Embassy Films Associates
Embassy Pictures was founded by film producer Joseph E. Levine in 1942 as a foreign film distributor. Levine distributed such films as Godzilla, King of the Monsters, Hercules (the 1958 Steve Reeves version) and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
In 1967, Levine sold the company to Avco Corporation, an aviation equipment and financial services company, reincorporating it as "Avco Embassy Pictures Corporation". In 1976, Avco Embassy sold their broadcasting division to Multimedia, Inc., which renamed it to Multimedia Entertainment.
In January 1982, when Norman Lear and Jerry Perenchio acquired the studio, the film division changed accordingly, reverting to the previous Embassy Pictures by dropping off "Avco". In 1984, the film division was renamed "Embassy Film Associates". Lord Lew Grade (who had just stepped down as head of ITC Entertainment) was brought in to run the international unit until Lear and Perenchio sold Embassy to The Coca-Cola Company on June 18, 1985. In late 1985, Coca-Cola sold the Embassy Pictures division to Dino de Laurentiis, who folded Embassy Films Associates into his own De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. However, Coca-Cola continued to own the television division, by now renamed to ELP Communications (standing for Embassy Limited Partnership, Embassy Lear Perenchio, or Embassy Lear Pictures, depending on the source), which subsequently served as as an in-name only unit of Columbia Pictures Television. Coca-Cola then sold Embassy Home Entertainment to Nelson Holdings International which formed Nelson Entertainment in 1986. In 1988, DEG went bankrupt and its library assets were sold to Parafrance International, a firm eventually purchased by StudioCanal, which merged the DEG library with that of Carolco Pictures when it itself went bankrupt (Carolco owned DEG's Wilmington studio and the rights to several features that were in production at the time of the DEG bankruptcy).
Currently, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer owns American home media rights to most of the Embassy film library after they acquired the rights to the pre-March 31, 1996 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment library, which also included the Nelson library. Sony Pictures Television owns television rights to the film library as successor-in-interest to Embassy Communications. Sony also owns the Embassy logo, names and trademarks through ELP Communications. Lionsgate Films owns American streaming rights to select titles in the Embassy library, and home media rights to at least some of the same, by agreement with StudioCanal.
Embassy Pictures (1st Era)
1st Logo (May 28, 1961-December 21, 1967)
Logo: On a black background, a spotlight is shining on the middle of the screen, and a huge black, lower-case "e" is on it. Inside the "e" are the words "AN EMBASSY PICTURES RELEASE", with the "EMBASSY PICTURES" in white in the middle, centered, and the "AN" and "RELEASE" both in black above it. All the words are in a broad font.
- A black & white variant has been spotted.
- There are some in-credit variants.
Music/Sounds: Only the opening theme of the movie.
Availability: Rare. It's seen on some American-distributed Italian movies (most of which are in public domain) and The Graduate. While the next logo below plastered this logo on most pre-1998 prints of the latter (while the 1978 Magnetic Video VHS release plasters this with the Avco Embassy Television logo). It has been restored on current prints of The Graduate, beginning with the 1997 StudioCanal/Carolco Pictures (through Strand Releasing and Rialto Pictures) theatrical release and 1998 PolyGram Video VHS release, along with the MGM Home Entertainment DVD and Blu-ray releases and current television airings.
Avco Embassy Pictures
2nd Logo (March 18, 1968-February 12, 1982)
Logo: After a rectangular iris-in, three copies of a stylized "AE" (consisting of a right triangle, a rectangle, and three striped horizontal vertical lines, or the Avco empennage logo with 3 striped rectangles on the side forming an "E") float in a circular pattern. The logos are red, green, and blue, and they eventually merge to form a white version of the logo. This one changes colors one shape at a time; the triangle turns blue, and each of the other shapes turn green. Below, three copies of the message "AN AVCO EMBASSY FILM" (red, green and blue) come in from the left, right, and bottom and merge under the logo to form a white version of the words.
- An in-credit variant exists with "Avco Embassy Pictures" in the font used in the credits, as well as "presents" below. Above is an outline of the Avco logo (without the striped rectangles).
- An inverted variant was spotted on the 1983 Australian PBV Video release of They Call Me Trinity. It's unknown whether this appears on other releases of the film.
- A black and white variant was spotted on a re-release of The Witch.
- A blue background variant exists, it's unknown where it was taken from.
- A brighter variant exists, it's also unknown where it was taken from.
- Some film prints have the logo highly distorted to fit the entire screen. The inverted version also falls under this.
Technique: Motion-controlled animation, which is similar to the Marvel Productions logo.
Music/Sounds: Usually silent, but other times, the opening theme of the movie is used.
- Some films use a dreamy string tune such as In Praise of Older Women, Murder by Decree, City on Fire, Phantasm, and Death Ship.
- A high-pitched and repeating synth riff ending with a six-note synthesized tune was heard on certain movies like The Old Curiosity Shop, Permission to Kill, Sidewinder One, Go Tell the Spartans, and Wacky Taxi.
- On the 2006 Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD release of The Seduction, the Embassy Communications logo theme is mistakenly used. This may be due to a reverse-plastering error.
Availability: Uncommon. Seen on The Producers, Swamp Thing, The Howling, The Fog, Vice Squad, City on Fire (1979), The Seduction, The Exterminator, Scanners, Target, The Ruling Class, the original Time-Life Video and Vestron Video and later HBO VHS releases of Go Tell the Spartans, and pre-1998 prints of The Graduate (the 1987 Embassy Home Entertainment and 1987 Nelson VHS releases of the latter have no logo). It may have been on older prints of Escape from New York or Dead and Buried, but no evidence has shown up as of yet. Sometimes, as seen on The Graduate, They Call Me Trinity, A Nice Girl Like Me, and Woman Times Seven, the Avco Embassy Television logos plasters this or the previous logo on the Magnetic Video releases. For ITC films that the studio distributed, the logo is removed on the Magnetic Video release of The Cassandra Crossing but is preserved on the Magnetic Video release of The Tamarind Seed. The in-credit references were also preserved on the Avid Home Entertainment release of Farewell My Lovely, a surprise considering that Avid usually removed or replaced references to other companies with the then-current ITC logo, which precedes the Avco Embassy in-credit opening screen on this release. This logo is also seen on most of the studio's films from the time frame when they are aired on Antenna TV. On streaming copies of The Producers, this logo is plastered by the current StudioCanal logo. It may have been seen on original theatrical prints of the original Prom Night, but it is unknown if it's preserved on the British Embassy Home Entertainment VHS release. It also appeared on the U.S. theatrical and 1983 Warner Home Video VHS release of Watership Down, but most newer prints of the film either cut straight to the opening prologue or have the Janus Films logo. Weirdly, the logo is retained on Roadshow Home Video's release of Phantasm (known as The Never Dead in Australia), despite Roadshow typically stripping logos from most of its home video releases. This also appeared on the 1994 VHS of Carbon Copy (other home media releases omit this logo).
Embassy Pictures (2nd Era)
3rd Logo (February 19, 1982-May 2, 1986)
Logo: Over a blue background, 2 large white pieces, consisting of a large white E with a triangle cote-out, and a strange-looking "C" zoom out while rotating clockwise. They slowly move together during this, in which they meet up to form the Embassy logo, a boldface "E" in Futura Medium Bold BT extended to feature a star cut-out. The text "EMBASSYPICTURES" in the same font as the logo, fades in underneath, as well as a registered trademark symbol under it.
Trivia: This logo was designed by Chermayeff & Geismar Associates of New York, who also designed the 1984 PBS logo.
- Starting in 1984, the logo appears without the "EMBASSY PICTURES" text and the registered trademark symbol is shifted to the logo. This is when the film division was referred to as "Embassy Films Associates".
- Depending on the film, the color of the blue background may differ, and the "☆E" may be gray.
- Some films lack the registered trademark symbol.
- Current prints of This is Spinal Tap have the colors highly saturated, making it resemble the Embassy Television logo.
Technique: Motion-controlled animation, done by R/Greenberg Associates.
Music/Sounds: None, or the film's opening score.
- Embassy's library is shared in various forms by StudioCanal (copyright and most international rights), MGM (domestic home media rights), SPT (television rights) and Lionsgate (domestic internet streaming rights under license from StudioCanal) with any of their logos preceding this logo.
- It is more common than the Embassy Television logos and can still be seen on This is Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing.
- The version without the text can be seen on the 2013 Shout! Factory DVD and Blu-ray releases of Crimewave, the 2014 Kino Lorber Blu-ray of The Emerald Forest, the trailer for A Chorus Line and the VHS release of The Sure Thing (along with some television airings). However, the 2004 MGM DVD release and Encore airings of the latter use the standard version instead. It was also seen on the MGM Movie Time VHS of Eddie and the Cruisers.
- This might have appeared on theatrical prints of Zapped and Parasite (1982), but home media releases show no evidence.