Orion Home Video
Orion Pictures launched its own home video distribution unit in early 1986 and released its first video titles the following year. Prior to 1987, Orion's films were released under Warner Home Video during Orion's deal with Warner Bros. from 1979 to 1982; thereafter, Orion releases were licensed to Vestron Video and HBO Video (and HBO's predecessor labels). HBO continued to hold some rights to Orion films on VHS and Laserdisc after the formation of Orion Home Video, such as The Terminator (the rights reverted back to Hemdale and would later be reissued by Hemdale Home Video, LIVE Entertainment, and Image Entertainment before the rights ended up at MGM) and ¡Three Amigos! (since they only had theatrical distribution rights). After MGM acquired Orion in 1997, the label was still active (mostly as a way to get around MGM/UA's distribution deal with Warner Home Video), adding video rights to TV movies from its new parent company and also licensing some films to Image Entertainment for DVD release. Orion Home Video ultimately folded into MGM Home Entertainment by 1999. Most distribution rights to the Orion library, except all 1979-1982 releases and some post-1982 releases such as Amadeus, are held by MGM, distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment; ¡Three Amigos!'s rights remain with HBO while foreign rights are with MGM.
1st Logo (October 29, 1987-early 1990s)
Logo: On the familiar Orion star background, a glowing, blue-white comet streaks by, forming the familiar Orion logo (now rendered in chrome), with "HOME VIDEO" below it. The logo shines.
- On releases of Orion movies, the beginning of the Orion Pictures logo begins behind the Orion Home Video logo, as the stars become brighter. The logo shrinks to the top star, playing the Orion Pictures logo from on out.
- On videos that did not have the Orion Pictures logo, the logo shines for a few seconds more before fading out
- On 1988 tapes from this company, a still version of the logo is displayed before the FBI warning.
- Sometimes, when previews of upcoming releases were shown, the words "COMING FROM" would be superimposed above the logo. The font varies.
Technique: The comet swerving, the text shining, and in some cases, the movie logo transition.
Music/Sounds: Most releases use an extended version of the fanfare that surges into the standard Orion Pictures logo. Sometimes, a shortened version of the fanfare was used. In rare cases, it is silence or the film's opening music.
Availability: Extremely rare. Most of the back catalog's been reissued by MGM Home Entertainment. Titles with this logo include RoboCop and RoboCop 2, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, UHF, Frog, Mac and Me, and State of Grace, among others. The still variant can be found on a 1988 VHS of Married to the Mob. The short and silent version also can be spotted on some early 1990s GoodTimes Home Video releases that were under license from Orion, including Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw, Breaker! Breaker!, Class, Lone Wolf McQuade, and Back to School, among others. Orion's first home video release was Malone.
Legacy: A neat variation of the Orion logo with some nice star effects, though it's nowhere near as good as the next effort...
2nd Logo (1990-1998)
Logo: On a star background, the five stars fade into view. Instead of moving to form the "O", they break formation and swirl around, forming an outline of the Orion logo that quickly fills with chrome silver. "H O M E---V I D E O" then moves from the bottom of the screen to join the Orion logo, and they both shine. The stars from the beginning then return, swirling around the logo, causing it to disappear.
Closing Variants: At this point, one of three endings would appear.
- The stars making the logo disappear (mentioned above). This was also used at the beginning of some tapes and early DVD releases distributed by Image Entertainment.
- Just like the previous logo, the beginning of the Orion Pictures logo begins behind the Orion Home Video logo, as the stars return again to swirl around the logo. "HOME VIDEO" shimmers out, and "ORION" shrinks to the top star, playing the Orion Pictures logo from there.
- There is a version of the logo where it fades to black and then the movie plays as normal.
- "Sold Exclusively By" would appear above on various special (non movie/anime) releases. This was not used as a HV-Pictures logo combo.
- On most releases such as The Silence of the Lambs, a screen freeze of this logo is found at the very beginning of the tape. This practice was similar to what MGM/UA Home Video did in the '90s.
- A trailer version has "Coming Soon From" above the logo.
Technique: Outstanding animation.
Music/Sounds: The Orion fanfare, but modified with ticking-type sounds, whooshes, various minor sound effects, and chimes when the Orion logo shines; it's also played in a slightly lower pitch compared to the movie fanfare. For movies that have the Orion logo with the fanfare, the modified music is extended to cover both logos. If the movie didn't have it, then the logo would be silent or else the film's opening theme would begin to play underneath. The screen-freeze version is silent.
Availability: More common than the first logo, given its lifespan.
- It appears on more popular releases, like The Silence of the Lambs, the Lou Ferrigno film Cage, and RoboCop 3, among others, as well as VHS cassettes distributed by GoodTimes such as Mad Max; one of the last VHS releases to use this logo was the 1998 demo VHS of 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag.
- Also seen on DVDs distributed by Image Entertainment, such as Robocop 1 & 2, Silence of the Lambs, Dances with Wolves (in THX), No Way Out, Bull Durham (in THX), and Mississippi Burning, among others. Surprisingly, on the original DVD of the latter, the regular Orion logo is seen after the Home Video/Picture combo variant as the combo was in full screen, while the actual was in widescreen due to being presented in that format.
- It also appeared on later releases from Streamline Pictures, including Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo and Akira.
- The version that fades into the theatrical logo was seen on the 1991 VHS of Dances with Wolves, most likely due to time compression.
- The "Sold Exclusively By" variant is rare, but was seen on a VHS of Pinstripe Destiny: The Story of the 1996 New York Yankees and reprints of Fox Lorber and Triboro videos (Orion had distribution rights to the former company from 1994-1996/97 and the latter company around 1996/97).
- The short version appears after its modified screen/before the Filmways logo on a GoodTimes VHS of The Earthling.
- The 1998 VHS releases of 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, Gang Related, City of Industry, Ulee's Gold, Napoleon (1995) (later printings have the MGM Family Entertainment packaging), Great Balls of Fire!, and Black Caesar use either the standard MGM or MGM Home Entertainment logo instead, despite the Orion Home Video print logo on the packaging; by that point, OHV had been absorbed by MGM Home Entertainment, but the name was still used as a method of getting around their distribution contract with Warner Home Video.
- Also found on early-mid 1990s re-releases of Orion tapes recorded in EP mode.
Legacy: One of the most popular home video logos, as it's considered a beautiful update to the Orion logo by many. In fact, many people prefer this to the movie logo, and the transition from this to the movie logo is just the icing on the cake.