Sony Pictures Animation

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

Sony Pictures Animation is an American animation studio owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment through their Motion Picture Group division and founded on May 9, 2002. Most of the studio's films are distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Releasing under their Columbia Pictures label (with the exception of Fixed, which will be co-distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures through New Line Cinema), while all direct-to-video releases are released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. In 2001, Sony Pictures considered selling off its visual effects facility Sony Pictures Imageworks but after failing to find a suitable buyer, having been impressed with the CGI sequences of Stuart Little 2 and seeing the box office successes of DreamWorks Animation's Shrek and Disney/Pixar's Monsters, Inc., SPI was reconfigured to become an animation studio. In 2002, Sony Pictures Animation was established to develop characters, stories and movies with SPI taking over the digital production while maintaining its visual effects production.

The studio is well known for the Open Season, Surf's Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Smurfs, Hotel Transylvania, Goosebumps, and Spider-Verse franchises, and the films Arthur Christmas, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (released overseas as The Pirates! Band of Misfits), The Emoji Movie, The Star, Peter Rabbit, The Angry Birds Movie 2, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Wish Dragon, and Vivo. The company didn't use a logo until 2006, when their first film Open Season was released.



1st Logo (September 29, 2006-December 2, 2011)


Visuals: On a light blue background, some letters come towards the screen out of nowhere. As a "t" jumps forward, a "n" runs by, and an "o" rolls down, an "i" slides while an "a" spins around. Then the "i" comes back, trips, and loses its dot, as the "m" dodges it, hitting the "a". The dot bounces off a ton of letters while the now dotless "i" tries to catch it. Then all the letters bounce back and are revealed to be the letters in the word "animation", followed by the words "SONY PICTURES" dropping down below. The logo slowly zooms out until all the letters fall down.

Variants:

  • On short films, it is already formed; however, the camera zooms in slowly, and the word "animation" is missing the "o". Said letter then drops down and squeezes between "i" and "n" as it knocks both out, sending the dot on the "i" throwing itself to the left. The "m" crawls slightly left as the "n" spins and kicks the "i"'s dot back to where it belongs. The rest of the logo plays normally after that.
  • A still version of the logo exists.
  • On the DTV film Open Season 3 and the special The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol, the logo is sped up. When the animation is finished, it freezes instead of falling down at the end. On the latter, the animation plays in normal speed.

Technique: CGI from Sony Pictures Imageworks in association with Carey Conley from BLT & Associates.

Audio: A fast-paced jazzy fanfare composed by James Newton Howard. When the logo falls apart, a crowd is heard groaning.

Audio Variants:

  • Mostly the opening theme plays over it.
  • The shorts variant has the last few seconds of the music, with the first half carrying it from the Columbia Pictures logo.

Availability:

  • Seen on the first movies from the company starting with Open Season and ending with The Smurfs.
  • The original version only appears on Open Season (the studio's first film and the first to use this logo) and Open Season 2.
  • Also seen on the first two Open Season DTV sequels, as well as the short films The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol, Boog and Elliot's Midnight Bun Run, and The ChubbChubbs Save Xmas.
  • This was also seen on the games of the named titles.
  • This was even seen on some tailers of Arthur Christmas and The Pirates: Band of Mistfits, but both films use the next logo.

2nd Logo (November 11, 2011-October 25, 2018)


Visuals: On a white background, the company name in a wacky font zooms out and bounce letter-by-letter. They stop when they reach the middle position. An arc is visible in "Animation", separating the blue into two shades.

Variants:

  • A still version of the logo exists.
  • On TV shows, the logo is in warp-speed and zooms out, making it look open-matted. Sometimes, this variant is shortened without the zooming.
  • On The Star and Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, since the Columbia Pictures logo doesn't appear in these films, the Sony logo transitions to this logo.

Technique: Stylized CGI.

Audio: Cartoony sound effects from each of the letters:

  • Sony Pictures text: A monkey noise.
  • Uppercase A: A choppy cowbell noise, followed by a juicy thud.
  • First n: Children laughing.
  • First i: A boing.
  • m: A splotchy thud.
  • Lowercase a: A choppy cowbell noise.
  • t: A twirling noise, followed by a splotchy thud.
  • Second i: Bamboo sticks rattling.
  • o: A monkey rattling.
  • Second n: A cartoonish boing, followed by a splotchy cowbell sound.

The sound effects also vary depending on the film.

Audio Variants:

  • On Arthur Christmas, a cartoonish orchestral theme ending with a synth drone is heard.
  • In some cases, the opening/closing theme of the movie/show plays over the logo.
  • On Open Season: Scared Silly, the logo begins with a thunder sound effect while the opening theme plays over the logo.
  • On the TV adaptation of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a joyful fanfare is heard.
  • On the animatic of the cancelled Popeye film, it is silent, then ocean sounds are heard after.

Availability:

  • It can be seen on films produced by the company from this era, beginning with Arthur Christmas and ending with Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.
  • The fully-animated version debuted on Hotel Transylvania.
  • Also seen on the short films Goodnight Mr. Foot, The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow, and the DTV films Open Season: Scared Silly and Surf's Up 2: WaveMania.
  • It is also seen on the TV adaptation of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and season 1 of Hotel Transylvania: The Series, as well as Cartoon Hangover's Go! Cartoons shorts.

Legacy: While it didn't live up to the previous logo's quirkiness, though still a memorable logo, its later association with the infamous The Emoji Movie had tainted its reputation.

3rd Logo (June 24, 2015-October 12, 2018)

Visuals: On a black background, a backlight illuminates some letters. A blue-tinted spotlight then flies over and reveals the text from the previous logo with its shadows bending in response to the light as it dims. It then fades into full color and the spotlight disappears while it slowly animates.

Variants:

  • On Peter Rabbit, preceding from the Sony logo, the text fades in as it moves forward and shines briefly up to the letter "a", where the shine becomes a very bright light, which fades into the Columbia Pictures logo.
  • On Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, the text is light purple.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: The opening theme of the movie.

Availability: Appears only on three films: Goosebumps, its sequel Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, and Peter Rabbit, all of which were live-action films with some CGI characters that were not produced by SPA, but released under the label.

4th Logo (December 1, 2018-)


Visuals: On a black background, the text (with "SONY PICTURES" in Brandon Grotesque Bold and "ANIMATION" in Arbotek Ultra) flickers and illuminates like a neon sign on a dark blue background. After a few seconds, the text flickers out back into darkness.

Variants:

  • A prototype version appeared on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse where the text is more blue (similar to the previous two logos) and the background is black.
  • On Wish Dragon and TV shows from the company, the Sony Entertainment logo transitions to it.
  • Sometimes, the print logo appears on a white background.

Technique: CGI, done at Devastudios.

Audio: None or the opening theme of the movie.

Audio Variants:

  • On the final season of Hotel Transylvania: The Series, the closing theme of the show is heard.
  • The TV version just uses the corporate Sony ding.

Availability:

  • It was first seen on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as a prototype variant and has appeared on all their current productions since.
  • The standard version has so far appeared on Wish Dragon, Hair Love (which is the standard variant's theatrical debut), Monster Pets, and the video game Hotel Transylvania: Scary-Tale Adventures.
  • The television variant has so far appeared on the second and final season of Hotel Transylvania: The Series, as well as Agent Elvis, the company's first adult animated project.
  • This doesn't appear on Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, as Sony Pictures Animation had no involvement with the film.