Castle Rock Entertainment
Castle Rock Entertainment was founded in 1987 by Martin Shafer, actor and director Rob Reiner, Andy Scheinman, Glenn Padnick and Alan Horn, with Columbia Pictures as their original strategic partner. Early in the studio's history, Nelson Entertainment co-financed their films until 1991, when New Line Cinema took over their duties (after Nelson was sold to New Line). On Christmas Day 1993, Castle Rock was acquired by Turner Broadcasting System and would become a part of Time Warner when the two along with New Line Cinema merged with them on October 10, 1996. In 1999, Warner Bros. Pictures gained distribution rights from Sony Pictures Entertainment/Columbia Pictures. Castle Rock's first release was Winter People in 1989, but no logo was used until When Harry Met Sally.... Castle Rock is currently a subsidiary of the Warner Bros. Entertainment. unit of Time Warner. The home media rights to the pre-1994 Castle Rock library (which was part of Nelson's library) were sold to Epic Productions, which incorporated it into its Gamma library, and then to PolyGram Filmed Entertainment; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired these rights in January 1999 after purchasing the pre-March 31, 1996 PolyGram library (including their back library) (exceptions are A Few Good Men, In the Line of Fire,and North, co-productions with Columbia Pictures that remained with the studio and The Spirit of '76, which Castle Rock produced and has a copyright holder alongside Black Diamond Productions, owned by Warner Bros.). Warner Bros. Television does own the television rights to most Castle Rock films. The post-1994 library is owned by Warner Bros. (except for distribution rights of The Story of Us, The Last Days of Disco, and international rights to The American President, all of which are owned by Universal Studios, the original distributor). Castle Rock retains the copyright to nearly all of its films. Sony Pictures Television holds the rights to Seinfeld, a Castle Rock co-produced show.
1st Logo (July 14, 1989-July 29, 1994)
Nicknames: "The Lighthouse", "The Light Tower", "Majestic Lighthouse"
Logo: Over a sea at sunset with some land and a lighthouse in the distance, we see the light from a lighthouse shining counterclockwise. A white sun rises up from the bottom of the range, and as the light moves from left to right, it causes the plain white words "CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT" to appear at the bottom of the screen. The light disappears when the logo is finished.
- Rob Reiner once said in an interview that the lighthouse was an allegory of the company's image: allowing creative talents to make their own projects with more freedom than the major Hollywood studios would allow ("safe harbor", as he calls it). Indeed, Castle Rock's nurturing of such talent, including (most notably) Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, made it one of the most successful production companies of the 1990s.
- The company name comes from the name of the fictional town in Maine that is the setting for several Stephen King stories (which he named after the rocky outcrop named "Castle Rock" in Lord of the Flies. Reiner himself named the company after the town after the success of his film Stand By Me, (which is based on King's novella, The Body).
- It is worth mentioning while this is the first logo used for theatrical releases, Castle Rock debuted its lighthouse logo a year earlier for their television unit in a still logo with morning skies and blue water.
Variant: On several films, right before the light beams past the screen, the company name can be seen in the shadows.
FX/SFX: The sun rising up, the "CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT" text appearing and the lighthouse shining is all nice 2D animation.
Music/Sounds: A soft piano sounder followed by a five-note fanfare with horns and bells. This tune was composed by Marc Shaiman. Some films, such as some prints of Misery, Year of the Comet and Honeymoon in Vegas, has the end part of the theme a bit different. Although on some films, the soundtrack of the film is used.
Availability: Common. It usually can be seen on Castle Rock releases from 1989 to 1994. However, this logo goes though editing on City Slickers on television. On Bravo, it's replaced with the 1994 logo (with the AOL Time Warner byline) and current home media releases, on Comedy Central, there is an edited version of the 1988 Columbia Pictures logo and the 1994 logo. On the 2001 MGM DVD release of said movie, it's replaced with the MGM logo. But on some current prints of films, this is either plastered with the MGM logo (on home media releases such as the DVD releases of City Slickers, Sibling Rivalry, Mr. Saturday Night and Honeymoon in Vegas) or replaced with the next logo (on television). Some prints on TNT and TBS have the original logo with the Columbia Pictures logos. On Starz and Encore airings of City Slickers 2, it has the logo intact but is preceded by the 1998 Warner Bros. Pictures logo with the AOL Time Warner byline (since the logo plastered the Columbia Pictures logo). This logo is preserved on Nelson Entertainment and New Line Home Video (distributed by Columbia TriStar Home Video) VHS releases of pre-1994 films. The logo is preserved on VHS releases by MGM/UA Home Video and PolyGram Video (along with possibly early DVD releases by the company). It is also preserved on the Columbia Pictures-owned A Few Good Men, In the Line of Fire and North. Can also be found on the Olive Films Blu-Ray release of Sibling Rivalry (alongside the original Columbia logo, all preceded by the 2001 MGM lion). Other films that have this logo include When Harry Met Sally..., Lord of the Flies, Sibling Rivalry, Misery, Late for Dinner, Year of the Comet, Honeymoon in Vegas, Mr. Saturday Night, Amos and Andrew, Needful Things, Malice, City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold, Little Big League and Barcelona. Strangely, it appeared on a 1998 airing of The Shawshank Redemption on WIN Television in Australia, preceded by the 1992 Roadshow Television logo, with the transition effect. It's possible that this logo was used on the original 1994 theatrical run of said film and the next logo appeared when it was re-released in early 1995 during the Oscar season. Don't expect to see this on The Spirit of '76; although Castle Rock owns the copyright (alongside Black Diamond Productions), it just has the Commercial Pictures logo.
Editor's Note: A little choppy but good cel animation for the time and nice music from Marc Shaiman.
2nd Logo (September 23, 1994- )
Nicknames: "The Lighthouse II", "CGI Lighthouse", "CGI Light Tower", "CGI Majestic Tower"
Logo: Same as the previous logo, but in CGI. We see a yellow light on a black background rotating counterclockwise, then the background fades to a blue and orange gradient sky with water to reveal a lighthouse and a house. The yellow light turns from left to right while the plain light orange sun rises up and sweeps around to reveal the words "CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT", in the same font as the previous logo and colored in plain yellow, below the lighthouse. The company name now zooms out from the bottom of the screen. The light disappears when the lighthouse and the company name stays on the logo.
Bylines: Below it, one of these five bylines fade in below the logo:
- September 23, 1994-May 19, 1995: "A TURNER COMPANY" in a Helvetica font.
- August 25, 1995-October 11, 1996: "A Turner Company" ("Turner" appears as the 1987 Turner Broadcasting logo, and the rest of the text is in the same font as it.)
- December 20, 1996-February 14, 1997: (Bylineless)
- January 30, 1998-December 14, 2000: "A Time Warner Company"
- September 28, 2001-April 30, 2004: "An AOL Time Warner Company"
- July 2, 2004-July 13, 2018: "A TimeWarner Company" ("TimeWarner" appears as the corporate logo; the rest of the text appears in FF Meta typeface).
- On Sleuth, the logo isn't animated.
- There is an international version, which appears in closing credits. The logo there is black and white, has "Distributed by" above and INTERNATIONAL below.
FX/SFX: The lighthouse and the company name zoom-out, which are all done in CGI that is very ahead of its time.
Music/Sounds: A re-orchestrated version of the previous logo's fanfare (also composed by Marc Shaiman) that sounds more dramatic and powerful than before. Like before, music from any given soundtrack is also used. The first three films with this logo; The Shawshank Redemption, Before Sunrise and Dolores Claiborne respectively, used the opening theme of the movie instead of the regular theme; the regular theme was first used the next year on Forget Paris.
- On some current prints of 1989 to 1994 films, this plasters the 1989 logo but keeps its original music, with one example being Crackle's print of Misery (that also being seen when The Weather Channel aired the movie back in 2009). The 1989 theme was also used on Beyond Rangoon.
- On the 2014 film And So It Goes, the fanfare was re-arranged to sound more powerful, minus the dings heard at the end.
Availability: Common on almost every Castle Rock film since The Shawshank Redemption.The early Turner variant is rare and it appears on the original Columbia TriStar Home Video VHS releases of The Shawshank Redemption, Before Sunrise and Forget Paris. It was also seen on the Warner Home Video release of The Shawshank Redemption. The second Turner logo is slightly more common and appears on The American President, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, City Hall, Alaska and Striptease. The bylineless version is seen on Waiting for Guffman, Ghost of Mississippi and Absolute Power. It also appeared on the Hamlet game for Windows. The first Time Warner byline is seen on Zero Effect, My Giant, Mickey Blue Eyes, Bait, Best in Show and Miss Congeniality. It also appeared on the original release of The Last Days of Disco and on the original video releases, but current prints replace it and the Gramercy Pictures logo with the Focus Features logo (even the last part of the logo theme that goes into the credits is muted out). The AOL Time Warner logo is seen on Hearts in Atlantis, The Majestic, The Salton Sea, Two Weeks Notice, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Murder by Numbers, Kangaroo Jack and Envy (despite all Time Warner companies using the Time Warner byline at this point. Possibly had it due to being a delayed release). The second Time Warner byline is seen on almost all 2004-2018 films from the studio from Before Sunset to Shock and Awe, and sometimes plasters the previous and Turner-bylined logos on newer prints. The international version is rare and appeared on some older films worldwide, newer releases plaster it with newer New Line Cinema or Warner Bros. Pictures logos. Can be found on the 2000 Warner Home Video NTSC DVD release of Absolute Power. Don't expect to see this on Friends with Benefits.
Editor's Note: A good upgrade to CGI and a nice majestic remix of the theme. However, at current time, it's started to become a little dated and is due for a newer version.