Orion Classics

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Descriptions by
V of Doom and Shadeed A. Kelly

Captures by
Eric S., V of Doom, JoeCool85 and Derrick Anderson

Video captures courtesy of
Eric S. and DudeThatLogo


Orion Classics was initially the indie/art-house movie division of Orion Pictures Corporation that was established in 1983. Orion Classics acquired independent and foreign films for North American distribution, in addition to producing some art-house films of its own. Originally, it was headed by Michael Barker, Tom Bernard, and Marcie Bloom (the same people who started United Artists Classics two years earlier). As Orion headed into bankruptcy, they left to head Sony Pictures Classics, the indie/art-house movie arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1992. In May 1986, Metromedia acquired a 6.5% share in Orion, it was later increased to 9.3% and to 12.6%. National Amusements, Inc. acquired 6.42% in Orion's stock; however, on May 20, 1988, John Kludge acquired Sumner Redstone's share in Orion for $78 million by holding nearly 67%. In 1996, Kludge acquired Samuel Goldwyn Entertainment and merged with Orion by becoming "Orion/Goldwyn" and merged the classics division into Goldwyn (later rebranded as "Goldwyn Films" and then as "G2 Films" by MGM). Both Orion and SGE were sold to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1997, with the latter's function of producing and/or distributing independent films were assumed by MGM's United Artists division. In May 2018, Orion Classics has revived by MGM as a multiplatform distribution label for VOD, Theatrical and Digital in a similar vein to Lionsgate Premiere.

1st Logo (July 29, 1983-October 11, 1996, June 28, 2018- )

Logo: Same as the standard logo of the era, but there is a freeze frame and "CLASSICS" (in blue in a similar font as above) fades-in below.

Variant: In 2018, the logo was slightly updated just like the standard Orion Pictures logo with "CLASSICS" in a smaller font and the "AN MGM COMPANY" byline at the lower bottom.

Technique: Same as the standard Orion Pictures logo of the time.

Music/Sounds: In most cases, it is silent or has the opening music playing over the film.

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • Sometimes, the standard Orion jingle would be used.
  • Sometimes, the 1980-1990 Gaumont fanfare would be used on its films Orion distributed, such as My Mother's Castle, in which the 1985 Gaumont logo is plastered over.

Availability: Rare.

  • This appeared on art-house films released by Orion Classics, such as Boxing Helena, My Beautiful Laundrette (The U.S. Karl-Lorimar and Canadian Cineplex Odeon VHS releases omit this logo), Rhapsody in August, Jesus of Montreal, and Slacker, among others.
  • This logo is occasionally seen on airings of the after mentioned films on IFC and Sundance Channel, but other companies logos may appear in its place on DVDs and newer prints.
  • It is intact on the original MGM DVD releases of Theremin: An Electric Odyssey, Jean de Florette, Manon of the Spring, and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
  • It also appears (in full) on the U.S. trailers for Manon of the Spring, My Mother's Castle, My Father's Glory, Babette's Feast, and Cyrano de Bergerac on their MGM DVD releases.
  • This makes surprise appearances on the Artisan DVD release of Trees Lounge (before the Artisan logo strangely), and the Arrow UK DVD of the U.S. version of Opera (titled Terror At The Opera); it is currently unknown if it is intact on the U.S. SouthGate Entertainment VHS release of the latter film, and the limited Scorpion Releasing US Blu-ray of Opera plasters it with the standard Orion logo, as does the UK Cult Films Blu-ray.
  • Just recently, a newly updated version of the same logo appears on the theatrical trailer of The Domestics.
  • The B&W variant made a surprise apperance at the end of a ThisTV airing of season 1 episode 13 of The Addams Family.

Legacy: Same as the standard Orion Pictures logo from the time.

2nd Logo (January 31, 1997-September 24, 1999)

Logo: Same as the 1996 logo, but "CLASSICS" replaces "PICTURES".

Technique: Same as the standard 1996 logo.

Music/Sounds: Same as the standard 1996 logo.

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • Other times it would be silent or have the film's opening theme.
  • On some Gaumont films released in the U.S, it would use the music from the 1995 logo.

Availability: Extremely rare.

  • Occasionally seen on films shown on IFC and the Sundance Channel.
  • This logo can be seen on One Man's Hero.