Cannon Films (also known as "The Cannon Group, Inc." and "Cannon Pictures") was a film studio that has produced low-to medium-budget films from October 23, 1967 to 1993. The studio was formed by Dennis Friedland and Christopher C. Dewey. In 1979, Cannon was sold to Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who had produced a few Israeli films such as Operation Thunderbolt (Mivtsa Yonatan, English translation: "Operation Jonathan") and the teen comedy Lemon Popsicle (Eis am Steil) before coming to the United States in 1979. During that year, they bought controlling interest in Cannon Films and forged a business model of buying "bottom-barrel" scripts and putting them into production. In 1989, Cannon was acquired by Giancarlo Parretti and was renamed as Pathé Communications (this company was not connected with Pathé, although Parretti gave the company its name because he was going to purchase the latter studio, but was blocked by the French government). Parretti later acquired MGM/UA Communications Co. in 1990 and the two companies were merged to form "MGM-Pathé Communications Co.". Menahem Golan left the company to form a new studio, 21st Century Film Corporation. In 1993, Cannon was folded into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Most of the library of the American arm of Cannon Films is owned by MGM, who also owns home media, and international television rights. Warner Bros. owns the North American theatrical and home media rights to their co-productions with Cannon, such as Cobra, Over the Top, The Hanoi Hilton, Bloodsport, Masters of the Universe, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (for which Warner Bros. also owns international home media rights). As of 2016, North American television rights to most of the Cannon library is owned by Paramount Pictures, having acquired the rights after being purchased by Viacom, who in turn, previously remained in charge of TV syndication for the Cannon library.
1st Logo (May 8, 1975-1984)
Nickname: "The Cannon Hexagon"
Logo: Against a black background, a white multi-lined hexagon consisting of a "C" and an arrow pointing to the right is wiped in. Then, the "C" turns blue and the arrow turns purple, and the hexagon becomes solid, as well. It zooms out to the left, and the arrow splits off to the opposite side and leaves the text "THE CANNON GROUP, INCORPORATED" behind. Then, the "C" quickly meets up with the arrow and wipes the text away.
- Sometimes, the arrow would remain white, or the hexagon would be completely dark blue.
- A shorter version exists where the "C" merges from the split.
- On trailers, the hexagon zooms out from the center of the screen and fades to a dark blue color, but with the lines still present. The hexagon splits open in the middle, revealing "COMING FROM CANNON FILMS", with "CANNON FILMS" in the corporate font. It then quickly closes.
FX/SFX: The movement of the "C" and the formation of the text, which is 2D animation.
Music/Sounds: A very majestic and bombastic brass fanfare titled "Fanfare for an Ambassador", by Charles Williams. Otherwise, it's silent on some releases.
Music/Sounds Variant: One film uses the music from the 4th logo, due to reverse plaster error.
Availability: Quite rare. It was seen on some Cannon films from the time frame, as most (including Northville Cemetery Massacre) had no logo or contained only a "The Cannon Group Presents" text notice. Appears on films such as The Happy Hooker, The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, The Alaska Wilderness Adventure, and Hot T-Shirts (the latter after the second 1984 logo). It may be seen on American theatrical prints (and possibly the Paragon Video Productions VHS) of the 1980 film Contamination, released in the United States as Alien Contamination. The shorter variant can be seen on New Year's Evil.
Editor's Note: None.
2nd Logo (September 1980-March 1987)
Nickname: "The Cannon Hexagon II"
Logo: An in-credit title card; we see the "C" and arrow from before, along with the text "THE CANNON GROUP (INC.) PRESENTS". The font, color, background and positioning of the logo depended on the film.
- It's animated on The Barbarians. "THE CANNON GROUP INC." positions itself from the top of the screen, the C and arrow zooms out, and "presents" slides in.
- On The Godsend, the text says "THE CANNON GROUP INCORPORATED PRESENTS".
FX/SFX: None, except for The Barbarians variant.
Music/Sounds: None or the opening theme.
Availability: Rare, though this is much easier to find than the previous logo above. Other than The Barbarians, this also appears on Treasure of the Four Crowns, Schizoid, The Seven Magnificent Gladiators, The Godsend, The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood, and the international cut of Lifeforce (which is the most seen version).
Editor's Note: None.
3rd Logo 1984-1985)
Nickname: "The Cannon Hexagon III"
Logo: Against a black background, the C and arrow from before, in blue, come together in the center of the screen from both sides. As this happens, "THE CANNON GROUP, INC.", in white, appears below. The hexagon shines brightly, and after a while, a bright flash occurs, turning the hexagon a glowing white and quickly zooms out. A large ping appears in the middle, and it fades out.
FX/SFX: The lighting effects of the "C".
Music/Sounds: An eerie wailing sound, followed by a "whoosh" as the hexagon zooms back. Sometimes, it used the opening theme of the film.
Availability: Common. Seen on Exterminator 2, Missing in Action, and other films from the time frame, usually preceded with an MGM logo.
Editor's Note: None.
4th Logo (June 13, 1984-February 17, 1994)
Nicknames: "The Cannon Hexagon IV", "CGI Hexagon"
Logo: Just like the 1st and 3rd logos, the "C" and arrow, which now look more metallic, appear and meet in the center of the screen. "CANNON", in a bronzish color, fades in below, and the hexagon shines. Then, the text fades out and the segments of the hexagon fly toward the screen one by one.
- There exists a short version where the logo fades out instead of the hexagon pieces zooming in. This version was mainly seen on trailers, though it was seen at the front of some films, such as Robotech: The Movie and Kickboxer.
- There is a version with a voice-over saying "The Cannon Group presents a Golan-Globus production.". The voice is Don LaFontaine, who had provided the voiceover for many film trailers in the United States from the 1970s until his death in 2008.
- One version had the "flying segment" animation playing in reverse, and when the logo's almost formed, it fades to black to make room for the text "THE CANNON GROUP presents" (or "presenteert" in original Dutch), in light blue. This appeared at the beginning of the Dutch film The Assault.
- There is a version with a silver hexagon that was seen on Invaders from Mars (1986 version).
- On films released in France, after the usual animation, the words "CANNON France présente", with "France" in script, zoom in upside down, then flip over. "Cannon" is in blue, "France" is in red, and "présente" is in white. The music cuts in a couple of seconds later in this variant.
- In cinemas owned by Cannon, some longer films would be split up into two parts. The logo would play before the interval (or intermission) with "INTERVAL" written below instead. Then, after the interval, the logo would play again, with "CANNON CINEMAS PRESENT" below.
- On the original home video trailer for The Barbarians, there is a byline under the logo that says "Distributed by Media Home Entertainment Inc., a Heron Communications Inc. Company".
FX/SFX: The CGI used in the logo that involves the hexagon segments flying away.
Music/Sounds: A dramatic synth tune with a flourish produced by a string instrument of some sort. There are two different arrangements: an early version with a surround sound emphasis and a later monaural synth rendition. Sometimes, it is silent or is accompanied by the film's opening theme.
- The 1st jingle is adjusted for the short version, fading out before the last flourish.
- On a Paramount Channel France broadcast of King Solomon's Mines and the French Blu-Ray release of Runaway Train, there is a low tone version.
Availability: Very common. Can be seen on several Cannon films from the time. It debuted on The Naked Face, though Cannon continued to use the previous logo for another year. A sped-up version was used as Cannon Video's logo in the UK between 1986 and 1988. Some TV prints of Cannon films may have the logo removed, such as TBS broadcasts of Invasion U.S.A. in the 1990s, ending with the Viacom "wigga-wigga" logo. It strangely appears on the HBO/Cannon release of The Manhattan Project, a Gladden production distributed by 20th Century-Fox domestically (the cassette uses an international print distributed by Cannon).
Editor's Note: This logo is just as well-known as the movies that it preceded. Nice animation considering the time period.
5th Logo (Early 1990s?-1993)
Nicknames: "Still Hexagon", "Boring Hexagon"
Logo: The hexagon from the previous logos is still, white and above the text:
P I C T U R E S
Variant: Another version has a smaller hexagon, a trademark symbol "TM" is seen on the right side of "CANNON", and the bottom now reads "P I C T U R E S I N C."
Availability: Very rare. Was seen on the final films produced and/or released by the studio.
Editor's Note: None.