A few months back, we did a Top 5 on the best opening credits in movies, and I remarked at the time how important they were in setting the tone for whats about to follow. Today, we’re backing things up even earlier, to those promising few moments before the film has even started, when the previews end and the studio logos begin. Specifically, we’re talking about studio logos that have taken on the flavour of the film they’re attached to. The following countdown shows that when filmmakers and studios creatively work together to make the product and the brand complement each other, the results can be all the more stronger for it.
As has become customary with our countdowns, let’s start with some of the awesome studio openers that didn’t quite make the final cut.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
The Lego Movie (2014)
Now on to the countdown!
The Cannonball Run (1981)
This was one of the earlier films that actually showed you can have fun with the studio’s logo without defacing or degrading it. The cheeky cartoon car that uses the Fox logo as its own personal race track proves to be the ideal warm up for the destruction derby that is about to take place.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Perfectly setting the stage for the musical mashup we’re about to witness, this is the kind of pomp and circumstance we can only expect from Baz Luhrmann. Its a joyous opening that harks back to the days of matinee musicals and Art Deco theatres, and is wonderfully repeated with a coda at the end of the film, albeit a much sadder one after the climactic events of the story.
TRON: Legacy (2010)
Say what you want about TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski, the man has an impeccable eye. And he proves it right from the opening frame of this film, with a Sci-Fi rendering of the Disney castle like we’ve never seen it before. Not only does it perfectly capture the visual aesthetic of the film we’re about to watch, but it makes you wish for an alternate Disneyland park where this is all possible.
The Burbs (1989)
There are many impressive things about this lengthy opener from the cult 80s comedy The Burbs, not least of which is the fact it was made without the aid of modern computer technology and before the days of Google Earth. Starting in space and finishing in suburbia, this incredibly long shot take is nothing short of genius, and would be worth applauding had it kicked off a big budget Sci-Fi film, let alone a low budget comedy.
Raiders of the Lost Ark – (1981)
Ok, I know what you’re thinking: how can what is essentially a dissolve from a studio logo to the first frame of the movie earn the top spot? Well look, its not one of most well known studio openers for nothing. The beauty of this resolve from the Paramount logo to an ominous peak is in its simplicity, and its ability to not only set a mood, but also bring childhood memories flooding back in mere seconds. Its a testament to how iconic the moment has become that diehard Indy fans the world over take part in their own expedition to catch a glimpse of “Paramount Peak”, which is actually called Kalalea Mountain, and is located on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. Not bad for five seconds of screen time!
Spielberg would go on to create variations of the famous studio resolve in subsequent Indiana Jones instalments, a homage he took one step too far with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (alTthough we can probably blame producer George Lucas for all that gofer silliness)
Thats all folks! What opening studio logos have you dug over the years? Go on, let us know in the comments section below. (You’d be the first one to do so!)