Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


On December 9, 1996, MCA/Universal Home Video renamed itself as "Universal Studios Home Video" when MCA was reincorporated as Universal Studios. It began to distribute titles from third-party companies, like Lionsgate Films, October Films, DreamWorks Pictures and The Kushner-Locke Company. On February 28, 1999, Universal Studios Home Video signed a multi-year deal with Columbia TriStar Home Video to allow the latter to distribute Universal's DVD releases outside North America. That same year, the company also took over PolyGram Video's international functions. Three years later, it absorbed the assets of USA Home Entertainment into the label. In 2005 changed once again into "Universal Studios Home Entertainment", and expanded to build on the third-party formula. In 2016, the home entertainment division was restructured and was renamed as "Universal Pictures Home Entertainment". In January 2020, it was announced that Universal and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment would be partnering to form a brand new home media joint venture, which will see new and library titles from both companies being released on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD under one entity; the venture launched in early 2021 under the name Studio Distribution Services. SDS does not use an on-screen logo; Universal content released by SDS continue to use the Universal logo.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

1st Logo (June 1997-March 1998)

Visuals: Just a still picture of the 1997 Universal Pictures logo without the copyright info.

Trivia: This was used on the start-up page of the Universal Studios website in 1996 which can be viewed here.


  • An animated version can be found on the 1997 screener VHS tape of McHale's Navy.
  • A darker, zoomed in version also exists, which can be found on home video trailers for Liar Liar and The Lost World: Jurassic Park on the 1997 screener VHS tapes of the aforementioned films and the Hercules & Xena Video Collection on the 1998 VHS release of Hercules & Xena: The Animated Movie, respectively.

Technique: A still CGI render.

Audio: None.


  • This can be found on early DVD releases that Universal released between November 18, 1997 and March 1998, such as Babe, Waterworld, Kindergarten Cop, Backdraft and The Nutty Professor.
  • It can also be seen on mostly screener VHS tapes from June 1997 to early 1998.

2nd Logo (November 4, 1997-May 15, 2012)

Visuals: The 1997 Universal Pictures logo with no video indicator.


  • On UK VHS and some UK DVD releases from 1999 until 2006, the logo has the 1997 Universal City Studios copyright notice as well as the URL.
  • An anamorphically enhanced widescreen version was created and used on all widescreen DVD releases and some full screen DVD releases of all pre-1997 Universal films.
    • Strangely, this logo does not appear on the 2002 DVD release of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial or the 2000 DVD release of Jurassic Park, likely due to those using their own variants of the 1997 Universal logo before the main menu. However, the 2003 "Double Secret Probation Edition" DVD release of National Lampoon's Animal House still uses this while using its own variant before the main menu.
    • On the 2001 DVD release of Rear Window, this variant is presented in the 1.66 aspect ratio of the movie.
    • Strangely, on the 2000 DVD release of But I'm a Cheerleader, the logo is presented in 2.35:1, despite the movie being 1.85:1.
  • The original 1997 fullscreen and widescreen versions of this logo are videotaped, while the 1999 versions are filmed.
  • Two non-anamorphic widescreen versions exist. The first one is presented in 16:9 and is filmed. The other one is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is videotaped.
    • The 16:9 version can be found on Universal DVD releases distributed by Image Entertainment such as Firestarter, Sixteen Candles, Midnight Run, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie and Weird Science.
    • The 1.85:1 version can be found on the DVD releases of The Breakfast Club, The Wiz, Uncle Buck, The Great Outdoors, the Collector's Editions of The Blues Brothers, 1941 and John Carpenter's The Thing.
  • A cut short version of the 1.85 variant can also be found at the beginning of The Making Of Jaws documentary on the 2000 Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD release of Jaws. Surprisingly, this is also used at the beginning of the documentary Beware the Moon: Remembering An American Werewolf in London, which can be found on the 2009 Full Moon Edition DVD/Blu-ray release of An American Werewolf in London.
  • A cut short version can be found at the end of most "making of" documentaries for VHS and DVD releases. It was also used at the beginning of VHS releases of Universal movies distributed by GoodTimes Home Video such as the 1998 VHS release of Jaws: The Revenge and the 2000 screener VHS of The Bone Collector.
  • There is a variant of the short version where the URL "www.universalstudios.com/home" appears at the bottom. This was used on several "making-of" featurettes, such as The Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers and Duel: A Conversation with Steven Spielberg. The 1997 Universal Studios copyright sometimes may or may not appear in the bottom right. Surprisingly, the Conan Unleashed featurette on the international DVD and Blu-ray releases of Conan the Barbarian (1982) from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment also retains this variant at the end.
  • Another home video-specific URL version has the URL placed within the bottom letterbox fill. This appears on the Field of Dreams making-of featurette on its 1999 Special Edition release.
  • A variant of the logo cross-fades into the print logo on the blue background before the warning screen is found on the Finnish VHS releases of The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure and Big Fat Liar.

Technique: CGI by Picturemill.

Audio: The 1997 Universal fanfare, composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Sometimes, the opening theme of the movie would be used instead.

Audio Variants:

  • A high tone variant exists, which appears on international releases, and at the beginning of Making An American Werewolf in London, which appears on the 2001 Collector's Edition DVD release of An American Werewolf in London.
  • A silent version also exists, which appears at the end of The Stories Behind The Making of The Blues Brothers, which can be found on the 1998 Collector's Edition DVD release of The Blues Brothers.
  • On VCD releases released by Video Master such as Boo!: Faraway Places, the 1997 fanfare has a minor vibrato effect, possibly due to poor audio processing.


  • This was used as the de-facto home video logo.
  • Appears on many Universal and Focus Features releases, direct-to-DVD releases (ie. post-2006 Barbie films, after Mattel switched from Lionsgate/FHE), DVD versions of older, pre-1997 Universal movies, TV movies, TV shows, NBC News specials, and made-for-TV family movies among other releases.
  • This logo with the NBC Universal byline was seen on An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars.
  • It also appears on the Australian DVD release of U2: The Best of 1990-2000.
  • It also appears on DVD releases of The Land Before Time TV series.
  • This also made a reappearance on Pontoffel Rock, Where Are You? (Pontoffel Rock & His Magic Piano on later video releases) on the 2012 Deluxe Edition DVD release of The Lorax (1972) due to using a master from 2003.
  • This logo was also originally going to be used on the 2006 DVD release of Curious George (the 2006 film), but it is not used for some reason. However, it can still be accessed by going to "Title 33" on the disc.
  • Surprisingly, this appeared at the start of the Descriptive Video VHS release of Shrek before the DreamWorks Pictures logo (however, the normal VHS release doesn't have it). This would also fit since Universal would provide home media distribution rights to many DreamWorks films uncredited until the rights were moved to Paramount Home Entertainment in 2006.
  • It also appears on the 2000 VHS and DVD releases of Being John Malkovich and Where the Money Is and the 2001 VHS and DVD release of Nurse Betty from USA Home Entertainment.
  • It also appears on many French DVD releases of animated TV shows there such as Code Lyoko, Bali, Trotro, T'choupi (known as Charley & Mimmo in the English dub), and Titeuf (or Tootuff in the English dub), but it does not appear on DVD releases of Ōban Star-Racers, as it was released by Wild Side Video despite Universal giving distribution rights to the company at the time.
  • It also appears on all Curious George DVD releases from 2006 to 2012, as well as VHS and DVD releases of Maisy, Butt-Ugly Martians, Sitting Ducks, Mommy & Me: Playgroup Favourites and Mommy & Me: More Playgroup Favourites.
  • This logo also does not appear on the North American DVD releases of Despicable Me and Hop, respectively, as they either go straight to the previews or to the MPAA screen.
  • The "URL and Byline" variant appears at the beginning of almost every Universal VHS release in the UK from the time, such as the 2001 UK VHS release of The Best Of SMTV Live: So Far!, among many others, including Vision Video Ltd. and Right Entertainment releases (excluding the Barbie films, as they have the Right logo on its own), but excluding 4Front Video releases (which simply has its own logo and warning) and DreamWorks releases (once again, just uses its own logo).
    • It also appears at the end of these releases as well, however, Right Entertainment releases normally end with either just the warning (some 2002 releases) or simply end after the last episode/movie has finished. The only Right releases to have this logo at the end are All Eyes on Arthur, Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Artisan Christmas Classics VHS releases, and Postman Pat: Ice Cream Machine.
      • Christopher Crocodile: Seaside, Barney Gets into Mischief and The Family-Ness: Elspeth and Angus Meet the Loch Ness Monster all use the E.T. variant at the start and end with Right's logo.
    • It's not as common on DVD releases, as it only appears on budget DVD releases of children's shows, as well as content from Right and DVD Games by Imagination Games and Zoo Digital.
    • UK-exclusive content such as Barney VHS releases from 1999 until 2001, Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-Lot, Makaton Nursery Rhymes, Dennis the Menace: Bathnight Club & Dennis Ahoy!, The Snowman (1982), Father Christmas and Make Way for Noddy will also have this logo.
    • It also strangely plasters the 1963 and 1990 Universal Pictures logo on the 2002 UK VHS release of the Back to the Future trilogy set.
    • The "URL and Byline" variant of this logo also appears at the end of the 2002 UK VHS re-release of We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993), but strangely not at the start of it for unknown reasons.
    • This logo also appears at the start and end of a 2000 UK promotional VHS release of Kids Vids 2000.
  • It also appears on the UK and Australian prints of the Home and Away collection such as Home and Away: Hearts Divided, Home and Away: Secrets and the City, Home and Away: Romances, and Home and Away: Weddings, respectively.
  • It also last appears on the DVD release of The Grey (2012).

3rd Logo (August 11, 2000)

Visuals: Just the 1997 Universal Pictures print logo in black on a grayish white background with no video indicator whatsoever.

Technique: A still digital graphic.

Audio: None.

Availability: It plasters the Barney Home Video logo on the original UK DVD releases of Barney: Let's Play School.

4th Logo (June 5, 2012-)

Visuals: The 2012 Universal Pictures logo, without any video indicator.

Variant: As with the theatrical counterpart, the words "100TH ANNIVERSARY" are shown below the "UNIVERSAL" text during this logo's first year of use (2012) to commemorate the studio's centennial.

Technique: CGI by Wētā FX.

Audio: The 2012 Universal Pictures fanfare, originally composed by Jerry Goldsmith and composed and arranged by Brian Tyler.

Availability: Seen on all of Universal's current home media releases.

  • This logo first appeared on Universal and Focus Features releases such as Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Safe House, American Reunion, ParaNorman, and the 2014 Blu-Ray release of Mallrats, among others.
    • It can also be seen on American Thomas and Friends DVDs starting in late 2014 and ending in late 2019 as well as some of the Funimation titles they distributed that they had licensed to Funimation in the first place such as A Certain Magical Index.

Universal Studios DVD

Logo (March 31, 1998-February 26, 2002)

Visuals: A series of clips from various Universal Studios-owned films plays (some were being recorded off a TV screen). Between clips, the animation of the 1997 Universal Studios logo is seen. The logo then finishes as normal, only the globe rises up and the DVD logo fades in underneath.

Trivia: This logo was used as an advertisement for Universal Studios Home Video DVD releases instead of a usual logo. However, in this version the titles of various films are shown to promote their releases.


  • The clips in the Universal sequence may differ depending on the country, year or brief period of time that the DVD was released in.
  • On 2001 releases in the Alfred Hitchcock Collection, such as Rear Window, the footage is replaced with clips from Hitchcock's Universal-controlled movies, and at the end of the logo, a yellow light shines through.

Technique: CGI animation.

Audio: A sample from "Ecosystem" by John Pratt and Michael Alemania.

Availability: Can be seen on DVD releases by Universal Studios Home Video from 1998 to 2002, such as The Little Rascals, Major Payne, Babe: Pig In The City, Winning, The Hurricane, the Collector's Edition DVD releases of the Jurassic Park trilogy, among others, with the final release with this logo being the 2002 DVD release of The Musketeer, but it is absent on some Collector's Edition DVD releases, such as the 2000 Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD of Jaws, the 1998 Collector's Edition DVD releases of The Blues Brothers, Daylight, and the 2001 Collector's Edition DVD release of How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000 live-action film), as well as some international DVD releases (except the Australian 1998 Collector's Edition DVD release of Twister).

Universal HD-DVD/Blu-ray Disc

Logo (April 18, 2006-May 15, 2012)

Visuals: The feature film logo of the time plays normally, with updated animation and several dots coming out of the globe instead of streaks.

Trivia: This logo was used on Universal HD-DVD releases from 2006-2008 and Blu-ray Disc releases from July 22, 2008 until early to mid-2012.

Variant: On HD-DVD releases, at the end, the logo zooms back to reveal it is being reflected in a giant "HD-DVD" logo in the same space background, which then shines. From 2010 to 2013, a sped-up version is used upon entering the Universal Pictures website. It then zooms out to reveal the website's home page.

Technique: CGI animation by Identica Partnership.

Audio: The HD-DVD variant has the 1997 Universal fanfare by Jerry Goldsmith along with deep whooshes and sparkling sounds.

Audio Variants:

  • The Blu-ray variant only has the fanfare itself, albeit with the audio channels switched around, resulting in an echo-like effect.
  • For the website, the latter half of the fanfare is used.

Availability: Seen on every Universal HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases from the era.

  • Last seen on the Blu-ray release of The Grey (2012).
  • It also makes a surprise appearance on the 2014 German Blu-ray release of Small Soldiers (1998), despite being released by Koch Media.

Final Note

Beginning with the release of Safe House (released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 5, 2012), all Universal DVDs and Blu-rays (except for 2012-17 Illumination films) began using the 2012-present theatrical logo as a de-facto home video logo.

MCA/Universal Home Video
NBC Home Entertainment
PolyGram Video
USA Home Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
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