Logo descriptions by Matt Williams, Juniorfan88 and Logophile Logo captures by juniorfan88, mr3urious, Eric S., kidinbed and Logophile Editions by mr3urious, V of Doom, DaBigLogoCollector, Vahan Nisanian and Unnepad Video captures courtesy of AsdfDailymotion898, TheAccountSecond77, Eric S, TheRedBaron1985, Ryan Holman and Pepsi9072
Background: Carolco Pictures, Inc. was originally formed in 1976 by Mario F. Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna as "Anabasis Investments" to make a major independent competitor to the Hollywood studios producing A-movie products. In 1984, Anabasis Investments was reincorporated as "Carolco International, N.V." In 1987, Carolco acquired International Video Entertainment ("IVE" or "I'VE", then later known as "LIVE Entertainment") but later was forced to sell its shares in 1993 to a group of investors led by Pioneer Electronic Corporation after Carolco restructured. On August 28, 1987, Carolco acquired syndication company Orbis Communications for $15.4 million (Orbis would be merged into Carolco's TV unit in 1991). In 1995, Carolco went bankrupt because of overspending on their films and the disastrous release of Cutthroat Island (not to mention being hurt by them giving up distribution rights to Cliffhanger, so they can properly fund the film. Despite being successful at the box-office, Carolco saw little profit.), and the company closed soon after. In 1989, Vajna sold his share of Carolco and formed "Cinergi Pictures Entertainment". In 1998, Cinergi shut down. Kassar and Vajna also reinstated their partnership and founded C2 Pictures, which shut down in 2008. On January 21, 2015, it was announced that an independent production company, Brick Top Productions, purchased the Carolco trademarks and now operates under the Carolco name, with Mario Kassar as the company's chief development executive. Today, the ancillary rights to a majority of Carolco's library including the Carolco name and logo are held by the French production company StudioCanal. And because of this, the new Carolco had to change its name to Recall Studios. TV syndication rights belong to, Paramount Pictures thru Trifecta Entertainment & Media on Paramount's behalf, due to a previous TV distribution deal with Worldvision Enterprises, and Lionsgate Home Entertainment continues to hold the domestic home video rights (via a new output deal with StudioCanal), while the international home video rights are held by a different company for each country. Exceptions include Cliffhanger, which is distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Last of the Dogmen is distributed by NBCUniversal, by the way of Focus Features gaining the rights to the Savoy Pictures library, and Showgirls, which Carolco sold off to Chargeurs during pre-production, and is distributed in North America by MGM. Carolco did not use a logo until 1985. With select exceptions, theatrical distribution for Carolco films was managed by TriStar Pictures, starting with Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1985 and ending with Wagons East! in 1994. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer would take the distribution reigns afterwards and released Stargate, Showgirls and Cutthroat Island.
(May 22, 1985-September 4, 1987)Edit
Nicknames: "C", "C in Space", "Space Streaks"
Logo: Against a starry space background, a blue streak of light zooms out, flashes, and forms a bronze, swirly "C". The process repeats twice, working its way outward, before forming the Carolco logo, which consists of a large, stylized "C" formed by many 3D swirls. Afterwards, the logo shines brightly as the words "CAROLCO" (in the Hanzel font and in silver) shine in underneath. The logo then sparkles.
Trivia: This logo was only used on international prints of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Angel Heart. The original domestic prints of these films began with a TriStar Pictures logo.
FX/SFX: The streaks of light zooming out and the shining.
Music/Sounds: A series of synthesized shining sounds, followed by a 9-note synth brass tune, a couple of synth blares, and a nice 4-note orchestral tune. This theme was composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
Music/Sounds Variant: AMC & Netflix broadcasts of Rambo: First Blood Part II use the TriStar logo with the Carolco jingle (it was originally silent on that picture), while it is high pitched on AMC.
Music/Sounds Trivia: This was also featured on the 2010 reissue of the First Blood soundtrack (though it appears nowhere on the film itself).
Availability: Extremely rare. The two films confirmed to have used this logo are Rambo: First Blood Part II and Angel Heart, all on international prints and early home video releases where this is shown cropped to 4:3 from a print matted to widescreen. However, Rambo: First Blood Part II, from the 1988 IVE release onward (with the exceptions of the 1991 Live Home Video, 1992 Promotional Concept Group, Inc. and 1995 Avid Home Entertainment VHS releases, which retain this logo), updates this with the 3rd logo. On HBO prints, from when they first started running the film in 1986, the domestic print with the TriStar logo was used instead. Some TV prints of Angel Heart have the TriStar logo while most DVD releases open with no logo. The Scope version appears on at least a SECAM release of Rambo: First Blood Part II, but it does not appear at all on the British Thorn EMI Video release of said movie.
Editor's Note: A wasted early effort by the company, the logo's short-lived tenure puzzled many in the logo community.
(May 1, 1986-November 30, 1988)Edit
Nicknames: "C II", "Flashing C", "Cheesy C", "Radiator C"
Logo: The logo starts out being in a black background with two silver streaks hitting diagonally from the opposite sides of the screen (lower-left and upper-right corners of the screen). The streaks merge and they have one or two beams of smaller light coming from them. Afterward, the streaks form the same "C" from the previous logo, but now colored in light blue/silver. "CAROLCO" appears below the "C", and it flashes/shines in a bright orange light.
Variants: On the theatrical trailer for Extreme Prejudice, the logo is silent and tinted blue. On a French VHS of Red Heat, translated as Double Détente, the logo is shown in a still before the credits appear.
FX/SFX: The streaks forming the "C", and the shining.
Music/Sounds: A synthesized disco jingle starting with a descending whirring sound, though it usually used the Jerry Goldsmith tune.
Availability: Extremely rare. It can be found on the 1989 VHS releases of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Angel Heart plastering the previous logo. It is also intact on the U.S. VHS, original Laserdisc, Artisan DVD, and Amazon Instant Video stream releases of Extreme Prejudice. The iTunes and VUDU print of the aforementioned movie has Live Entertainment and TriStar Pictures. Said logo combo might have appeared on the widescreen Laserdisc release of said film. It also makes an appearance in full on the trailer for the latter.
Editor's Note: Not an impressive logo by any means. The theme sounds like its from the 1970s.
(January 15, 1988-August 26, 1994, 2015-2016)Edit
Nicknames: "C III", "Laser Light", "The Laser-Light C"
Logo: Against a black background, a blue laser carves out a series of curves, making its way inward as it slowly turns up, revealing the "C" used in the previous two logos. Then, the logo shines brightly in a "wind tunnel" effect and zooms-out. As the shining ends, the logo is silver-colored, and the words "CAROLCO" fade-in below. The logo shines once more.
Variants: There is different lighting animation in the wind tunnel seen on some movies after the laser forms the logo. Appears on films in the 2.35:1 ratio such as Rambo III, Narrow Margin, The Doors, Basic Instinct, Universal Soldier, Cliffhanger, and the 1999 Artisan VHS release of First Blood: Rambo Part II. A shortened version of this was seen on Music Box (only on current prints; the original video releases had the standard logo). It should be noted that other films in the aforementioned ratio, such as DeepStar Six, Air America, and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, use the other animation and appears cropped (as it was mainly for films in the 1.85:1 ratio). The logo on their website shows "I TOLD YOU I'D BE BACK!" below the signature logo, in a comedic reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger's line from Terminator 2: Judgement Day. On the 2004 DVD release of Universal Soldier, a blue line is seen during the animation of the logo, due to a printing error.
Closing Variant: On the end credits, the print logo is seen with trademark info below. The logo may be seen again with "A Carolco Release" or "A Carolco International, N.V. Release" above. Sometimes legal information is seen below with "® DENOTES A TRADEMARK OF CAROLCO PICTURES, INC., REGISTERED IN THE U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE.".
FX/SFX: Top-notch late '80s-mid '90s CGI.
Music/Sounds: The same music theme played on the first logo, except now it's a little bit more dramatic. The whoosh of the laser is also heard as the logo is formed. Sometimes it's silent or, on films such as Total Recall, the opening theme.
Music/Sounds Variants: On some TV airings and Trifecta's syndicated print of Lock Up, the 1984 TriStar jingle is heard. Availability: Very common, particularly on big hits such as Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Total Recall, Rambo III, and others. Carolco went to TriStar for 80% of their releases. For most VHS releases, Carolco's logo is kept while TriStar's logo is deleted, except on DeepStar Six, Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw, Cliffhanger (owned by Sony Pictures), Homeboy (VUDU and YouTube prints), the British DVD of Music Box, Total Recall (releases since 2001), Hamlet (1990) (French SECAM VHS, among possible others), a supposed Pluto TV print of Johnny Handsome, Basic Instinct, Red Heat (on the IVE screener and all releases since 1999), the 1998/99 widescreen DVD release of Mountains of the Moon, Air America (from the 2004 DVD release on), The Doors, L.A. Story (particularly the 15th Anniversary DVD of that film), the German DVD of Narrow Margin, the 1998 widescreen LaserDisc release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day (as well as Netflix/VUDU/Crackle prints, an Australian DVD release, the 2005 PSP UMD, and a 2015 Encore broadcast, reportedly), They Live (non-American media, possibly), Chaplin (the original Live Entertainment DVD from 1998 has only the Carolco logo), and Universal Soldier (not on the Live Entertainment DVD release however). Whenever Encore and Telemundo air Rambo III, the current Paramount Pictures logo (the 90th Anniversary version on Telemundo's print, cut off by a few seconds at the beginning) omits the TriStar logo but leaves Carolco's intact (on AMC airings, both logos are plastered by the Paramount logo), while Encore's airing of Deepstar Six shows the Paramount logo, in addition to the TriStar and Carolco logos. On Wagons East!, the last movie to use this logo, it appears after the 1993 TriStar logo (others after the 1984 TriStar logo), both proceeded by the Live Entertainment logo on TV prints (except Lionsgate's 2013 syndicated print) and on the VHS release. It also plasters the 1st logo on the 1988 and 1998 VHS releases of Rambo: First Blood Part II. U.S. prints of Repossessed have the Seven Arts logo instead, though the print logo still appears at the end and the actual logo appears on the 2003 Artisan Entertainment DVD. The British DVD of Iron Eagle II replaces this with the TriStar logo, while the Artisan DVD retains this logo. Don't expect this to appear on Stargate, Last of the Dogmen, and Showgirls. Also appeared on the beginning of the TV movies Dangerous Passion and Two-Fisted Tales. This is seen on trailers for Reservoir Dogs (foreign prints only) and Cutthroat Island, but the former film would ultimately be released by Miramax Films and didn't use any logos at all, while the latter film would use the next logo below. This is also seen on international prints of They Live, Shocker, Field of Dreams, Prince of Darkness (where this logo made its first appearance), Career Opportunities, Opportunity Knocks, and The Wizard, which Universal Studios released domestically, among others. The Carolco International N.V. credit appeared on international prints of films and on some old video releases, but domestic prints would have the TriStar logo. Strangely, the Blu-Ray release of Johnny Handsome only has a 2004 StudioCanal logo (neither a TriStar nor Carolco logo) but would have the in-credit international logo with the legal information. This is seen on VHS releases of Lock-Up; DVD releases and some TV airings have TriStar and White Eagle instead as this is the domestic print. It was later seen on their website (before being replaced with the 5th logo), and in the annotation on the right. It also appears on the 3D re-release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, as well as on current prints of Vista Organization films such as Maid to Order, Nightflyers, and Trading Hearts, among others. It is unknown if it appears on the Fox Lorber VHS release of Pathfinder. It might have appeared on non-Australian theatrical prints of the Village Roadshow Pictures film Bloodmoon. The closing variant mainly appeared on videocassette prints, which mostly used international sources compared to the domestic sources used on later DVD and Blu-Ray releases. Editor's Note: Generally agreed upon to be one of the greatest logos of the 1980s. The majestic fanfare and the incredible special effects makes this logo prove its worth.
(December 22, 1995, 2015)Edit
Nicknames: "C IV", "The Still C"
Logo: Just a superimposed in-credit logo of Carolco, the "C" in gold with "CAROLCO" below, in a very small size.
Later Variant: Later on, the logo appeared larger and had a silver look, with a copyright notice below.
Music/Sounds: The film's/show's opening/closing theme.
Availability: Seen on Cutthroat Island, the last production by the original company. The later variant was only known to be seen on a trailer for a music concert film.
Editor's Note: Characteristically symbolic, this logo preceded a major failure at the box office. Carolco shut its doors shortly afterward.
Nicknames: "C V", "Laser Light II", "The Laser-Light C II", "CGI Laser Light"
Logo: Same concept as the 1988 logo, but this time done in CGI. A few differences though is the company name eases back when the logo does instead of it fading in. The "CAROLCO" name is in a thicker font.
FX/SFX: Pretty much a modern CGI remake of the 1988 logo and one that's done fairly nicely.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 1988 logo.
Availability: It was used as the intro on Carolco's website until its closure.
Editor's Note: A nice remake of the Laser Light logo, though it lacks the power of the original.
Here is a logo history video for the company (including some variations of the logos):