Renaissance Pictures

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum



Background

Renaissance Pictures was the production company founded by film director, Sam Raimi (creator of the controversial Evil Dead series, Darkman, the first three Spider-Man films and the MCU movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and the founding partner of Ghost House Pictures). Although the company started up in 1982, Raimi didn't use an animated logo until 1994. The company's offices have been housed on the Universal Studios backlot since 1987, and most of their productions beginning with Darkman, have been released by Universal. In 2019, the company changed its name to Raimi Productions.

1st Logo (August 26, 1994)

Visuals: In space, the words "RENAISSANCE PICTURES" (stacked on top of each other with "PICTURES" in spaced-out letters, in blue) are suspended above the Earth. The sun rises behind the name, as it rotates upwards to face the viewers (like the 1968 MGM film, 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A high whoosh.

Availability: It was originally seen on the pilot episode of M.A.N.T.I.S.

2nd Logo (September 2, 1994-April 29, 2018, May 13, 2022)



Visuals: The camera zooms out on an engraving-like portrait (on what appears to be a piece of aging parchment at first glance) of someone in 16th century dress (though the head is about all that's seen, and it bears a striking resemblance to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa). A crack appears on the bottom right, and then the portrait then zooms in toward the viewer, ripping into two pieces in the process. As the ripped portrait's two pieces pull away, some lightning flashes are seen with crashing thunder. When the portrait's sections clear the screen, one more lightning flash occurs, this time revealing the words "Renaissance" in a strange script typeface known as Pepita, and "PICTURES" below it in spaced-out letters, in the Friz Quadrata typeface (best known for being used in the logos of the original six Fox stations, the end credits of DreamWorks Animation movies, and the Law & Order logo).

Variants:

  • An early version of the logo exists where the crack appears early as the portrait finishes zooming out before it rips into two pieces. The zoom out is also slower. This variant only appears on the first two TV movies of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
  • A short version exists, which starts with with the company name appearing, glowing, and then dimming. This version is only known to exist on one show, American Gothic. Only the sound of thunder is heard.
  • Another short version also exists, which begins with the portrait already still before the crack appears.
  • An abridged warp-speed version of the logo also exists, which appears on Legend of the Seeker and Ash vs. the Evil Dead, respectively. Also, it's enhanced.
  • A still version of this logo also exists. The text only appears in this variation.
  • An open matte version of this logo also exists.
  • A variant where the brightness darkens during the flash on the logo also exists, which was seen on a July 2019 UK rerun of an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess on 4Music. This was most likely done to prevent people from getting seizures.

Technique: Computer animation.

Audio: A sound bite of a Tibetan chant, a loud ripping noise, and the thunder. Tibetan monks are known for singing in a very low vocal register, which makes this logo very ominous.

Audio Variants:

  • On M.A.N.T.I.S. and season 2 episodes of Cleopatra 2525, it's the finishing of the closing theme.
  • On Ash vs. the Evil Dead, only a loud whoosh is heard; it is silent on the portrait zooming out.
  • CBS airings of American Gothic used Letterman's voice over promos over the logo.

Availability:

  • The long version appears on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (including the TV movies) and Xena: Warrior Princess (the former is seen on H&I) while the latter was last seen when the show reran on Oxygen) and also appeared on Darkman II: The Return of Durant, Darkman III: Die Darkman Die, Hercules and Xena: The Battle for Mount Olympus, some episodes of Young Hercules, and at least one episode of Legend of the Seeker, respectively.
  • The short version with only the text appeared only on American Gothic, which was last seen on Chiller.
  • The still version appeared on episodes of M.A.N.T.I.S. excluding the pilot episode, which has the previous logo.
  • The short version with the portrait intact has appeared on the short-lived series Jack of All Trades and Cleopatra 2525, as well as Young Hercules (which was last seen when Encore WAM, now Starz Encore Family, reran it) and the short-lived ABC series Spy Game (which is then followed by the 1994 Warner Bros. Television and 1991 Universal Television logos on the latter).
  • It was last seen on Ash vs Evil Dead on Starz; the show was cancelled after three seasons.
  • It also makes a surprise appearance on Evil Dead: The Game.
Renaissance Pictures
Raimi Productions
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