United Artists Theatres

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


1st Opening (Early 1970s-1979)


Visuals: On a black background, the letters "U" and "A" pan across the screen in a Scanimation effect before sliding into place to form the UA Theaters logo of the era; namely a red UA against a yellow border resembling a prototype of its movie counterpart's 1982 logo. Once the logo is formed, the text "United Artists Theatre Circuit, Inc." slides into place via a similar effect. The UA begins zooming out while the text "Presents" slides in from the right and positions itself between the previous text, causing it to glide towards the top/bottom of the screen respectively before disappearing. The "Presents" text then disintegrates via one last scan effect, its artifacts enveloping the full screen as the trailer ends.

Technique: Scanimate animation.

Audio: A percussion-based theme that abruptly ends with a loud brass sounder.

Availability: Seen on 35mm film reels produced by the company in the 1970s.

2nd Opening (1979-1982)


Visuals: Unknown

Technique: 2D animation by Cinema Concepts and Cascom.

Audio: Unknown

Availability: This opening is currently lost media, as no photo or video of it has surfaced online as of now. It could be preserved on some film reels from the company however.

3rd Opening (1982-1989)

Left to right: 1982-87 policy trailer (cropped and open matte), 1982-87 feature presentation bumper, 1987-89 policy trailer

Visuals: The sequence opens with the word "Welcome" (formed out of spotlights) sliding into place, then the words "To A" flash into place underneath. The letter "UA" (now in a slimed-down font) slide into position via a trailing effect, followed by the word "Theatre" (also formed out of spotlights) sliding in underneath. Several lights shine across the completed text. A firework explosion transitions into the next screen, in which the words "May We Suggest" flash into place surrounded by a red glow of light. A light scans across the text before another firework explodes to reveal the next screen. This pattern continues throughout the trailer, the various screens being as follows:

  • A starlight forming the words "For the Comfort and Safety of our Patrons", following by two No Smoking signs sliding into place at the left and right of the screen. The word "SMOKING" in a Hollywood font flashes into place, following by the words "is Prohibited in this Auditorium" in the same font as the top text. A light shines across the word "SMOKING" and the two No Smoking signs.
  • The text "We Ask for your Cooperation in Helping" appears, following by starlights flashing the words "KEEP OUR THEATRE CLEAN". A "Pitch In" sign then slides into place underneath. A light shines on the corner of the sign. Then the words "Please Deposit All Containers and Litter in Trash Receptacles Located in Theatre" flash onto to top of the screen as a pair of garbage cans slide in underneath. The cans then flash the same "Pitch In" sign that appears in the center of the screen.
  • The words "Check Local Newspaper Listings For" appear, then the words "Bargain Matinees" (again made up of spotlights) slide in underneath. The words "and" appears, followed by the words "Late Shows" sliding in as before. Several lights shine across the completed text.
  • The words "This Theatre is Available" zoom up to fill the top of the screen. The words "For Rental"-again in spotlights-slide in underneath. The text "Please See Manager" then fades in at the bottom. After this, the center text changes first to "For Special Group Meetings" and then to "Or Showings" via the same sliding effect.
  • The UA logo appears again, then three gift certificates flash into place to its left. The words "Gift Certificate" (once again formed of spotlights) slide in underneath the "UA". The words "Perfect Gift For Someone Special" then slide in above the logo. "On Sale at the Box Office" fades in at the bottom, followed by more lights shining.
  • The text "Retain Your Ticket Stub" slides in from the right while a ticket slides in from the left. The text "Switching Auditoriums" flashes in underneath, followed by the words "Is Prohibited" sliding in underneath and briefly flashing.
  • The words "Watch For" (once again formed of spotlights) slide in at the top left and right at a slanted angle while the text "Big Savings at the Snack Bar" zooms in to fill the center. The center text flashes as it stops. The smaller text "During Special Concession Promotions" fades in underneath as lights shine across "Big Savings".
  • The words "Courtesy Please" slide in at the top of the screen, then the words "and Observe Silence During" flash into place underneath. The words "Feature Presentation" then slide in toward the bottom. The smaller text "Crying Babies Should be taken to Theatre Lobby" then fades in. The entire text fades out as the words "Courtesy is Contagious" (once more made of spotlights) slides in at an angle.
  • A starlight writes in the text "If there are projection and sound problems or the temperature of this auditorium is uncomfortable", followed by "Please Notify the Management" flashing in underneath. Under this the word "IMMEDIATELY" (again made of spotlights) slides in.
  • Finally, the last screen writes out the words "Thanks for your Cooperation" at a right angle. The text is once more made of spotlights. A final light appears and moves across the text.

After all is said and done, the final explosion reveals a series of blue-purple spotlights which fly across the screen to reveal a color wheel-like ring with a flipping circle in its center. The color wheel zooms toward the camera until it disappears, transitioning to the completed center circle-now black with a blue border against a darker blue beam of light. The word "Escape" (in script font) writes itself in at the top, then the words "...to the Movies"-complete with a trail effect-slide in from the right. The trail zooms downward until it meets the main text and then flashes. A series of lights appear from the left and move into the right side of the circle, where they draw themselves into a ticket bearing the UA name and logo. The text "U.A. Communications, Inc." then flashes into place underneath the circle. Several more lights shine, then the text "Invites You To Enjoy The Show" (also in script font) fades in via a "shining" effect. The entire circle then shines one last time before fading out.

Trivia: The flashing transitions in between each notice is actually stock footage from Cascom (specifically Color Burst.)

Variants:

  • Fall 1987-1989: The opening was shortened, removing the clean-up, gift certificate, snack bar and courtesy segments (which likely moved to a separate opening). "Thank You" is formed near the end instead of "Thanks for your Cooperation", and "United Artists Theatre Circuit Inc." in a different font appears at the end instead of "UA Communications, Inc."
  • After the previews, the ending of this opening (starting after "Thanks for your Cooperation") would be repeated as a "feature presentation" bumper.

Technique: 2D animation by Cinema Concepts and Cascom.

Audio: "Ponderosa" by Craig Everett Palmer, with two banjo-heavy sections removed.

4th Opening (1989-1992)


Visuals: The screen fades into a series of segmented red-orange lines which slide across to reveal the new United Artists Theaters logo (a stylized star formed out of the second "S" in United Artists). The camera then pans downward to reveal a hallway and then a white light appears. The light flashes the left and right walls, changing both into the same segmented lines as before. The camera pans across the hallway, stopping at each of a series of marble tiles which read various theater policies, which are as follows:

  • Tile #1: "Welcome to United Artists Theaters" (flips over) "Your Comfort and Entertainment is our Concern"
  • Tile #2: "Thank You for Not Smoking" (flips over) A No Smoking sign forms.
  • Tile #3: "Enjoy Quality Refreshments" (flips over) A pictogram display popcorn and soda is formed.
  • Tile #4: "Please Deposit Litter in Trash Receptacles" (flips over) A pictogram forms of a person discarding their waste.
  • Tile #5: "Please Observe Silence" (flips over) "Enjoy the Show!"

The last tile then crossfades into another hallway, which pans upward and reveals a starry night sky. The United Artists Theaters logo with the name revealing "UNITED ARTISTS" next to it then slides upward and positions itself at the top half of the screen. The white light reappears, glides across the logo until reaching the star, and then flashes. As the light fades, the word "Theaters" fades in underneath the logo. The completed logo then fades out.

Technique: CGI by Cinema Concepts.

Audio: An ambient yet triumphant fanfare.

5th Opening (Fall 1992-1994, 1997)


Visuals: Purple curtains reveal a stage with blue curtains just behind it. A spotlight shining on the curtains quickly centers on a flattened top hat spinning in. The hat then corrects itself and begins jumping across the stage until it flips itself upside down. The hat then releases a series of sparkles, which in turn reveal a disembodied pair of hands and lips. The hands produce a magic wand which immediately transforms into a bucket of popcorn. A second wand appears from the other hand, which command the popcorn into the lips' mouth. The first hand then disposes the empty bucket into the hat. The right hand taps the hat with its wand, which releases more sparkles that form the words "Please Deposit Trash". The sparkles dissolve, then the lips/hands turn back to the hat which flies toward its master and begins making unintelligible noises. The left hand shushes the hat, which floats to the stage floor. The hands the repeat the same trick as before, except now the words read "Quiet Please". The hands and lips then disappear inside the hat, which proceeds to emit a series of lights surrounded by various texts reading "Experience the Magic" (UA's then-new slogan). A filmstrip appears and weaves itself across the word "Magic" before the slogan slides out to reveal the same UA Theaters logo as above. The logo then centers itself and a final series of sparkles appear and shine across the star. The logo fades out just after the sparkles disperse.

Technique: CGI commissioned by Cinema Concepts, produced by Bill Feigenbaum Productions, and animated by AFCG, Inc. using Prisms software[1].

Audio: A majestic theme, composed by Elliot Sokolov.

6th Opening (June-September 1993)


Visuals: Chevy Chase, from Fox's then-new late-night talk show The Chevy Chase Show, arrives at a UA theater. He introduces himself as Alec Baldwin (perhaps deliberately) and gives the audience some tips to make your visit to the theater more enjoyable. Chevy tells the audience not to smoke in the theater, while hiding a cigarette behind his shirt. Chevy visits the concession stand, and brings along his two children. Back in the theater, Chevy is bothered by a man asking him about his new Fox show; Chevy eventually shouts at him with a bullhorn. After the movie, some people put trash in a trash bin as Chevy tells the audience to do the same. It is then revealed that Junior dumped trash all over him. Chevy closes out the opening, and the United Artists logo from the "Magician" opening appears.

Technique: Live-action, possibly filmed at the UA Coronet theater in Westwood, California.

Audio: Various

7th Opening (September-December 1993)


Visuals: Richard Lewis and Don Rickles, from Fox's then-new sitcom Daddy Dearest, arrive at a UA theater. Rickles, who plays Lewis' father on TV, got him in for half the price. Lewis gives the audience a few tips to make their visit to the theater a happier one, and mentions visiting the concession stand. As Lewis and Rickles enter the theater, Lewis finds his seat quickly and courteously, while Rickles, carrying a load of concessions, is less so. Lewis talks about not smoking or talking during the movie. Rickles talks and gets shushed. The man to the right of Lewis tells them to pipe down, and then pours his soda onto Lewis, resulting in him asking the audience to put their trash in the proper receptacle. Lewis exits the theater and tells the audience to notify the manager if someone's disturbing the theater, while two ushers take away Rickles. The United Artists Theaters logo from the "Magician" opening appears.

Technique: Live-action, filmed at United Artists' newly remodeled Westwood theater in mid-July 1993.

Audio: Various

8th Opening (1994-early 1997, 1999-Spring 2002)


Visuals: The sequence starts by panning across a brown-tinted ocean which reveals a futuristic city with a blue sphere appearing in the center. The screen pans past the sphere and through a pair of buildings. A giant UA soda container with the Coca-Cola logo positioned above it is shown. The screen pans past the cup and across another building until it comes to a screen of a boy submerged in popcorn. As the camera continues panning across the city, a No Smoking sign is briefly seen to the left, with a series of trains moving across the center. The camera moves past the train line, coming to an entrance surrounded by a pair of screens featuring a female who says "Welcome" as a futuristic jet flies by. The camera moves past the usher screens and come to the exterior of a stadium, then pan through to the inside, where a group of people are standing above the (empty) seating area. The screen pans toward the center stage, which proceeds to emit a blue light. The light quickly transitions to a series of thinner lights which then dissolve and form a single (still blue) lightsaber-type light in the center. A curved filmstrip emerges from this light, as the camera pans to the left the same UA logo as before appears. The logo zooms upward and centers itself at a right angle, the flimstrip appearing behind it. A light flashes from the star, which causes the entire scene to transition to black background which display the "Experience the Magic" slogan, again with a filmstrip across the word "Magic". A set of sparkles fly in and dust the word "Magic" just before the trailer fades out.

Variant: The 2001 version is nearly identical but with some minor changes. Most notably, the popcorn screen no longer contains a customer, and the woman is replaced by a blue "Welcome to United Artists Theaters" sign on the left and a red "Please Turn Off Cell Phones and Pagers" sign on the right. Also, the "Welcome" voice has been removed.

Technique: Mostly CGI by Damon Wubben. Live action is used for the boy and woman.

Audio: Two different versions used during each of its runs. The first theme is more piano-based, the second theme adds a percussion beat.

9th Opening (1995-1996)


Visuals: The sequence opens on a marble background containing the text "Welcome United Artists Theaters" (with the same logo as before). An animated T. Rex begins walking across the marble before it breaks in two and opens to reveal a Brachiosaurus. The Brachiosaurus sniffs and catches the smell of ash from a nearby volcano. After several motions of turning his head with expressions of disgust, he sneezes once before cutting to wide show where it's revealed he has a sign reading "No Smoking" on his back. He then turns toward the offending volcano and blows away the ash and smoke before turning to the audience and giving a grin. In the sky, a Pterodactyl carrying popcorn and soda in its' claws carries a banner which reads "Deposit Litter". The Pterodactyl lets out a noise as it flies. The Pterodactyl arrives at a smaller (and presumably inactive) volcano marked "Litter", where it drops its trash accordingly before flying off. The screen then cuts back to the T. Rex, who stands against a shot of the audience. The T. Rex notices a man in the front row talking loudly and turns toward him angrily. He lets out a loud roar attempting to silence the man, then raises his eyebrows and gives a cheeky grin to the viewers. The man, undeterred, continues talking, leading the T. Rex to chew him by the shirt and drag him into the picture. He then turns around to reveal a sign reading "Quiet Please" attached to his back. As the T. Rex walks off, the marble background reappears as before. The trailer ends with the T. Rex scratching clawmarks into the right side of the UA Theaters logo just before it fades out.

Variant: An earlier variant was seen on a demo reel for the company that animated this (Flying Foto Factory) that featured a few extra scenes.

Technique: CGI and 2D animation by Cinema Concepts and Flying Foto Factory.

Audio: A prehistoric jungle-esque theme, as well as the voices of the dinosaurs and some unruly patrons. The early variant plants some short 'cartoony' stingers in between.

10th Opening (Fall 1996)


Visuals: The hosts of Fox NFL Sunday close another edition, and express shame at the set being turned into a United Artists movie theater. Terry Bradshaw is told not to smoke a cigarette in the theater. Bradshaw then tells the audience to pipe down, and two boys mock him. Bradshaw steals the black boy's Fox/NFL candy and takes off with it. James Brown puts his candy in a trashcan. Bradshaw throws the candy he stole, which bounces around the theater before the black boy catches it. "Still got that touch", says Brown. Bradshaw appears between "ENJOY THE SHOW!" and the United Artists Theaters logo, both gold and shining.

Technique: Live-action, filmed at the Fox Television Center in Hollywood (formerly Metromedia Square, demolished in 2003).

Audio: Various

11th Opening (early 1997-1999)


Visuals: The sequence opens with the fading in of a series of orange and pink lights, which proceed to reveal the roof of a United Artists cinema from an undisclosed point in the future. The camera pans down to reveal a futuristic bullet train arriving at the cinema. The screen fades to inside the theater and pan across, revealing a set of Coca-Cola jars, a video screen of the same popcorn film from the 1994 "Bladerunner" logo, and various holographic displays of theater policies (specifically a No Smoking sign, a woman lifting her finger to her lips to indicating "No Talking", and an animation of several Coke cups being disposed of). A pair of virtual ushers (the same two as before) say "Welcome" in unison. The camera enters a stadium-esque auditorium, where several walls emerge from the floor and rise to form the movie screen. After this, a projector and its lens slide into place a begin projecting a series of small lights. The screen then pans to the opposite side of the theater where it's revealed there's a second projector doing the same. The screen fades to the center of the auditorium, where the lights are locked in a swirling pattern which creates a spinning UA Theaters logo. The logo continues spinning until the lights and auditorium fade out completely, after which it centers itself against and black background. The new tagline "The Future of Entertainment" wipes in via a light effect, then the completed logo fades out.

Technique: CGI by Damon Wubben.

Audio: An ambient fanfare which appears to take cues from both versions of the "Bladerunner" fanfare.

References

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