HBO Films

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Descriptions by
Eric S., BenIsRandom, Paperking99 and Logophile

Captures by
Eric S., Matthew Mayfield, Paperking99 and Mr.Logo

Editions by
Nathan B., and Miles W.

Video captures courtesy of
Eric S., EnormousRat, Matthew Mayfield, TheRedBaron1985, BenIsRandom, Paperking99, File Preserver


HBO Films is a film label established by Home Box Office in 1985; it was originally called "HBO Pictures". HBO Pictures would eventually merge with fellow sister label HBO NYC Productions (formally "HBO Showcase") to form its current entity.

HBO Premiere Films


Logo: On a black background, a red light flashes, then an orange "HBO" logo eases in towards the screen as the words "Premiere" and "Films", in a blue cursive font, write themselves in at the same time. As this happens, red lines laser their way in above and below “Premiere Films”. The top line comes from left to right, while the bottom comes from right to left. The HBO logo shines throughout the animation.

Technique: The flashing light, the HBO logo shining, "Premiere Films" and the lines drawing themselves in. Very late '70s-early '80s looking animation.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Very rare. Appeared on HBO prints of Forbidden and Act of Vengeance.

HBO Films

1st Logo (1987)

Logo: On a purple and tan gradient background, a camera scrolls up past a clear translucent filmstrip with white “HBO” logos inside. Then one of the HBO logos in 3-D with purple sides eases in. The filmstrip disappears and several white squares, rectangles and lines fly in below and “PICTURES” (in the style as seen in the other logos) in red fly in front of the squares. The shapes form a 3-D marquee, with three other marquees behind it. The marquees light up one by one from back to front of the one with pictures.

Technique: The filmstrip, the marquee forming, and the lighting of the marquees.

Music/Sounds: A synthesized tune with an electric guitar.

Availability: Possibly extinct. It was seen on Florida Straits when it aired on HBO in 1987, but the home video release by Orion Home Video omits this. It's not known if this popped up elsewhere.

2nd Logo (1988-1990)

Logo: On a black background, we see pieces of lettering reflecting the sky. Then the pieces join together and forms the HBO logo in shaded orange (or yellow), with "PICTURES" in dark red with the "U" and the "R" connected. Under it are five blue lines. The logo shines and then five purple bars fade beneath the logo (to represent a pillar illusion).

Variant: Sometimes the bars don't appear at all, and/or the logo appears more three-dimensional and shiny.

Technique: Just good '80s computer animation. Awesome for the time.

Music/Sounds: An upbeat yet relaxed synth theme with 6 horn notes, otherwise silent.

Availability: Appeared on HBO films during the period. It was seen on Heist, By Dawn's Early Light, Steal the Sky, Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture and Dead Solid Perfect.

3rd Logo (1991-1996)

Logo: On a dark blue and yellow shaded background, we see some drops, as if it's raining. Then the background turns black and the HBO Pictures image from the first logo appears, colored dark blue. The logo shines twice and disappears.

Technique: The drops, and the shining.

Music/Sounds: A dreamy and calming theme. The opening theme of the movie would also be used.

Availability: Seen on movies such as Stalin, The Late Shift and The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom.

4th Logo (1997-1999)

Logo: On a black/blue cloudy background, we see dark shimmering water. Bubbles rise up from the water. A big bubble then floats upward as the camera moves up and faces the water, while the HBO logo (minus the circle in the "O") and "PICTURES" below shimmer in. The bubble floats down and forms the circle inside the "O".

Variant: There is a sepia color version.

Technique: The shimmering water, which is pretty good CGI.

Music/Sounds: A remix of the 1991 theme.

Availability: Seen on Weapons of Mass Distraction and other films.

5th Logo (2000-)

Logo: On a black background, we see a blue river (a la the 1989 ITV logo). Suddenly, the HBO logo and the word "FILMS" fade in by blurring.

Variant: A fullscreen version exists.

Technique: The fading.

Music/Sounds: The opening theme of the movie.

Availability: Fairly common. Seen on all HBO original films since 2000, and also seen in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

6th Logo (May 27, 2008, January 5, 2009)

Logo: On a black background, we see a black HBO logo coming in from the right of the screen. Behind the logo are many blurry pink/yellow copies of the HBO logo moving to the left of the screen at light speed. After a couple of seconds, the trail leaves one HBO logo behind. The logo shines and turns gold, while the Time Warner byline fades in below. The logo zooms in until it fades out.

Trivia: This logo is based on the November 2006 rebrand of HBO.

Variant: On the Sex and the City movie, the logo doesn't zoom in. Also, it fades to a purple color at the end.

Technique: The movement of the logos and the shining. Basic 2D animation.

Music/Sounds: None or the opening theme of the movie.

Availability: Extremely rare. So far, its only known appearances are on Sex and the City (2008) and An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong (2009). It's currently unknown if any other films used it.

7th Logo (June 3, 2015)

Logo: On a black background, we see a light shining, revealing a black HBO logo. The light makes almost half of the logo turn a silvery color. Another light shines on the logo from above as a white Time Warner byline appears. The logo zooms at us and shines for a bit before the lights die down and the logo fades out.

Technique: The lights, the byline appearing, and the logo shining.

Music/Sounds: The opening theme of the movie, which is "Figure it Out" by Royal Blood.

Availability: It was only seen on Entourage (2015) as a custom variant.

Legacy: This is actually pretty nice compared to all the 2D animation HBO has given us these days.

8th Logo (October 1, 2021-)

Logo: On a cloudy background, we see the HBO logo in chrome wiping in. The WarnerMedia byline is shown below the HBO logo, and then the clouds clear, revealing a silver version of the HBO logo that slowly zooms in.

Technique: The cloud background moving.

Music/Sounds: So far, the opening theme of the movie.

Availability: Brand new. Debuted on The Many Saints of Newark.

HBO NYC Productions

(June 15, 1996–December 11, 1999)

Logo: On a black background, two searchlights scroll (a la 20th Century Studios). After a while, a third one appears as the camera eases back to a rectangle on a black background and inside it, the background turns a blue/orange gradient color. Two tall buildings (possibly the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building) and a few smaller buildings fly together (a la the first Beacon Pictures logo) and form a cityscape with the searchlights behind them. A white border appears around the rectangle and inside it, below the buildings is "HBO NYC" with "HBO" in its company font and below that is "PRODUCTIONS".

Variant: An alternate version has stock footage of New York City (with the pre-2001 World Trade Center towers intact), showing the Brooklyn Bridge and various buildings in the city. When it shows the Chrysler Building, the footage disappears as the logo forms.

Technique: The searchlights, and the buildings flying in.

Music/Sounds: A quiet orchestrated theme. The alternate version has a majestic orchestrated fanfare.

Availability: Scarce. Seen on the 1996 Laserdisc of Deadly Voyage, and can be seen on other films.

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