.

Availability: Was used for almost three decades.

  • This logo debuted on Tip on a Dead Jockey (released on September 6, 1957), and made its final appearance on O.C. and Stiggs (released on July 10, 1987). The color version debuted on Les Girls.
  • This logo is also seen on several MGM shorts such as a few Gene Deitch Tom and Jerry shorts, among others.
  • The logo is preserved on pre-May 9, 1986 films by MGM that are owned by Warner Bros. via Turner Entertainment Co. However, some United Artists releases copyrighted to United Artists originally using the MGM/UA logo might have it replaced with the 2001 logo.
  • One of the last films to use the 1960-1982 version before the name change to MGM/UA Entertainment Co. was the 1983 television premiere of the 1936 adaptation of Show Boat.
    • It is also preserved on the 1990 MGM/UA Home Video release.
  • The MGM/UA closing variant debuted on Diner, while the opening variant made its debut on WarGames and made its final appearance on 9 1/2 Weeks.
    • MGM/UA releases between March 1982 and June 1983, which feature the closing variant, still open with the standard MGM version on MGM releases, while UA releases from the period open with the standard United Artists logo.
    • Starting with the release of Dream Lover on February 28, 1986, it reverted back to the name "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer". However, the MGM/UA variant appeared on the 1987 film O.C. and Stiggs (which was originally made in 1985, but was shelved for two years).
  • The 1960-1982 version was also plastered over with the 1983-1986 version on Two Weeks in Another Town on an international TCM airing.
  • This logo was seen on original theatrical prints of Where the River Runs Black, but video releases replaced it with the 11th logo.
  • This logo also remains intact on the Shout! Factory Blu-ray releases of To Live and Die in L.A. and Poltergeist II: The Other Side.
  • Older VHS releases of Running Scared also retain this logo.
  • The Golden Anniversary version is seen on films such as That's Entertainment!, Mr. Ricco, and U.S. prints of The Wind and the Lion.

Legacy: It's seen as one of MGM's most iconic logos, with Leo considered the most famous out of all the MGM lions.

10th Logo (April 3-October 13, 1968)

Visuals: On a blue background, there is a yellow-orange outlined drawing of a lion's head in a circle. Below it are the letters "MGM" in yellow-orange.

Trivia:

  • The lion graphic was designed by design agency Lippincott, and was officially adopted as MGM's print logo on September 19, 1966 (the day the company began operating from the MGM Building in New York).
  • This particular logo design remained in use as a print logo until at least 1982, long after it was retired as an opening logo. The lion graphic then became the logo for MGM Grand for many years, and later MGM Mirage. It would also be used on video covers of early MGM/CBS releases. It is currently used for the logo of MGM Resorts International.

Variants:

  • A variant has the background color teal-green, the lion drawing is now white and bigger, and "MGM" is smaller.
  • On trailers for the studio's films that were released by United Artists, an inverted version of the logo appears above the 1976 United Artists logo, with the text "An MGM Presentation" next to it.

Technique: A printed graphic.

Audio: None, but on 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film's opening theme plays over the logo.

Availability: It was seen only on two films: The Subject Was Roses, which has the logo intact on its Warner Archive DVD-R release, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, which had the logo edited out on most TV prints, but is still preserved on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as some international TCM airings and on the 2018 IMAX re-release.

  • The trailer variant can be seen on the trailers for films such as He Knows You're Alone and Fame, among others.
  • It is also seen at the end of select prints (mainly 70mm showings) and digital prints of Licorice Pizza, its first theatrical appearance in over 50 years.

11th Logo (June 22, 1984-April 28, 2009)

Visuals: Same as the 9th logo, but most of the logo is now colored in gold instead of white. The mask also appears in a darker red color. Leo roars twice as usual, sometimes once.

Trivia: The design of the filmstrip was first introduced in 1982 as the corporate logo for its then-parent MGM/UA Entertainment Co., and was used for the 1982-1993 MGM/UA Home Video logo. Also, the filmstrip would remain golden going forward.

Variants:

  • June 22, 1984-January 18, 1985: For the studio's 60th anniversary, the arched words "DIAMOND JUBILEE" appear in white above the logo. On the circle is inscribed "METRO GOLDWYN MAYER/UNITED ARTISTS"" in red, instead of the usual Latin phrase. The mask is redrawn once again, with the mouth inside the mask in white, and the wreath surrounding the mask is not there. Below the mask is a ribboning banner that reads "ENTERTAINMENT CO." On the right side above the ribbon, there is a small trademark symbol, and below the logo is the phrase "SIXTY YEARS OF GREAT ENTERTAINMENT" in white. Leo roars while the letters "M", "E" and "J" sparkle.
  • An early version of the 1986 logo also exists, which can be found on some prints and the U.S. VHS release of Where the River Runs Black (1986), where Leo is slightly off-centered.
  • October 30, 1987-1992: There is a byline that reads "An MGM/UA Communications company". The byline was used intermittently from late 1988-1992, mainly on trailers. However, it makes a surprise appearance on the original VHS release of Leviathan (another version has the bylineless logo). Films with this byline are generally preceded by the MGM/UA Communications logo.
  • November 26, 1986-2001, 2006, 2008: The logo is bylineless. Despite general use ending around 2001, it made surprise appearances on The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold and WarGames: The Dead Code.
  • 1994: For the studio's 70th anniversary, the text "70th ANNIVERSARY" is used, and the logo is pushed up to the top. "ANNIVERSARY" in spaced-out letters, wipes itself on the bottom of the logo, then "70th" appears. Starting with this logo, the ribbons now appear in a darker golden-brown color.
  • 1999: 75th Anniversary logo; "75 A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE" is used. The MGM logo is once again moved up. When it begins, "75" zooms back and rests. "A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE" appears and shines. There is a version on The World Is Not Enough without the animation.
  • January 12, 2001-April 28, 2009: A "www.mgm.com" web address is added below the logo.
  • Some films that used the 2001 version of the logo, such as Wicker Park, Good Boy!, and Bulletproof Monk, have the URL off-center.
  • The Tubi print of The Last Man On Earth starts with a somewhat cheaply edited black-and-white version of the 2001 logo.

Closing Variants:

  • Very early in its run, on Solarbabies and Dead of Winter, it used the MGM Entertainment Co. closing from the 9th logo.
  • There's a white outline MGM print logo that would have the movie title (mainly James Bond movies), and would have the word "FROM" (for MGM releases) or "DISTRIBUTED BY" (for UA releases) below the title above the logo. In the late 80s-early 90s, three versions of the print logo were used: a standard version, another which was more outlined (seen on Poltergeist III and Masquerade), and another with inverted colors. Below the logo would be a byline stating "An MGM/UA Communications company", then later "A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Communications company". Starting in the mid to late 1990s, it would say "DISTRIBUTED BY MGM/UA DISTRIBUTION CO.", then later "DISTRIBUTED BY MGM DISTRIBUTION CO." Sometimes, the late 90s variant can be seen at the end of theatrical prints of 2006-2008 The Weinstein Company/Dimension Films movies.
  • Another closing variant used on reprints of older films from the company would cut out the print logo originally used and would instead carry a short version of the MGM logo.
  • A short B&W variant of the 1995 logo exists, which is seen after any classic MGM-owned movie in black & white, such as those by United Artists and Samuel Goldwyn Productions. Other releases, like the 2001 print of Some Like it Hot, use the regular color version instead.
  • Strangely, on digital prints and the Shout! Factory Blu-ray release of Tank Girl, the closing variant is presented in 1.85:1, despite the opening variant and the entire film being presented in 2.35:1.

Technique: Live-action footage with a printed graphic composited over it for the normal variant, 2D animation for the sparkles on the Diamond Jubilee variant, and computer effects for the additional text on the other anniversary variants.

Audio: Leo's roar, which would change throughout the years.

  • 1984-1988: The 1982 roar.
  • 1986-1994: The 1985 roar.
  • 1994-October 20, 1995, 1997: The 1982 roar, with a raspier sound. Sounds close to the 1995 roar, but not quite.
  • December 22, 1995-: Starting with Cutthroat Island, the 1982 lion roar track was remixed by Mark Mangini, who combined the original track with several other roaring sounds to give it more "muscle" and to accommodate 5.1 surround sound films.

Audio Variants:

  • A silent variant of the short version has been spotted.
  • On current prints and the DVD release of Solarbabies, the 1985 roar is used on the 2001 logo. This occurrence also happens on foreign prints of Year of the Dragon (which MGM inherited from PolyGram Filmed Entertainment along with other Dino De Laurentiis productions from the time period), and current prints of A Dry White Season and The Meteor Man.
  • Current prints of Yentl have the 2001 logo with the 1982 roar, probably because the opening theme was used with the roar (some prints have the 1982 and 1985 roars combined). This also happens on the 2006 Ultimate Edition DVD releases of Octopussy and A View to a Kill when the audio commentary is turned on.
  • On the MGM Home Entertainment DVD release of Mr. Saturday Night, the theatrical trailer on the disc has the logo with the 1982 roar. On that trailer, it also erases any Columbia references.
  • On trailers and TV spots up to the late 1980s-early 1990s, the 1960 roar is used, though some use the 1982 roar.
  • One variant of the Diamond Jubilee logo has the 1960 and 1982 MGM lion roars combined. This is seen on 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984).
  • On Garbo Talks, the warped version of the 1982 roar is used.
  • On current prints of Red Dawn (1984), the 1995 roar is used on the Diamond Jubilee logo.
  • One Russian dubbed print of Red Dawn (1984) combines the 1982 and 1995 roars.
  • On the TV movie Rocky Marciano, as well as digital prints of Rain Man and the 4K Blu-ray release of Thelma and Louise (1991), the 1995 roar is used on the 1986 logo.
  • On Windtalkers and the 2007 "Family Fun Edition" DVD release of The Pebble and the Penguin, the 1994 roar is used on the 2001 logo.
  • A syndicated airing of an unknown MGM movie and current prints of Sweet Land have the 2001 logo with the 2008 roar track. The closing of the latter film also utilizes the second roar from the 2008 roar track rather than the first.
  • Bandits, Walking Tall, De-Lovely, Wicker Park, A Guy Thing, and the 2004 U.S. VHS release of Uptown Girls have a low-pitched 1995 roar on the 2001 logo.
  • An NBC airing of Inherit the Wind (1999) had the roar track silent, due to the generic theme playing over the logo.

Availability: This logo was used for 25 years, and is very easy to find, especially the 2001 website variant, which plasters both previous logos and numerous logos from other companies.

  • The Diamond Jubilee variant debuted on The Pope of Greenwich Village and made its final appearance on That's Dancing!.
    • Starting with The Aviator, it was reverted back to the MGM/UA variant of the 1957 logo.
  • The standard version's earliest known appearance was on TV spots for Running Scared in the spring of 1986, but it's currently unknown if theatrical prints used this logo.
    • The original U.S. VHS release had the 9th logo and the UK VHS release had no logo at all, while 1990s VHS reissues feature the bylineless gold-ribboned logo (in letterbox), as did a 1994 broadcast on BBC1 (albeit cropped to 4:3).
  • The MGM/UA Communications byline version can be found on the original VHS and Laserdisc releases of Spaceballs (as well as international theatrical prints), Overboard, Poltergeist III (intact on the Scream Factory Blu-ray release), A Fish Called Wanda (also intact on the Arrow Video Blu-ray release), Fatal Beauty, Captive Hearts, P.I. Private Investigations, and Leviathan (VHS only; the Laserdisc, which is letterboxed, had the bylineless logo).
  • The bylineless 1986 logo is also seen on the original home video prints of titles such as Where the River Runs Black (plastering the 9th logo), Mindgames, Blue Steel, Quigley Down Under, and Thelma and Louise.
  • The 2001 URL variant made its debut on Antitrust.
  • It is also seen on direct-to-video titles such as An All Dogs Christmas Carol, The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, and also strangely takes the place of the 1998 MGM Home Entertainment logo on VHS releases like the 1999 VHS release of Black Caesar, the 1998 VHS release of Napoleon, and Great Balls of Fire!.
  • It also seems to have been used as a de-facto home video logo in tandem with the 1998 and 2003 MGM DVD logos, since on titles from Embassy Pictures, Orion Pictures (post-1982 library), ABC Motion Pictures, and IFC Films, the logo precedes those companies' logos (similarly to Universal Pictures Home Entertainment).
  • The 1994 version is seen on Clean Slate, Blown Away, That's Entertainment III, and the Live Entertainment VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD releases of Stargate (the Artisan and Lionsgate Ultimate Edition DVD releases use the Artisan logo instead).
  • The bylineless logo with the 1994 roar can be found on original prints of The Pebble and the Penguin (U.S. prints), Fluke, Species, and Get Shorty, as well as on Red Corner.
    • It can also be found on the Vudu print of Snow White (1987).
  • The 1999 75th Anniversary version is seen on The Thomas Crown Affair and pre-2006 prints of The World is Not Enough; however, the earlier and mid versions are usually replaced by the 2001 logo, such as on the Ultimate Edition DVD and Blu-ray releases of the latter.
  • The silent version is seen at the end of network prints of Topkapi (1964).
  • This logo also replaces the 1981 Columbia Pictures logo on releases of MGM-owned Castle Rock/Nelson films such as When Harry Met Sally..., Lord of the Flies, Misery, and City Slickers.
  • The logo is also seen on the U.S. release of the Russian movie 12, following the Sony Pictures Classics logo. This was done as a legacy credit due to MGM owning the rights to 12 Angry Men, which the film was based off of.
  • It made its last theatrical appearance on Igor (released on September 19, 2008), and its last overall appearances were on the direct-to-DVD films Dead Like Me: Life After Death and Legally Blondes; this logo was used on trailers on post-2008 Sony/MGM releases until Zookeeper (2011).
  • Interestingly, the 1988 RCA/Columbia video release of Willow, as well as the 1996 Columbia/TriStar Family Collection video release, also retains the bylineless version of this logo with the 1982 roar, as do older cable prints, preceded by the Universal Pay Television logo.
    • However, DVD releases by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment from 2001 onward removed any evidence of MGM having released the film, and go directly to the Lucasfilm logo.
    • It was however restored on the 2013 Fox and 2019 Disney Blu-ray releases, as well as the streaming version on Disney+.

Legacy: This logo and the 9th logo are well-known due to their longevity. As for the 2001 website variant, it is infamous for its omnipresence and plastering, and has earned it some despise.

12th Logo (October 31, 2008-March 16, 2012)

Visuals: Same as the previous logo, but with several enhancements: the text, ribbons and mask, along with its wreath, are now all in a lighter, more metallic shade of gold; the URL now reads "MGM.COM"; and the footage of Leo has been digitally enhanced.

Trivia: This was actually based on the print logo that was used by MGM Home Entertainment and MGM DVD, as seen on VHS and DVD covers and other merchandise. The gold mask used here also looks similar to the one in the 1993 MGM/UA Home Video logo. The footage of Leo in this logo is from a negative master of the 1958 film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as the original 1956 negative was believed to be lost. Leo was then given an HD enhancement, with his mane and ears digitally remodeled to remove film fuzz and blemishes. They were also made to overlap the film ribbons in order to give the logo more depth. More info on the project can be found here.

Variants:

  • A three-roar variant exists, but was never used.
  • For the closing variant and on 2009 cable broadcasts (unless the MGM Television logo was used), the logo is a brighter gold color.
  • Starting in 2011, the logo began appearing without the URL, likely due to MGM no longer releasing their own films (outside some regions) after their emergence from bankruptcy. This version first appeared on The Cutting Edge: Fire and Ice in 2010. It later made an appearance on a behind-the-scenes video of Zookeeper found on the MGM website, as well as the trailers for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 21 Jump Street and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Oddly, the roar track is not used on the former two trailers, but is still heard on the latter. The logo made its first appearance on a theatrical release of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Closing Variant: At the end of Hot Tub Time Machine and some catalog titles, in which the words "DISTRIBUTED BY MGM DISTRIBUTION CO." appear in place of the URL. On a current WGN airing of Mr. Mom, a slightly different font is used.

Technique: Live-action footage, with a digitally-made filmstrip and text. This version was created by Pacific Title.

Audio:

  • October 31, 2008-February 6, 2009: A new roar track that also has elements of the 1982 and 1995 MGM lion roars and is more powerful than its predecessor, once again mixed by Mark Mangini. This new sound was reportedly created because the current ones did not have Leo roaring thrice like the longer version. This was also used on the trailers for Fame and Hot Tub Time Machine.
  • June 12, 2009-March 16, 2012: The 1995 roar track is used.

Audio Variant: The 1995 roar track is muted on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Availability: Seen on all MGM releases from this period, starting with Quantum of Solace and ending with 21 Jump Street.

  • Other movies with this logo include Valkyrie, The Pink Panther 2, The Taking of Pelham 123, Fame, Hot Tub Time Machine and Zookeeper.
  • Despite being retired, this logo made a surprise appearance on Licorice Pizza, released on November 26, 2021.
  • Also, some movies owned by MGM when aired on cable and pay-TV, and some home media releases may plaster or precede older logos with this (one example being the 2016 Olive Films Blu-ray release of Mannequin).
  • On non-U.S. prints of Valkyrie, this logo follows the 1994 20th Century Fox logo.
  • It precedes the Universal Pictures logo on current overseas prints of Conan the Destroyer (1984), and the UA Ovoid on the Kino Lorber Blu-ray release of Fistful of Dollars (1964) (however, for the latter film, it's not attached to the actual feature, only directly preceding it according to a playlist file).
  • It can also be found on video games such as James Bond 007: Blood Stone and Goldeneye 007 (2010).
  • It also makes a surprise appearance on the YouTube Movies print of The Usual Suspects (1995).
  • The logo with the 2008 roar track can also be found at the start and end of Cop (1988) on the 2018 Blu-ray release thereof from NSM Records.

13th Logo (August 8, 2012-October 8, 2021)

Visuals: Over a black background, the logo starts with flickers of light. The image then pulls back to reveal that it is a pupil, an extreme close-up of Leo's eye. The camera zooms out to reveal Leo, the ribboning, mask and the words "TRADE MARK" on both sides (from the previous logo, all in gold and metallic) ease back with the ribbons moving (the words "ARS GRATIA ARTIS" moves from right to left), as "Metro Goldwyn Mayer" appears shimmering and eases itself above the ribboning. The company name is darker and appears to have a "shining" effect applied to it, while the mask is also different as well. Leo, whose 1957 footage is digitally restored and enhanced, like the previous logo, roars as this happens.

Trivia:

  • This is the first animated logo from the company.
  • The logo was designed by LA-based graphic design company Shine. On March 20, 2020, MGM's social banner on the studio's social pages changed to a frame-by-frame picture of Leo's footage.

Variants:

  • A still version exists, which can be seen at the end of films.
  • On the game 007 Legends and the film Skyfall, the logo is darker and appears more golden. The flickers of light at the beginning are not seen.
  • A short version exists, which can be seen on Hope Springs, and at the end of some newer prints of older films released by Orion Pictures and United Artists. It was also seen at the end of Spectre. This can be seen at the beginning of MGM's clips, trailers, and compilation videos on their official YouTube channel. This was also used as the basis of the MGM Television logo.
  • On some films, the movement of Leo's eye varies. Sometimes, it looks straight at the camera, and other times it moves as if Leo was looking around, either once or twice.

Technique: Live-action footage for Leo, and CGI for all other elements.

Audio: The 1995 roar is used, along with whooshes throughout the animation and the sound of a running film projector before the roar. The noise dies down after the first roar. There is also an extra growling sound added after the second roar.

Audio Variants:

  • None for the still closing variant.
  • On the Skyfall teaser trailer, there is a shortened version of the 1995 roar.
  • The version seen on Shine's website has the standard 1995 roar without any additional sound effects.
  • The Hobbit movies, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and 22 Jump Street have the opening theme of the film without the whooshes and projector sounds, just the roaring. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Spectre, and Me Before You have the opening theme of the movie with the whooshes and projector sounds and roaring.
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation also has the 2008 roar track.
  • A strange reverse plaster with the 1982 MGM/UA Home Video fanfare was found on the Brazilian Portuguese dub of Exterminator 2 (1984).

Availability: It can be seen on every MGM film from 2012 until 2021, starting with Hope Springs (albeit a shortened version) and ending with some select prints of No Time to Die (2021).

  • A shorter version of the logo actually first appeared on the teaser trailer for said film, while the full version of the logo was first seen on Skyfall.
    • It can also be found on the MGM 90th Anniversary trailer promo, and on Shine's website, seen here.
  • This logo is also seen on some current prints of films, such as the remastered Blu-ray releases of The Terminator, and the original RoboCop before the Orion logo, on the 2016 remastered Blu-ray release of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly before the UA Ovoid, various 4K Blu-ray releases such as Rain Man and Motel Hell, and some later digital and TV prints of films such as The Evictors, Rocky Mountain Express, Jeepers Creepers, and The Call of the Wild (1976); among other examples.
  • It also makes a surprise appearance on current digital prints of Masters of the Universe and Invaders from Mars followed by the Cannon Films logo.
  • It is also seen on the documentary Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of James Bond.
  • It is also preserved at the start of an Amazon Prime Video streaming print of the 2023 pilot of 007: Road to a Million.
  • When the next logo debuted with Respect, a short transitional period began between the logos.
    • This logo is seen at the end of Candyman (2021) and No Time to Die (the next logo is used on some select and digital/home media prints; but all theatrical prints (plus the home media releases of the common international print) have this logo at the end instead; albeit with the sounds from this logo being used alongside the film's opening theme).

14th Logo (August 13, 2021-)

Visuals: On a black background, a golden, rounded square passes by, bringing in a bright light. Another square passes while the screen zooms out through another to reveal it is inside the golden filmstrip ribbon. The ribbon zooms out and settles in place, this time reading "ART FOR ART'S SAKE" (the English translation of the usual "ARS GRATIA ARTIS") written in MGM's custom typeface (named Metro Mayer Serif). A bright light is seen filtering out of the words in the ribbon, filling it with gold. By the time the light fades away from the right, the ribbon gains an extremely shiny metallic luster, and the English translation changes back to its familiar Latin version. The ribbons on either side of the circle unfurl into their familiar form as Leo (now an updated, photorealistic CGI rendering of him, based on the 1957 footage) fades in and roars. The mask (once again redesigned, with a solid mouth this time) and leaf-like design around it grow and fade from the darkness, and the company name zooms out (just like the previous logo) and shines on top of the ribbon, with "TRADE MARK" fading in shortly after. The entire logo has a subtle, faint golden shine all around it.

Trivia:

  • This was designed by Baked Studios and was originally made in 2019, two years before the logo's proper debut. It was originally scheduled to premiere on No Time to Die when it had its original November 2019 release date. However, due to the film getting delayed multiple times until October 2021 due to the production troubles caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this logo ended up making its debut online in March 2021 instead. Just like the previous logo, a frame-by-frame picture of Leo's footage is used as the profile banner on Amazon MGM Studios' social pages.
  • As mentioned above, this logo was first uploaded to MGM's official YouTube channel on March 8, 2021.
  • Alongside this logo, a new monogram wordmark was introduced, using the logo's classic font instead of serif lettering.
  • The logo was shortlisted at the 2021 Clio Entertainment Awards, but it didn't win.
  • The 100th anniversary variant pays homages to the 1974 and 1984 anniversaries such as the "100" fading into Leo's footage (like in the 1974 logo, with "BEGINNING OUR NEXT 50 YEARS...") and "100 YEARS OF ENTERTAINMENT" (similar to the "SIXTY YEARS OF GREAT ENTERTAINMENT" phrase from 1984). Furthermore, the print version replaces the lion with "100".

Byline: Starting with Sitting in Bars with Cake, released on September 8, 2023, the byline "AN AMAZON COMPANY" (in the Amazon Ember font) is shown in gold and fades in below the MGM logo.

Variants:

  • At the end of the logo, as part of the brand evolution video, when the logo fades out, following Leo fading out, the first letter in each of the three words in the company's name are formed together to make the "MGM" brand wordmark with the words "ART FOR ART'S SAKE" on the top and "BRAND EVOLUTION" on the bottom appearing after the wordmark is formed.
  • A short version exists starting when Leo appears. The golden filmstrip ribbon forms a lot faster, the company name zooms out faster, and Leo roars once in this variation. This can be seen at the beginning of MGM's clips, trailers, and compilation videos on their official YouTube channel. This was also used as the basis of the MGM Television logo.
  • Sometimes, the logo starts at the point where the filmstrip ribbon zooms out, skipping the part with the golden rounded squares.
  • For the closing variant, the corporate version of the logo is used; except on Surrounded where it's just a still shot of the finished logo.
  • To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 007 franchise, MGM made a special variant for the occasion. When Leo starts to roar, the logo zooms out to the left, while the text appears earlier and zooms out at a slower rate. As on the right, there are the words "60 YEARS OF BOND" (with the "60" being seen on top in large font, while "YEARS OF BOND" is seen below in much smaller letters). On the 6 is the older 007 logo fade in number by number, and then when the gun fades in, the tip of the gun appears from the left of the "0", creating the 60 Years of Bond logo.
  • On Screenpix On Demand's print of the 1953 film A Day to Remember, the logo, in color is cut short; before the second 1995 roar plays, it cuts to the film's original J. Arthur Rank Organisation logo in black and white.
  • During their 100th anniversary, a golden "100" appears in front of the ribboning (with the camera focusing on it) before settling into the circle. The number then disappears in dust (meaning that the footage appears a bit late) and the logo plays as normal, but a golden glow is shown to reveal the text "100 YEARS OF ENTERTAINMENT", wiping from the middle to both the left and right sides. The glow then dissipates, and the text shines slightly.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A majestic, orchestral five-note fanfare and a whoosh play in the beginning (notably marking the first time the logo has been complimented with a proper fanfare), which ends in a somber, violin-esque descent as the 1995 roar track caps it off. Composed by Sounds Red.

Audio Variants:

  • Like the previous logo, none for the still closing variant.
  • On some films, the opening theme plays over without the fanfare and just the roaring.
  • Several unused fanfares exist on Sounds Red's Vimeo, including three re-orchestrated versions of the actual fanfare. They can be heard here.
    • The first fanfare sounds nearly identical to the final fanfare, except the whoosh is omitted, and a bass drop is heard during the fourth note of the fanfare. The fanfare is also drawn out longer, not fading out even after Leo appears.
    • The second fanfare omits the harp and the first three horn notes, while a slightly different and louder whoosh is heard at the beginning.
    • The third fanfare still omits the first three horn notes and does not have the whoosh sound this time, but reinstates the harp at the beginning and also has a bass drop just like the first prototype fanfare.
  • Some films such as Three Thousand Years of Longing, Creed III and U.S. prints of Challengers (which appears after the prologue; international prints have the logo appear before the film itself) have the opening theme heard without the roaring.
  • On No Time to Die, the sounds from the previous logo was used alongside the opening theme.
  • On the 60 Years of Bond variant, the iconic James Bond intro sound (based on the remastered version of the James Bond theme from Dr. No, composed by Monty Norman and performed by the John Barry Orchestra) plays over Leo's second roar after the fanfare and Leo's first roar. The whoosh sound effects in the fanfare are also removed.
    • On Thirteen Lives, only the roaring is heard alongside the movie's opening theme.
    • On The Sound of 007, the whoosh sound in the fanfare was added back and the last note of the Bond intro sound was re-arranged and extended, along with a drum hit alongside the guitar strum.
  • On a Screenpix print of the end of Space Probe Taurus (1965), the first half of the 1982 roar is heard.
  • On Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles, the logo is higher pitched likely due to PAL speedup since this film is Australian.

Availability: Seen on almost every MGM film beginning with Respect.

  • The version with the byline first appeared on the teaser trailer for Saltburn, and later appeared on Sitting in Bars with Cake, released on September 8, 2023.
  • It was later seen at the beginning of 2021's Candyman (as a variant) while the previous logo is used at the end, and on some select prints of No Time to Die (other theatrical prints as well as a Spanish print and an Asian print use the previous logo).
  • It has also begun to plaster some older logos up to the 2001 URL variant on new prints of older releases, such as on the Screenpix On Demand print of A Day to Remember, albeit cutting off after the first roar.
  • Furthermore, MGM posted a brand evolution video, showcasing the evolution of the three unique elements of the logo: the lion, the "ARS GRATA ARTIS" filmstrip, and the company's name style, mask, and "TRADEMARK" wording along with the registered trademark from later versions of the logo, from Slats from the first MGM logo in 1924 to the CGI Leo from the current logo, with the CGI Leo footage being sped up until it freezes on the same frame used in the print logo, before showing its logo, after each of the logo's elements are deformed, one by one, when it zooms in, which can be shown here.
  • The "60 Years of Bond" variant was first posted online on January 19, 2022, with it later appearing on the limited IMAX re-release of No Time To Die two days later.
    • It also made appearances on Thirteen Lives and The Sound of 007, two Prime Video originals.
  • Other plastered appearances include the Screenpix print of Space Probe Taurus (1965) along with the 1997 Orion Pictures logo, international remastered prints of The Addams Family (1991), where it precedes the 1990 version of the 1986 Paramount logo at the beginning and also follows it at the end; Paramount+'s print of Lois Gibbs and the Love Canal (1982), a later print of The Aeronauts on iTunes UK, the end of the Capelight Pictures Blu-ray release of Red River (1948), and at the start and end of a Tubi streaming print of The Heavenly Kid (1985).
  • The 100th anniversary variant made its debut on the Amazon Original film Road House.

Legacy: Considered as a stunning update to the MGM logo for its CGI, fanfare, and use of the English "Art for Art's Sake", although the lion's CGI form was not as well-received at first.

Copyright Stamps

  • 1924-1938: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (or Distributing) Corporation (with the MGM secondary logo at the center). To the left of the MGM secondary logo, the text "Controlled by LOEW'S INCORPORATED" appears.
  • 1938-1960: Copyright © by Loew's, Incorporated. (MGM officially split from Loew's in 1959)
  • 1960-1980, 1992-1996: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
  • 1981-1982: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Co. (MGM Studios and MGM Grand were split into two companies on May 30, 1980)
  • 1982-1986: Copyright © by MGM/UA Entertainment Co. (MGM merged with United Artists on July 28, 1981)
  • 1986-1987: Copyright © by MGM Entertainment Co. (MGM split from United Artists when Ted Turner purchased the studio and then sold the remnants of MGM/UA back to Kerkorian)
  • 1987-: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Inc. (Used for theatrical releases)
  • 1989-1990: Copyright © by MGM/UA Pictures, Inc. (Used on B-list releases from the time)
  • 1991-1992: Copyright © by MGM-Pathé Communications Co. (MGM was acquired by Pathé Communications in 1990)
  • 1991: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, a Division of MGM-Pathé Communications Co. (Appeared on Delirious)
  • 1996-2023: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. (current copyright claimant of United Artists films and older post-1986 MGM movies)
  • 2023-present: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Inc. (current copyright claimant for Amazon MGM Studios releases under the MGM banner)

References

External links

Metro Pictures
Goldwyn Pictures
Louis B. Mayer Pictures
Solax Studios
United Artists
United Artists Releasing
Allied Artists Pictures Corporation
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios
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