Sony Pictures Entertainment

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


In the midst of and following a global recession in the mid-1980s, Sony developed the compact disc and acquired The CBS Records Group as its music division and, on November 8, 1989, Columbia Pictures Entertainment, founded on December 21, 1987, as a spinoff from The Coca-Cola Company, which Columbia's entertainment businesses were acquired by TriStar Pictures (which Coca-Cola owned 39.6% of), as its film and television division, which would be renamed as Sony Pictures Entertainment on August 7, 1991. Sony also acquired The Guber-Peters Entertainment Company on November 9, 1989 after hiring Peter Guber and Jon Peters to run CPE.

Sony Pictures Entertainment consists of various film and television studios. The company currently includes the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group: Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems Pictures, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Pictures International Productions, and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (Triumph Films, Destination Films, Stage 6 Films, and Affirm Films) for film production and distribution. The motion picture group also includes its home entertainment division, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for home media distribution. SPE also owns its television division Sony Pictures Television for television production and distribution and with other television companies under its umbrella such as: Embassy Row, Left Bank Pictures, Starling and Huaso, among others. Also included are: the Sony Pictures Studios, Sony Pictures Worldwide Fulfillment, Madison Gate Records, and more. Today, Sony Pictures Entertainment is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment.

1st Logo (September 23, 1988)

Visuals: Over a black background, the logo starts with "SONY PICTURES" fade in. After a couple of seconds, "presents" fades in below "SONY PICTURES".

Technique: Fading effects and a still graphic.

Audio: A calm and peaceful synth fanfare, similar to the Pony Video logo from the same time.

Availability: Seen on Tiger Warsaw.

Legacy: The earliest production logo for Sony's film division, predating the Sony bars.

2nd Logo (1992)

Visuals: On a black background, there is a blue segmented parallelogram with a blue line below. The right side of the parallelogram thickens and fill up with orange-white glare. From the blue line below, "SONY" and "PICTURES" emerge from the top and the bottom of it respectively. The line then disappears.

Technique: Computer animation.

Audio: The theme of the video, a synthesized disco tune composed on a Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. It's actually a stock track named "Tokyo Exchange" by Nicholas Glennie-Smith.

Availability: This was seen three times on a video showing SPE's plans for Culver City (0:00, 0:41, and 8:46 marks).

Legacy: Perhaps the earliest known appearance of the SPE bars onscreen, with twelve bars instead of eleven.

3rd Logo (2009-Early 2010s)

Visuals: The screen pans down from a 3D model of the SPE bars, until it stops on a comfortable distance to reveal the text "SONY PICTURES" set in its corporate font, with a tiny registered symbol next to it. The white part of the logo shines.


  • Other reels include personalized variants like one with the Pink Panther. In this version, the logo animates as usual. However, the bars gain a pink color as the Pink Panther walks in from the right, and picks up a pink light behind the logo, dimming the logo, and the Pink Panther walks away.
  • A Terminator variant also exists whereas when the animation finishes, the logo becomes black and white and static-shocked. Another variant has one bar in the logo become red, replicating the Terminator's red eye.

Technique: CGI animation.

Audio: A deep one-note synth pad, similar to the start of the 1987 United Artists logo.

Audio Variants:

  • The Pink Panther variant uses the opening theme of the reel - a hip-hop/techno remix of the iconic Pink Panther theme song.
  • The Terminator variant has loud drum beats from the Terminator theme mixed in with the fanfare. Near the end, an airy noise that rises in volume which stutters when the logo is static-shocked is heard.

Availability: Only seen on a 2009 Brazilian reel from the company. The variants were seen on other Brazilian reels.

4th Logo (August 6, 2021-)

Visuals: The sequence starts with the 2021 Sony logo. Then, the logo transitions to the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment logo, but without the "HOME ENTERTAINMENT" text and line. It is also positioned upwards.

Closing Variant: The superimposed closing variant features a print version of the SPE logo in white. There is also an added bar, extending the logo.


  • During the early usage of this logo, the 2014 Sony logo was used instead, the transition is faster and the logo was sped-up and is over-saturated.
  • On the trailer for The Man from Toronto (2022), the logo is beside the Netflix and BRON logos, starting when the logo stops shining. Also, starting with this variant, the logo is saturated normally.

Technique: CGI animation by Brian Castleforte and Sean Koriakin for Imaginary Forces.

Audio: The music from the SPHE logo composed by Lee Sanders, sometimes shortened and sped-up.

Availability: The early opening version was only seen on 2021's Cinderella, while the closing version debuted earlier on Vivo, and later appeared on Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (the Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation logos appears in the beginning on said films). The current variant debuted on The Man from Toronto with the 2021 Sony logo and may be seen on future streaming-only films from Sony.

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