American International Pictures
American International Pictures was formed in 1954 by James H. Nicholson and entertainment lawyer Samuel Z. Arkoff originally as "American Releasing Corporation", dedicated to releasing independently produced, low-budget and genre films (such as horror, sci-fi, and African-American), primarily of interest to the teenagers from the 1950s to late 1970s. In April 1956, ARC merged with global production company International Productions (not to be confused with "International Pictures", who already merged with Universal Studios and formed "Universal-International" in 1946) to form AIP. In 1979, AIP was acquired by Filmways, Inc. for $4.3 million and in 1980, AIP was folded into Filmways becoming "Filmways Pictures". Today, most of the AIP library is owned by MGM, via their acquisition of Orion Pictures, which acquired Filmways in 1982 (later reincorporated itself as "Orion Pictures Corporation" in June), except for a select few of AIP's early releases. Some of these (like The Fast and the Furious) went into the public domain, and some were retained by Samuel Z. Arkoff's estate, while 11 others were retained by James H. Nicholson's estate; these early releases are rarely seen now, as the estate effectively refuses to license them, but when they were still available in the early 1990s (and were featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000), they, along with the still-available Arkoff-owned films, were distributed by Teleworld, Inc.
On October 7, 2020, MGM announced that they would bring back AIP to distribute films that would get a limited release in cinemas. Their first film after being revived was Breaking News in Yuba County, released on February 12, 2021.
American Releasing Corporation
1st Logo (June 15, 1955)
Logo: Over live action, we see the letters "ARC" lined up. Under it, the text:
Technique: The logo and text fading-in and fading-out.
Music/Sounds: The opening theme of the movie.
Availability: Ultra rare. This logo was only used on The Beast with a Million Eyes.
2nd Logo (September 15, 1955)
Logo: We fade to a plain background with "American" in SF American Dreams Extended font, and '"RELEASING CORPORATION" in a Futura font.
Variant: A color version has been spotted, with a blue background and yellow text.
Music/Sounds: The opening theme to the film.
Availability: Ultra rare. Seen on Apache Woman, one of the Censored Eleven (no, not that one).
3rd Logo (December 1955)
Logo: On a satin sheet background, we see an oval, with "American" and "RELEASING CORPORATION" in the same font as the previous logo.
Music/Sounds: A majestic trumpet fanfare.
Availability: Ultra rare. Seen on The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues.
American International Pictures
1st Logo (July 15, 1956-August 31, 1960)
Logo: We see a cloudy sky background at first. Then, an ellipse with the words "AMERICAN International PICTURES" with "International" in a script font with a picture of the U.S. Capitol on top zooms in.
Variant: A "color" version exists.
Technique: The zoom in of the ellipse.
- 1956-1957: The same trumpet fanfare from the first ARC logo.
- 1958-1960: A patriotic fanfare.
- Sometimes, it's the opening theme of the movie.
Availability: Rare. Seen on films of the era such as Earth Vs. The Spider and A Bucket of Blood. Also appears on most of the Censored Eleven (referring here to the Nicholson-owned early AIP features), including The Amazing Colossal Man, It Conquered the World, and I Was a Teenage Werewolf.
2nd Logo (November 23, 1959)
Logo: On a gray-black background, we see a large capital "A" on the left side corner of the background. Over it are the words "AMERICAN International" with "International" in a script font. The word "PICTURES" is below "International".
Technique: Just the text appearing and the fading out.
Music/Sounds: A strong and majestic fanfare, composed by Les Baxter, which starts with a deep trombone and ends with the full orchestra playing. The theme would later be used for the 3rd logo.
Availability: Was originally seen on some films such as The Angry Red Planet and it was used in tandem with the 1st logo.
3rd Logo (June 22, 1960-September 25, 1963)
Logo: On a skyline background, we see a picture of the U.S. Capitol, sandwiched in between the words "American" on the left side, and "International" on the right, in the same SF American Dreams Extended font that was used on the 2nd American Releasing Corporation logo. Under the building is the word "PICTURES".
Technique: The fading in over the skyline background.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 2nd logo. On The Haunted Palace, a different fanfare, composed by Ronald Stein, can be heard.
Availability: Uncommon. Seen on horror films such as Dementia 13, The House of Usher, and many others. Appears at the end of The Young Racers.
4th Logo (October 1963-April 1966)
Logo: On a black background, or either superimposed over the opening title we see the same logo from before, except it's either red, yellow, or white and 2D. The U.S. Capitol has clouds surrounding it. On the non-superimposed variant the logo zooms in.
Variants: On some movies, the logo would be static and would be superimposed over the title.
Technique: The zooming of the entire logo, or none.
Music/Sounds: A majestic trumpet fanfare, or the opening theme of the movie.
Availability: Rare. The zooming variant can be seen on films like The Comedy of Terrors and The Raven, while the superimposed variant is more common and is seen on the Beach Blanket films and horror films such as Count Yorga.
5th Logo (April 1966-July 21, 1968)
Logo: On a blue/red, blue/orange, or dark cloudy sky background, we see a circle coming out from us to the screen, with the Capitol building inside it once the circle goes into its place. "American International", in a fancy script font, fades in.
Variant: Sometimes, the logo is superimposed into the opening credits of any given film.
Technique: The circle coming out.
Music/Sounds: A '60s jingle accompanied with flute and orchestra. Sometimes, it is silent or (on some films, such as The Trip) has the opening theme.
Availability: Uncommon. Still intact on TV airings and DVD releases of films such as The Trip, The Wild Angels, and others. Also intact on the MEDA VHS and Betamax and Image DVD release of the Woody Allen comedy edit of International Secret Police: Key of Keys titled What's Up, Tiger Lilly?
6th Logo (August 1, 1968-April 22, 1971)
Logo: On a black background, or superimposed over a live-action background, we see a color-changing circle with a line drawing of the Capitol Building inside. Then, it zooms into place as part of the American International Pictures logo, which is now an abstract lettering design consisting of the initials AI, to the right of the screen. After the circle moves into place, the bottom segment of the "A" and then the "I" fade into place forming the complete logo. The phrase "American International Pictures" then fades in below the logo after it forms.
Variant: Sometimes, the logo is superimposed into the opening credits of any given film. There is also a variant where, due to bad plastering, the music from Orion Pictures' 3rd logo.
Technique: Colors changing, the circle zooming to the right and the rest of the logo forming.
Music/Sounds: A loud, battling horn with a flute and drum/timpani fanfare. Sometimes, it is silent or has the films opening theme. On recent prints of Scream and Scream Again such as on TCM, this has the 1997 Orion Pictures logo theme.
Availability: Rare. Still intact on films such as Bucket of Blood and The Dunwich Horror, usually with the 1996 Orion Pictures logo and/or the MGM lion preceding it.
7th Logo (July 22, 1970)
Logo: On a black background, we see a huge "ai" with the Capitol building inside the circle of the logo. Then it zooms-out fast, and the letters "American International Productions" flies in from the right and pushes the logo to the left.
Technique: The zooming out of the "ai".
Availability: Extremely rare. It only appears on the movie Cry of the Banshee, right after the MGM and/or Orion logos.
8th Logo (May 18, 1971-January 19, 1973)
Logo: On a black background, we see the Capitol building inside the same "ai" from the previous logo. The text "an American International Picture" appears next to it.
- A version with "Release" instead of "Picture" exists.
- Another variant with the text "American International Pictures" vertically exists. The text here is much bigger than usual.
Technique: The fading out and in.
Music/Sounds: Silent, or the opening theme.
Availability: Rare. Can be found on the DVD releases of The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant and The Abominable Mr. Phibes.
9th Logo (May 18, 1971-May 1, 1980)
Logo: On a black or cloud sky background or superimposed over a live-action background, we see a yellow circle with the "ai" as seen in the 8th logo but without the Capitol Building in the circle. The blue text "American International" fades in under the circle. Sometime the logo fades out to make room for the credit "SAMUEL Z. ARKOFF presents".
- Some movies had the text in green.
- On Frogs, the whole logo is in blue.
- When Filmways acquired American International, this logo had a Filmways byline in the same font as their 3rd television logo.
Closing Title: On a black screen, the words "An American International Release" in blue and in the same font as the movie logo, fade in. After a while the text fades out.
Technique: The circle and text fading in.
Music/Sounds: Silent, or the opening theme of any given film.
- On C.H.O.M.P.S., it has a majestic fanfare.
- On the MGM DVD of Bucktown (1975), it uses the last half of the 1997 Orion Pictures theme, even though the latter logo precedes the AIP logo. This is one of the strangest editing errors ever known.
- On the separate PAL DVDs of The Evictors (which is available as a bonus movie on the Shout! Factory DVD of The Town That Dreaded Sundown, which has the regular version instead), the logo is heard with the 1995 MGM lion roar that coincides with "The Roaring Paramount Mountain" on a foreign TV airing of Braddock: Missing in Action II, as well as the Universal Pictures variant on select foreign prints of Conan The Destroyer and Firestarter.
- Common on most AIP films from the era, usually proceeded with the MGM and/or Orion logo on home video releases such as Black Caesar, Hell Up in Harlem, Truck Turner, Sugar Hill, Coffy, Foxy Brown, etc.
- However, some DVD releases of movies such as Bucktown, Breaker! Breaker! and Joyride get iffy with the logo.
- On the early '90s GoodTimes VHS release of Breaker! Breaker!, the logo was replaced with the abridged 1988 Orion Home Video logo and the DVD print only has the MGM lion and the start of the film.
- The VHS and DVD releases of Bucktown replace it with the Orion Pictures logo (1982 logo on VHS, 1997 logo on DVD) and the DVD of Joyride only has the MGM logo.
- The closing version is sort of uncommon as it often had it in the style of the credits, but it's intact on the DVD releases of Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem, as well as the Goodtimes VHS release of Breaker! Breaker!.
- As the 1994 Image/Orion Home Video Laserdisc of Meteor uses an international print, the Warner Bros. Shield of Staleness appears there instead.
Legacy: This is the most well-known logo from AIP, as it was in use for 9 years.
10th Logo (January 14-February 12, 2021)
Logo: On a black background, we see a golden AI symbol (with the circle now being a globe) next to two golden letters which are "I" and "P", with gold text that reads "American International Pictures" on the right, and below that, there is a gold byline that reads "AN MGM COMPANY". All is shining while the camera slightly zooms in.
Variant: On the actual film, the print logo is used instead. It's basically a flat 2D version of the logo, but the "IP" and byline are now white.
Technique: The shining of the logo and the camera slightly zooming in. Basic CGI.
Music/Sounds: The opening theme or silence.
Availability: This was only seen on Breaking News in Yuba County and its trailer.
11th Logo (July 20, 2021-)
Logo: On a black background, we see a yellow globe with a white light over it. The camera then zooms out, revealing a modified version of the last logo. The white lights on each of the letters go away, as we see "American International Pictures" slide in from the right. An updated MGM byline (with "MGM" in its new corporate font) shows up, as we see one last light spinning on the globe before fading to black.
Variant: A still version exists, which can be seen at the end of films.
Technique: The shining on the letters.
Music/Sounds: A descending piano theme.
Availability: Brand new. Debuted on How It Ends. It made its first non-US appearance on the Brazilian film Duetto, released on September 22, 2022.