Orion Classics

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Orion Classics was initially the indie/art-house movie division of Orion Pictures Corporation that was established in 1983. Orion Classics acquired independent and foreign films for North American distribution, in addition to producing some art-house films of its own. Originally, it was headed by Michael Barker, Tom Bernard, and Marcie Bloom (the same people who started United Artists Classics two years earlier). As Orion headed into bankruptcy, they left to head Sony Pictures Classics, the indie/art-house movie arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1992. In May 1986, Metromedia acquired a 6.5% share in Orion, it was later increased to 9.3% and to 12.6%. National Amusements, Inc. acquired 6.42% in Orion's stock; however, on May 20, 1988, John Kludge acquired Sumner Redstone's share in Orion for $78 million by holding nearly 67%. In 1996, Kludge acquired Samuel Goldwyn Entertainment and merged with Orion by becoming "Orion/Goldwyn" and merged the classics division into Goldwyn (later rebranded as "Goldwyn Films" and then as "G2 Films" by MGM). Both Orion and SGE were sold to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1997, with the latter's function of producing and/or distributing independent films were assumed by MGM's United Artists division. In May 2018, Orion Classics has revived by MGM as a multiplatform distribution label for VOD, Theatrical and Digital in a similar vein to Lionsgate Premiere.

1st Logo (July 29, 1983-October 11, 1996, June 28, 2018- )

Visuals: Same as the standard logo of the era, but there is a freeze-frame and "CLASSICS" (in blue in a similar font as above) fades-in below.

Variant: In 2018, the logo was slightly updated just like the standard Orion Pictures logo with "CLASSICS" in a smaller font and the "AN MGM COMPANY" byline at the lower bottom. Also, the freeze-frame is removed.

Technique: Same as the standard Orion Pictures logo of the time.

Audio: In most cases, the logo is silent or has the opening music playing over the film.

Audio Variants:

  • Sometimes, the standard Orion jingle would be used. That also became slightly more frequent after the 2018 revamp, such as in Nada é por Acaso.
  • Sometimes, the 1980-1990 Gaumont fanfare would be used on its films Orion distributed, such as My Mother's Castle, in which the 1985 Gaumont logo is plastered over.


  • This appears on art-house films released by Orion Classics, such as Boxing Helena, Rhapsody in August, Jesus of Montreal, and Slacker, among others.
  • This logo is occasionally seen on airings of the after-mentioned films on IFC and Sundance Channel, but other companies' logos may appear in its place on DVD releases and newer prints.
  • It is also intact on the original MGM DVD releases of Theremin: An Electric Odyssey, Jean de Florette, Manon of the Spring, and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
  • It also appears (in full) on the U.S. trailers for Manon of the Spring, My Mother's Castle, My Father's Glory, Babette's Feast, and Cyrano de Bergerac on their MGM DVD releases.
  • The updated version with the MGM byline first appeared on the theatrical trailer of The Domestics.
  • This logo also makes surprise appearances on the Artisan DVD release of Trees Lounge (before the Artisan logo strangely, although it most likely plasters over the Live logo.), and the Arrow UK DVD release of the U.S. version of Opera (titled Terror At The Opera); it is currently unknown if it is intact on the U.S. SouthGate Entertainment VHS release of the latter film, and the limited Scorpion Releasing US Blu-ray release of Opera plasters it with the standard Orion logo, as does the UK Cult Films Blu-ray release.
  • It has also been spotted on the 2022 Brazilian film Nada é por Acaso, with the fanfare intact.
  • The B&W variant appeared at the end of a ThisTV airing of season 1 episode 13 of The Addams Family.
  • This logo also may have been seen on the U.S. theatrical print of My Beautiful Launderette. However, the U.S. Karl-Lorimar and the Canadian Cineplex Odeon VHS releases and the 2003 MGM DVD releases omit this logo.
    • It is unknown if it is retained on the Criterion DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film.
  • It is also unknown if any prints of the 1985 Akira Kurosawa film Ran retains this logo.

2nd Logo (January 31, 1997-September 24, 1999)

Visuals: Same as the 1996 logo, but "CLASSICS" replaces "PICTURES".

Technique: Same as the standard 1996 logo.

Audio: Same as the standard 1996 logo.

Audio Variants:

  • Other times it would be silent or have the film's opening theme.
  • On some Gaumont films released in the U.S., it would use the music from the 1995 logo.


  • Occasionally seen on films shown on IFC and the Sundance Channel.
  • This logo can be seen on One Man's Hero.
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