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Metro Pictures Corporation was founded in late 1915 by Richard A. Rowland (1880-1947) and Louis B. Mayer (1885-1957). The company started out distributing films made by Solax Studios but Mayer left soon after operations began to form his own company in 1918. Richard Rowland would continue to produce a number of films in New York City; Fort Lee, New Jersey; and in Los Angeles.
Dissatisfied with Metro's output following his purchase of the studio, Loew later purchased Goldwyn Pictures in 1924 and combined the two studios in the hope of creating higher quality content for his theaters. The same year, Louis B. Mayer sold his company, Louis B. Mayer Productions, to Loew for $75,000 (Around $1.17 million adjusted for inflation). The merger between the three studios was completed on April 17, 1924, with the three studios becoming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., or simply MGM. With Mayer serving as head of the studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer became one of the major players in the Golden Age of Hollywood and was part of the "Big Five" studios alongside Paramount Pictures, RKO Radio Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures. At its peak in the 1930s, the studio was releasing 50 films a year. In 1952, Loews Inc. was forced to relinquish control of MGM due to the outcome of United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. forcing studios and theaters to separate. By the end of the 1950s, MGM was in decline due to a combination of the split from Loews, the decline of the old studio system and the rise of television. In 1957, the same year Louis B. Mayer died, the company filed a loss for the first time ever.
In 1969, Kirk Kerkorian purchased the company. In 1981, MGM purchased the failing United Artists and in 1982, was renamed MGM/UA Entertainment Co. On March 25, 1986, MGM/UA was purchased by Ted Turner (temporarily renaming the company MGM Entertainment Co.), but after a large amount of debt, sold it back on August 26, keeping the pre-1986 MGM library. MGM was then renamed to MGM/UA Communications Co. Then in 1990, it became MGM-Pathé Communications Co. after Giancarlo Parretti purchased the company and merged it with Pathé Communications (not to be confused with the well-known French studio). Due to lawsuits, it was sold back to Kerkorian yet again and the company became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1992. On April 8, 2005, a consortium led by Sony bought the company. During 2009-2010, MGM had financial difficulties and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on November 3, 2010. After escaping from bankruptcy on December 20, 2010, Spyglass executives Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum became co-CEOs and co-Chairs. Birnbaum left on October 3, 2012, and Barber was fired in March 2018. Today, much of the studio's newer output is produced with and/or distributed by Columbia, Paramount, and Warner Bros. Pictures. As of 2019, some newer releases are distributed by United Artists Releasing, the rebranding of Mirror, a joint venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures. On May 26, 2021, online shopping company Amazon announced their intention to acquire MGM for $8.45 billion.
Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corporation
Nicknames: "The Marquee", "The Lion Statue"
Logo: On a black background, there is a marquee with torches surrounding it, similar to the MGM print logo. A statue of a lion rests on top. On the first part is "A", on the middle is "Metro Goldwyn", and on the bottom is "PICTURE", looking slightly smudged out in the center.
Trivia: This logo was used during the MGM era from the 1920s-1950s, with the appropriate addendum.
Variant: The logo has been seen in sepia.
Music/Sounds: The closing theme.
Availability: Very rare. This was used as an endcap on very early MGM-era movies like He Who Gets Slapped and Greed.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc.
1st Logo (November 9, 1924-April 22, 1928)
Nicknames: "The Silent/Quiet Lion", "Slats the Lion", "1st MGM Lion"
Logo: We have a new lion named "Slats" inside a newly redone film-like ribboning logo (as in the Goldwyn Pictures logo). Slats moves his head from right to left and then looks at the camera, and later looks around. The words "TRADE" and "MARK" are surrounding the circle containing Slats. Below the logo is a marquee that reads
On top of the circle, the phrase "ARS GRATIA ARTIS" is inscribed.
Trivia: Slats was born at the Dublin Zoo on March 20, 1919 and was originally named "Cairbre". He died in 1936.
Variant: Slats appears to move differently on every film in which he makes an appearance from. From 1925-1928, slats appearance is a bit different than the one from the normal logo. The appearance of him looks very similar to Jackie.
FX/SFX: Slats turning his head.
Music/Sounds: None or the movie's intro.
Availability: Very rare. So far, it has been spotted on He Who Gets Slapped, Confessions of a Queen, The Unholy Three (1925), The Circle and Battling Butler, but other MGM films have Slats replaced by Jackie.
2nd Logo (October 1, 1927-September 27, 1928)
Nicknames: "2nd MGM Lion", "The Unknown Lion"
Logo: It's nearly the same as before, but the ribboning is slightly re-done and a different lion (Bill?.) appears here. The usual MGM marquee is seen below. The ribboning is white, the wreath is yellow, the mask is red, and the marquee is green.
Music/Sounds: The only movies this is known to appear on were silent, so the logo either has silence or the movie's intro music.
Availability: This logo was used on early color silent films. It appeared on The Heart of General Robert E. Lee, which is currently being restored by the Library of Congress. It is also said to appear on a film entitled Buffalo Bill's Last Fight. The logo should be retained if either film is shown on TCM.
Editor's Note: MGM's early attempt at a color logo, and color films in general.
3rd Logo (July 31, 1928-October 13, 1953)
Nicknames: "Jackie the Lion", "1st Roaring Lion", "3rd MGM Lion"
Logo: A new MGM lion named "Jackie" appears in a slightly re-done film-like ribboning logo. Jackie roars three times and then looks at his trainer. The marquee "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" is seen below, the Latin phrase is inscribed on the circle, and the words "TRADE" on the left and "MARK" on the right outside of the circle.
Trivia: Jackie was born in 1915. He was nicknamed "Leo the Lucky" because he survived several accidents, including two train wrecks, an earthquake, and an explosion inside the studio. He retired in 1931 to the Philadelphia Zoo, and died in February 1935 of heart problems. His hide is currently on display at the McPherson Museum in McPherson, Kansas.
- Up until 1932, there was also an extended version where Jackie roars three times, then he looks away and turns back to the camera before it fades out.
- This logo would also appear in sepia tone.
- 1949: Silver Anniversary. There is a fancy napkin which reads "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Silver Anniversary Picture". Jackie precedes this. Seen on Scene of the Crime, The Doctor and the Girl, and Adam's Rib.
- In occasional colorized versions of the logo, the ribboning is in a brownish-gold color, the wreath is green, and the mask is red. Also, the NRA (National Recovery Administration, a New Deal agency that existed between 1933 and 1935) logo appears on the left side, below the marquee.
- There's another color variant, like the previous mentioned logo, but with the marquee in red.
- There is a variant where there is copyright information around the logo. This was seen on the Our Gang shorts "Teacher's Pet", "School's Out", and "Love Business", as well as the Laurel & Hardy short "Another Fine Mess".
- This has appeared superimposed over scenes on trailers of 1930s films, such as Mutiny on the Bounty, Fury, and San Francisco.
- On a Netherlands print of Dood Water (translated as Dead Water, 1934), the logo looks entirely redrawn with the mask also being slightly different, too. Apparently, it uses the panther roar from the 1930 version instead of the standard 1932 roar for a unknown reason.
Closing Variant: After the MGM merger, a variant of the Metro-Goldwyn Pictures closing logo, with the appropriate addendum, was used on the studio's end cards from 1924-1950s.
FX/SFX: Jackie roaring and turning his head.
Music/Sounds: Jackie roaring. The roar always varied. From 1929-1930, Jackie's actual roar was used. From 1930-1932, starting with the film Paid, a panther's roar was used. From 1932-1953, another roar was used, which would also be used for the 4th logo. For silent films, it's the music's intro only without Jackie roaring.
Music/Sounds Variants: Hallelujah, Marianne, The Unholy Night, The Thirteenth Chair, Untamed, It's a Great Life, Navy Blues, Devil-May-Care, Their Own Desire, The Bishop Murder Case, They Learned About Women, The Ship from Shanghai, Not So Dumb, Anna Christie, Chasing Rainbows, Lord Byron of Broadway, A Lady to Love, Montana Moon, Free and Easy, The Divorcee, Redemption, The Big House, The Lady of Scandal, The Sins of the Children, The Unholy Three (1930), Our Blushing Brides, Call of the Flesh, Romance, Doughboys, Madam Satan, Those Three French Girls, War Nurse, Min and Bill, Passion Flower and New Moon, have this logo without the roar, even though the movies themselves have sound.
- In the early variants of the logo, at least three different roar variations were used, some more often than the others.
- In the 1930s, a light fanfare composed by LeRoy Shield played under Jackie's roaring, chiefly at the beginning of the Hal Roach Studios output. In the 1940s, there was a more majestic fanfare composed by Franz Waxman heard, with Jackie roaring on some films (such as A Day at the Races and The Philadelphia Story). None for the mid to later years, as some had the intro music from any film playing with Jackie roaring.
- The Super 8mm version of The Wizard of Oz used Leo the Lion's roar from the 1960s.
- In the 1993 MGM/UA Home Video logo, Jackie roars with Tanner's roar instead of his own roaring sound.
Availability: Common. Seen on films of the era such as The Wizard of Oz, and the 1930s The Captain and the Kids cartoons. The color variant is quite rare, as colorized versions are hardly ever revived on TV or video; it is seen on the colorized version of Babes in Toyland (1934). This logo may plaster Slats on current prints of old films like Greed, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, and Flesh and the Devil; his first appearance as the full-time MGM lion was before White Shadow of the Seven Seas. In later years, clips from this logo were recycled and applied as filmstrip images for the CGI filmstrip animation on the 1993-1998 MGM/UA Home Video logo. The last films to use this logo were The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, Big Leaguer, The Actress and Main Street to Broadway.
Editor's Note: Along with Tanner, Jackie rates at the top with logo enthusiasts as far as MGM lions go. He was the third-longest lion to be used behind Tanner and Leo.
4th Logo (November 2, 1928-October 15, 1932)
Nicknames: "Telly the Lion", "4th MGM Lion", "2nd Roaring Lion"
Logo: Another lion named "Telly" appears in a new re-drawn film-like ribboning of the MGM logo. He is the first of the two two-strip Technicolor lions. Telly appears with a long snarl with two roaring sound effects. The usual MGM marquee is seen below. Everything but the lion is in a green hue.
- While the logo was made in color, there is also a black and white version on The Mysterious Island. The movie was originally shot in color, but only a black and white version survived.
FX/SFX: Telly snarling.
Music/Sounds: A cougar's roar, which was also used for Jackie in the 1932 variant of the previous logo. Some movies would only have the music's intro or the music and Telly's roar.
Music/Sounds/Variants: On Crazy House (1930), the logo has no sound.
Availability: Rare. Seen on live-action color films such as The Viking (1928), The Mysterious Island (1929), and Crazy House (1930), as well as color short films like Kiddie Revue (1930) and Over the Counter (1932).
5th Logo (1932-May 25, 1935)
Nickname: "Coffee the Lion", "5th MGM Lion", "3rd Roaring Lion"
Logo: Another two-strip Technicolor lion by the name of "Coffee" appears in a slightly re-drawn film-like ribboning and mask of the MGM logo. Coffee snarls by looking down and later roars. The Latin phrase is still shown inscribed on the circle. "TRADE" and "MARK" appear on different sides. The usual MGM marquee is seen below. The ribboning and wreath are white, and the mask is red.
Variant: There is also a longer version of this logo, as well as B&W versions. Sometimes (due to film deterioration), the logo itself might be closer or further away than usually intended.
FX/SFX: The snarling and roaring. The extended version has extra snarling and a brief third roar.
Music/Sounds: Just Coffee's roar.
Availability: Uncommon. Seen on several of MGM's color short subjects, including Roast-Beef and Movies and Wild People, as well as the first season of MGM's "Happy Harmonies" cartoons.
6th Logo (September 18, 1934-December 3, 1953)
Nicknames: "Tanner the Lion", "The Angry Lion", "6th MGM Lion" , "MGM Marquee V"
Logo: A new lion named "Tanner" appears in this MGM logo. The Latin phrase on the circle is red, the words "TRADE" and "MARK" are yellow, the red mask and the ribboning are re-drawn slightly with orange accents on certain parts of the filmstrip ribbons. The wreath is yellow and on the MGM marquee, the letters "M", "G", and "M" are red, with the remainder of the letters in yellow. Tanner roars three times in this one.
Trivia: Aside from appearing in this logo, Tanner also appeared in the Three Stooges short "Hold That Lion!" (1947). His roar was also frequently used as a sound effect in MGM's cartoons at the time.
- There is a longer version of this logo. Tanner would growl first, then roar three times, then Tanner would look at the camera while tilting his head, and would growl again, and the final roar with a gasp-like sound and a growl at the end.
- On "Happy Harmonies" cartoons, as well as An Optical Poem, the logo has Coffee's roar track. On the first roar for Tanner, it's Coffee's second roar, followed by the third roar, and the final roar is Coffee's growl.
- 1949: MGM celebrates its silver anniversary. This is basically the same as the version seen on Jackie's, but it's in color and Tanner proceeds this. Seen on In the Good Old Summertime, Challenge to Lassie, and On the Town.
- This logo strangely appeared in black & white and with Jackie's roar due to a plastering error on a TCM Australia airing of The Hucksters. Current prints of said film have Jackie.
FX/SFX: Tanner roaring.
Music/Sounds: Some movies would feature Tanner's roar or Coffee's roar on animated features by MGM. Other live-action films would have the music's intro with Tanner roaring. For the long version, it's just Tanner roaring.
Availability: Common. Seen on all color live-action films such as Quo Vadis, short subjects, and animated features by MGM's "Golden Age", with the last films to use this being The Band Wagon, Latin Lovers, and Give a Girl a Break. The long version is seen on Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove, as well as the travelogues Holland in Tulip Time, Switzerland the Beautiful, Zion: Canyon of Color, Ireland: The Emerald Isle, and Los Angeles: Wonder City of the West. The former short can be found on the DVD release of The Gay Divorcee. His roaring sounds was later used in the 1993 MGM/UA Home Video logo where Jackie roars during the filmstrip animation.
Editor's Note: In terms of popularity, Tanner is pretty much tied with Jackie. In particular, those who grew up on Tom and Jerry consider him a favorite.
7th Logo (July 17, 1953-November 2, 1956)
Nicknames: "Jackie the Lion II", "Tanner the Lion II"
Logo: This time, the MGM marquee has been permanently dropped and the name "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" has been placed on top of the logo, minus the hyphens (-) in between the names. Jackie appears on black & white films and Tanner on color films. Also, a Registered trademark symbol is added underneath the left side of the filmstrip.
- There is a short version of Jackie with the last two roars.
- For the Tanner version, there are two versions. One has the ribbons in silver and the other in gold.
- Two films, The Long, Long Trailer and Forever Darling, have Tanner with Jackie's roar.
- Another version appears with the gold ribbon Tanner variant with copyright info on either side.
- Tanner was used for a 3D version which appeared on films such as Kiss Me Kate.
FX/SFX: Jackie and Tanner roaring.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 3rd and 6th logos.
Availability: Uncommon. Seen on MGM films during this era, starting with the films Ride, Vaquero! and Torch Song. The version with Jackie first appeared on Half a Hero, released on September 4, 1953, and can also be seen on Blackboard Jungle, as well as The M-G-M Parade on TCM. It was last seen on The Rack.
Editor's Note: Obviously made for widescreen. The 3D version looks incorrectly aligned upon close inspection, as Tanner, who remains in 2D, appears to be in front of the ribboning instead of the other way around. In any case, this looks to be the start of a well-established design for the MGM logo as a whole; though the ribboning isn't gold yet, and the older lions are still in use, everything else is right in place.
8th Logo (July 17, 1956-1958, March 19, 1963)
Nicknames: "George the Lion", "Brief Mane", "7th MGM Lion"
Logo: A new lion by the name of George appears in the studio's logo. The ribboning in the logo looks more stretched out than the earlier versions. The red mask below looks re-drawn and the wreath looks more stretched out below. The color of the letters "M", "G'", and "M" are still red, but look faded. A registered trademark symbol has been added. The first version has the lion looking at the camera, then he turns away and starts roaring. Then he would later look back at the camera and roar again and snarl. The other would have the lion look at the camera first, then would roar while looking up and snarl at the end.
- This logo would appear on either a blue or black background.
- There is also a black & white variant.
FX/SFX: The lion roaring and snarling.
Music/Sounds: Tanner's re-dubbed roar or Tanner's roar with the music's intro.
Availability: Uncommon. Seen on MGM films during this era, starting with the film High Society. This logo surprisingly showed up on the 1963 film Any Number Can Win.
Editor's Note: Actual footage from this logo's production, dated June 24, 1955, has been preserved and can be seen in the Widescreen Museum. George isn't as well known as the other lions, due to his very brief tenure as the MGM lion.
9th Logo (September 6, 1957-July 10, 1987)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion", "8th MGM Lion"
Logo: A new lion appears, named Leo. The script "Metro Goldwyn Mayer" is in a new font. The wreath and the mask are redrawn once again, and the ribboning on the sides is stretched out even more. Leo roars at first, then turns his head to his right. He would roar again for the second time and look away, and would do the same thing on his third roar and would look away for the final time.
- Leo was born at the Royal Burgers' Zoo in Arnhem, Netherlands.
- The reason why his mane is shorter compared to all the other lions is because he was the youngest at the time when he was filmed.
- The footage of Leo was actually filmed first without the border, then the border from the logo was added in the footage. The original footage of Leo is currently lost due to the 1965 vault fire.
- There is also a black & white variant.
- By the 1970s, the logo looks a little more enhanced.
- From 1983-February 21, 1986 and July 10, 1987, the marquee name was altered to read "MGM/UA Entertainment Co.", following their acquisition of United Artists in 1981. Also, on UA releases of the era, this logo preceded the United Artists on-screen text. Starting with the release of Dream Lover on February 28, 1986, it reverted back to the name "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer". However, the MGM/UA variant appeared on the 1987 film O.C. and Stiggs. The film was originally made in 1985 and was shelved for two years.
- On several home media releases from the 1980s, the logo (especially the MGM/UA Entertainment Co. version) has the sides cut off and is more zoomed in. This is due to the pan and scan nature of the releases.
- On DVD copies of Teen Wolf, the fade-in is cut off and the logo starts at the first roar.
- Closing: At the end of every MGM/UA release, the movie's title would often appear above, with text below reading "DISTRIBUTED BY" or "FROM" with the MGM/UA Entertainment Co. or MGM Entertainment Co. print logo below. The Beastmaster only showed the logo.
FX/SFX: Leo roaring.
Music/Sounds: Some movies would only have Leo's roar. Other movies would have the music's intro with the roar.
Music/Sounds Variants: Tanner's roar was used from 1958-1982. The sound used is Tanner's first roar, repeated twice; for Leo's second roar, Tanner's first roar is used without the growl. Though for the three-roar variant, the first roar is Tanner's second roar.
- 1958-1961: Leo roars three times.
- 1960-1987: Leo roars only twice.
- There are a few variations seen on some movies with the roar. Some have Tanner's first and second roar, while a few others have that reversed.
- Starting with the movie Poltergeist, released on June 4, 1982, there is a new roar track for Leo, recorded and mixed by Mark Mangini. Leo's roar track becomes a synthesized one, which sounded more polished in theaters featuring Dolby/THX sound systems. Leo's image is unchanged. Movie trailers continued to use the 1960 roar.
- Around 1985, the final part for the roar changes, ending with a growl (which appeared on Year of the Dragon, though a few films such as To Live and Die in L.A. and 9 1/2 Weeks used the 1982 track). This version would be used co-currently with the 1982 roar until around 1987-1988.
- Brainstorm has an edited 1982 roar. The first roar is the last roar repeated two times, and the last roar is the first roar.
- Reckless has the growls heard between the roars muted out.
- On the DVD of The Beastmaster and the Shout! Factory Blu-rays of Poltergeist II: The Other Side and To Live and Die in L.A., it uses the 1995 roar. 2.0 audio tracks of the latter two films have their original roar tracks.
- On the 1994 Laserdisc release of Poltergeist, the 1994 roar track is used.
- The VCI Blu-Ray and streaming prints of Gorgo blends the 1958 and 1995 roars for some reason. Since the 1995 variation had only two roars, the second roar is used at both the beginning and the end.
Availability: Common. Lived for almost three decades.
- Seen on such films as Jailhouse Rock, the first two Poltergeist films, A Christmas Story, Ben Hur, King of Kings, the 1980s James Bond films Octopussy and A View to a Kill, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, among others.
- This logo even appears on several MGM shorts such as a few Gene Deitch Tom and Jerry shorts, among others.
- The logo is preserved on pre-May 9, 1986 films by MGM that are owned by Warner Bros. via Turner Entertainment Co. However, for releases from May 23, 1986-July 10, 1987 that still use the MGM/UA Entertainment Co. logo and are copyrighted by MGM Entertainment Co. (such as O.C. and Stiggs), the logo may be kept on or replaced with the 2001 logo on productions copyrighted to United Artists using the MGM/UA logo. Your best bet would be to check MGM/UA Home Video tapes.
- Also, the 1960-1982 version was plastered over with the 1983-1986 version on Two Weeks in Another Town on an international TCM airing.
- This logo debuted on The Seventh Sin and made its final appearance on O.C. and Stiggs.
- This appeared on original theatrical prints of Where the River Runs Black, but video releases replaced it with the 13th logo.
- This logo remains intact on the Shout! Factory Blu-Rays of To Live and Die in L.A. and Poltergeist II: The Other Side.
- Older VHS releases of Running Scared used this logo.
- The first film to use this iconic logo was Tip on a Dead Jockey. The colored version debuted on Les Girls.
Editor's Note: One of the most popular logos to exist. In fact, Leo is the most famous out of all the MGM lions.
10th Logo (April 3-October 13, 1968, 1977?-1981)
Nickname: "The Stylized Lion"
Logo: On a blue background, we see a yellow-orange outlined drawing of an unknown lion's head in a circle. Below it are the letters "MGM" in yellow-orange.
- A rare variant has the background color teal-green, the lion drawing is now white, and "MGM" is smaller.
- On trailers for the studio's films that were released by United Artists, this logo appears (in negative) above the 1976 United Artists logo. "An MGM Presentation" is next to this logo.
Trivia: This particular logo design remained in use long after it was retired as an opening logo. This was used as the print logo for MGM until at least 1982. The lion graphic then became the logo for MGM Grand for many years, and later MGM Mirage. It is currently used for the logo of MGM Resorts International.
FX/SFX: The simple fade-in and fade-out of the logo.
Music/Sounds: None, but on 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film's opening theme plays over the logo.
Availability: Very rare. It was seen only on two films: The Subject Was Roses, which has the logo intact on its Warner Archive DVD-R release, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, which had the logo edited out on most TV prints, but is preserved on DVD and Blu-ray as well as some international TCM airings and the 2018 IMAX re-release. This logo remained intact on video covers from early MGM/CBS releases. The trailer variant can be seen on the trailers for films such as He Knows You're Alone and Fame, among others.
Editor's Note: Even as far as abstract logos go, the onscreen graphic feels like a wasted effort. But, at least MGM still saw fit to use it elsewhere for a long time after.
11th Logo (May 23, 1974-July 4, 1975)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion II", "Golden Anniversary"
Logo: Same as the 8th logo, but at the top, "Metro Goldwyn Mayer", in the same font as the 1957 logo, is in yellowish-gold. Inside the circle is the phrase "BEGINNING OUR NEXT 50 YEARS...", with "B" a bit bigger and stretched vertically, also in yellowish-gold as Leo roars. There would be a cross fade between the phrase and Leo. Instead of "TRADE MARK" seen on the sides of the circle, "GOLDEN" is seen on the left and "ANNIVERSARY" is seen on the right in the same color. Leo would roar again two more times.
FX/SFX: The cross-fade and Leo roaring.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 9th logo from 1957. As a closing logo, the closing theme with the 1960 roar track was used.
Availability: Uncommon. Seen on films such as That's Entertainment!, Mr. Ricco, and North American prints of The Wind and the Lion. Makes a surprise appearance after the Sony Pictures Classics logo on the 2006 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD of The Passenger.
12th Logo (July 20, 1984-January 18, 1985)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion III", "Diamond Jubilee"
Logo: We see the 1957 MGM logo, but instead, the ribboning is in gold instead of white and will remain this way from this point forward. On top of the logo are the words "DIAMOND JUBILEE", arched in a white font. On the circle is inscribed "METRO GOLDWYN MAYER/UNITED ARTISTS"" in red, instead of the usual Latin phrase. The mask is re-drawn once again, with the mouth inside the mask in white, and the wreath surrounding the mask is not there. Below the mask is a ribboning banner that reads "ENTERTAINMENT CO." On the right side above the ribbon, there is a small trademark symbol "TM", and below the logo is the phrase "SIXTY YEARS OF GREAT ENTERTAINMENT" in white. Leo roars while the letters "M", "E" and "J" sparkle.
FX/SFX: Leo roaring.
Music/Sounds: The 1982 lion roar.
- Several trailers use the 1960 MGM lion roar.
- Some trailers with this logo use the 1982 roar.
- Another variant has the 1960 and 1982 MGM lion roars combined. This is seen on 2010: The Year We Make Contact.
- On current prints of Red Dawn, the 1995 roar is used.
- On Garbo Talks, the warped version of the 1982 roar is used.
Availability: Rare. It's only seen on MGM releases of the era such as Red Dawn, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Oxford Blues, Garbo Talks, Mrs. Soffel, Just the Way You Are, Electric Dreams, and That's Dancing!. All home video releases of Red Dawn have this logo intact; however, a few recent TV and streaming prints of said film replace it with the 2012 logo. Most other films from the era that use this (aside from the former two mentioned) may be intact or plastered with newer logos. The Japanese-subtitled laserdisc release of Diamonds Are Forever from Warner Home Video has this preceding the Turning UA logo, with a textual notice reading "United Artists Presents" appearing in between.
13th Logo (November 26, 1986-April 28, 2009)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion IV", "Classic Lion", "The King of the Plasters", "Lion of Plastering"
Logo: The logo is the same as the 1984 logo, minus the "ENTERTAINMENT CO." banner beneath the red mask. The company name is now golden colored, and will remain this way from this point forward. The mask appears in a darker red color. Leo roars twice as usual.
Variants: There are different variants through the years:
- October 30, 1987-1992: There is a byline that reads "An MGM/UA Communications company". The byline was used intermittently from late 1988-1992, mainly on trailers, thought it does make a surprise appearance on the original VHS release of Leviathan (another version has the bylineless logo). Films with this byline are generally preceded by the MGM/UA Communications logo.
- November 26, 1986-2001, 2006, 2008: The MGM/UA Communications byline isn't shown. Despite general use stopping around 2001, it made surprise appearances on The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold and WarGames: The Dead Code.
- 1994: 70th Anniversary logo; "70th ANNIVERSARY" is used. On this logo, the logo is pushed up to the top. "ANNIVERSARY" in spaced-out letters, wipes itself on the bottom of the logo, then "70th" appears. Starting with this logo, the ribbons now appear in a darker golden-brown color.
- 1999: 75th Anniversary logo; "75 A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE" is used. The MGM logo is once again moved up. When it begins, "75" zooms back and rests. "A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE" appears. The words shine. There is a version on The World Is Not Enough without animation, except for the lion roaring, of course.
- January 12, 2001-April 28, 2009: A "www.mgm.com" web address is added below the logo.
- On demo tapes from MGM/UA Home Video, the text "Property of MGM/UA" will appear between the logos and the title card of the film.
- On some movies such as Wicker Park, Good Boy!, and Bulletproof Monk, the web address URL is off-center in the 2001 version.
- Very early in its run, on Solarbabies and Dead of Winter, it used the MGM Entertainment Co. closing from the 9th logo.
- There's a white outline MGM print logo that would have the movie title (mainly James Bond movies), and would have the word "FROM" (for MGM releases) or "DISTRIBUTED BY" (for UA releases) below the title above the logo. In the late 80s-early 90s, three versions of the print logo were used: a standard version, another which was more outlined (seen on Poltergeist III and Masquerade) and another with inverted colors. Below the logo would be a byline stating "An MGM/UA Communications company", then later "A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Communications company". Starting in the mid to late 90s, it would say "DISTRIBUTED BY MGM/UA DISTRIBUTION CO.", then later "DISTRIBUTED BY MGM DISTRIBUTION CO."
- Another closing wouldn't have the MGM print logo seen on the end of classic movies owned by MGM. They would carry a short version of the MGM logo.
- There is a short black & white version of the 1995 logo that's seen after any classic MGM-owned movie in black & white, such as those by United Artists and Samuel Goldwyn Productions.
FX/SFX: Leo roaring for the normal variant, the logo moving and letters appearing on the 70th anniversary logo, and the moving, zooming, and shining.
Music/Sounds: Leo's roar.
- 1986-1988: The 1982 roar.
- 1994-October 20, 1995 and 1997: The 1982 roar, with a raspier sound. Sounds close to the 1995 roar, but not quite.
- December 22, 1995-: Starting with the release of Cutthroat Island, the 1982 lion roar track was remixed by Mark Mangini, who combined the original track with several other roaring sounds to give it more "muscle" and to accommodate 5.1 surround sound films.
- A silent variant of the short version has been spotted.
- On current prints and the DVD of Solarbabies, the 1985 roar is used on the 2001 logo. This occurrence also happened on foreign prints of Year of the Dragon (which MGM inherited from PolyGram Filmed Entertainment along with other Dino De Laurentiis productions from the time period) and current prints of A Dry White Season and The Meteor Man.
- Recent prints of Yentl have the 2001 logo with the 1982 roar, probably because the opening theme was used with the roar (some prints have the 1982 and 1985 roars combined). This also happens on the 2006 UE DVD of Octopussy and A View to a Kill, when you turn on the audio commentary.
- On the MGM Home Entertainment DVD release of Mr. Saturday Night, the theatrical trailer on the disc has the logo with the 1982 roar. On that trailer, it erases any Columbia references.
- On trailers and TV spots up to the late 80s-early 90s, the earliest being Running Scared (1986), the 1960 roar is used.
- On Rocky Marciano (a made for TV movie), the 1995 roar is used on the 1986 logo.
- On Windtalkers and the 2007 "Family Fun Edition" DVD of The Pebble and the Penguin, the 1994 roar is used on the 2001 logo.
- At least one airing of an MGM movie in syndication has the 2001 logo with the 2008 roar track.
- Bandits, Walking Tall, De-Lovely, Wicker Park, A Guy Thing, and the 2004 VHS of Uptown Girls have a low-pitched 1995 roar on the 2001 logo.
Availability: Ultra common. In fact, the 2001 website variant is more common than any other variant because it plasters not only previous logos, but also numerous logos from so many other companies (hence the nicknames "The King of the Plasters" and "Lion of Plastering").
- Seen on all MGM releases of this era.
- Its earliest-known appearance was on TV spots for Running Scared (1986), but it is currently unknown if theatrical prints used this logo, as the original U.S. VHS had the 9th logo and the UK VHS had no logo at the front of the film, while 1990s VHS reissues feature the bylineless gold-ribboned logo (in letterbox), as did a 1994 broadcast on BBC1 (cropped to 4:3).
- The MGM/UA Communications byline version was seen on the original VHS and Laserdisc releases of Spaceballs, Overboard, Poltergeist III (also seen on the Scream Factory Blu-Ray), A Fish Called Wanda (also on the Arrow Video Blu-Ray), Fatal Beauty, Captive Hearts, P.I. Private Investigations, and Leviathan (VHS only; the Laserdisc, which is letterboxed, had the bylineless logo).
- The bylineless 1986 logo is seen on the original home video prints of titles such as Where the River Runs Black (plastering the 9th logo), Mindgames, Blue Steel, Quigley Down Under and Thelma and Louise.
- It is also seen on the MGM DVD, Olive Films Blu-ray and Vudu print of Fatal Instinct, as well as the Scream Factory Blu-ray of The Vagrant, the Criterion Blu-Ray of A Dry White Season, and Vudu prints of Thelma and Louise and CrissCross.
- It also makes appearances on direct to video material such as An All Dogs Christmas Carol, The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, and strangely takes the place of the MGM Home Entertainment logo on VHS releases like the 1999 VHS of Black Caesar, the 1998 VHS of Napoleon, and Great Balls of Fire!
- It also seems to have been used as a de-facto home video logo in tandem with the 1998 and 2003 MGM DVD logos, since on titles from Embassy Pictures, Orion Pictures (post-1982 library), ABC Motion Pictures, and IFC Films, the logo precedes those companies' logos, in similar veins to Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
- The 1994 version is seen on Clean Slate, Blown Away (restored on digital prints and possibly the Kino Lorber Blu-Ray), That's Entertainment III, and (surprisingly) the Live Entertainment VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD releases of Stargate (the Artisan and Lionsgate Ultimate edition DVDs use the Artisan logo).
- The bylineless logo with the 1994 roar appeared on original prints of The Pebble and the Penguin, Fluke, Species, and Get Shorty, as well as a surprise appearance on Red Corner. It can also be found on the Vudu print of Snow White (1987).
- The 1999 75th Anniversary version is seen on The Thomas Crown Affair and pre-2006 prints of The World is Not Enough, though the earlier and mid versions are usually replaced by the 2001 logo like on the Ultimate Edition DVD and Blu-ray release of the latter. Again, see the MGM/UA Home Video and MGM Home Entertainment tapes, along with some early DVDs from them.
- The silent version is seen at the end of network prints of Topkapi.
- This replaces the 1981 Columbia Pictures logo on releases of MGM owned Castle Rock/Nelson films such as When Harry Met Sally..., Lord of the Flies, Misery, and City Slickers.
- However, it doesn't appear on Red Dragon or Nanny McPhee (despite being credited).
- This logo was used on trailers on post-2008 Sony/MGM releases up to Zookeeper, though it made its last theatrical appearance on Igor, released on September 19, 2008 and finally ended on the direct-to-DVD movie Legally Blondes.
- Interestingly, the 1988 video release of Willow from RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video (now "Sony Pictures Home Entertainment"), as well as the 1996 Columbia/TriStar Family Collection video release, retains the bylineless logo with the 1982 roar, as do older cable prints, preceded by the Universal Pay Television logo. However, DVD releases of the film by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment from 2001 removed any evidence of MGM having released the film, and go directly to the Lucasfilm Ltd. logo; it would, however, be restored on the 2013 Fox and 2019 Disney Blu-ray releases, as well as the streaming version on Disney+.
- The 2001 variant appears at the start of some early Sony Blu-rays, in addition to some early Fox Blu-rays of catalog titles, including The Man with No Name Trilogy box set, and the 2013 German Tobis Home Entertainment Blu-ray of For a Few Dollars More. Also makes a surprise appearance on the 2003 VHS release of Stargate (proceeded by the Artisan Entertainment logo and Studio Canal logo).
- The 1995 version was seen (between the 2006 Lionsgate and in-credit Carolco logos) on the Blu-ray and digital prints of Cutthroat Island, while the original video releases omit it and go straight to in-credit Carolco logo.
- It can also be seen on the American MGM DVD release of Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids, but the Canadian release and current prints don't have it as Nelvana now owns the film worldwide.
- For some reason, the 2001 version also appears on MGM-distributed releases of the DiC Movie Toons, like Groove Squad.
- It was also seen on the theatrical release and TV airings of Arthur and the Invisibles, but the DVD release only has The Weinstein Company logo.
- Also seen on current international prints (including a recent PRO Cinema broadcast in Romania) of Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, which was released by Vision International overseas (in America, it was released by Republic Pictures through New Line Cinema).
Editor's Note: Like the 9th logo, it's one of the most popular logos ever. However, some people don't like the 2001 website variant of this logo, since it plasters so many older logos (hence the said nicknames in the availability).
14th Logo (November 14, 2008-March 16, 2012)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion V", "Modern Lion"
Logo: The text, ribbons, and mask, along with its wreath, are now all in a lighter, more metallic-looking shade of gold. The web address below the lion now reads "MGM.COM". Leo roars twice.
Trivia: This logo was actually based off the print MGM logo that's seen on the MGM Home Entertainment/MGM DVD print logos as seen on VHS and DVD covers and other MGM merchandise. The gold mask seen on this logo looks similar to the one in the 1993 MGM/UA Home Video logo. The footage of Leo in this logo is actually taken from a negative master of the 1958 film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, because the original 1957 3-roar footage was believed to be lost. Leo was then given an HD enhancement, with his mane and ears digitally remodeled to remove film fuzz and blemishes. They were also made to overlap the film ribbons in order to give the logo more depth. More info on the project here.
- On the closing variant and in 2009 on cable broadcasts (otherwise the MGM Television logo), there is a bright gold logo.
- There is also a longer variant that is basically a 3-lion roar restoration, which was not seen on films at all.
- 2010-: A closing variant appears at the end of Hot Tub Time Machine and some catalog titles, in which the words "DISTRIBUTED BY MGM DISTRIBUTION CO." appear in place of the URL. On a recent WGN airing of Mr. Mom, a slightly different font is used.
- Starting in 2011, the logo began appearing without the URL, this was because after their emergence from bankruptcy, MGM stopped independently releasing their films. It first appeared on The Cutting Edge: Fire and Ice in 2010. Then it made an appearance on a behind-the-scenes video of Zookeeper found on the MGM website, as well as the trailers for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 21 Jump Street and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Oddly, the roar track is not used on the former two trailers, though it is heard on the latter. The logo made its first appearance on a theatrical release of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
FX/SFX: Leo roaring. This version was created by Pacific Title.
- November 14, 2008-February 6, 2009: A new roar sound bite that also has elements of the 1995 MGM lion roar and is more powerful than its predecessor, once again mixed by Mark Mangini. Reportedly, this new sound bite was made because the recent ones did not have the lion roaring thrice like the longer version, though the two-roar version was used on all the movies that preceded it. This was also used on the trailers for Fame and Hot Tub Time Machine.
- June 12, 2009-March 16, 2012: The 1995 lion roar is used.
Music/Sounds Variants: The roar track is muted on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Availability: Common. This logo is found on Quantum of Solace, Valkyrie, The Pink Panther 2, The Taking of Pelham 123, Fame, Hot Tub Time Machine and Zookeeper. Also, some movies owned by MGM when aired on cable and Pay TV may plaster older logos with this. On the non-US version of Valkyrie, it follows the 1994 20th Century Fox logo. On TV broadcasts of various MGM movies, the MGM Television logo is at the end. The last movie to have this logo was 21 Jump Street. It precedes the Universal Pictures logo on current overseas prints of Conan the Destroyer (1984).
Editor's Note: The history of this updated logo's creation is actually rather interesting. Although the 2008 roar track was a wasted effort. Why even make it if they decided to stick with the 1995 roar?
15th Logo (August 8, 2012-)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion VI", "Zooming Ribboning", "The Lion's Eye"
Logo: On a black background, we see flickers of light. The image then pulls back to reveal that it is a pupil, an extreme close-up of Leo's eye. We then see Leo, the ribboning, mask and the words "TRADE MARK" on both sides (from the previous logo, all in gold and metallic) ease back with the ribbons moving, as "Metro Goldwyn Mayer" appears shimmering and eases itself above the ribboning. The company name is darker and appears to have a "shining" effect applied to it. The mask is also different as well. Leo roars as this happens.
Trivia: The logo was designed by LA-based graphic design company Shine.
- On the game 007 Legends and the film Skyfall, the logo is darker and appears more golden. The flickers of light at the beginning are not seen.
- A still version exists, which can be seen at the end of films such as Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Carrie (2013), RoboCop (2014), Poltergeist (2015), both Creed films, Tomb Raider (2018), Fighting With My Family, The Hustle, The Addams Family (2019) and Wrath of Man (although the trailer for Wrath of Man uses the next logo).
- A short version appears at the end of some newer prints of older films released by Orion Pictures and United Artists, and made a surprise apperance at the end of the 2015 film Spectre.
- On some films, the movement of Leo's eye varies. Sometimes it looks straight at the camera, and other times it moves as if Leo was looking around, either once or twice.
FX/SFX: The camera zooming from Leo's eye, Leo roaring, the ribbons, and the studio name. It's all in excellent CGI.
Music/Sounds: The 1995 roar is used, along with whooshes throughout the animation and the sound of a running film projector before the lion roars. The noise dies down after the first roar. There is also an extra growling sound added after the second roar.
- On the Skyfall teaser trailer, there is a shortened version of the roar.
- The version seen on Shine's website has the standard 1995 roar without any additional sound effects.
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and 22 Jump Street have the opening theme to the film without the whooshes and projector sounds, just the roaring. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Spectre, and Me Before You have the opening theme of the movie with the whooshes and projector sounds and the roaring.
- G.I. Joe: Retaliation has the 2008 roar track.
- None for the still variant.
- A strange reverse plaster with the MGM/UA Home Video logo was found on a Portuguese dub of Exterminator 2. This can be seen here.
Availability: Current. It can currently be seen on every film from MGM, beginning with Hope Springs (albeit in a shortened version; the full version first appeared on Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of James Bond).
- The logo actually first appeared on the teaser trailer for the James Bond film Skyfall. The full version of the logo is also seen on the MGM 90th Anniversary trailer promo.
- The full version can currently be seen on Shine's website. This also appears in some current prints of films, such as the 2013 remastered Blu-ray releases of The Terminator and the original RoboCop before the Orion logo, and on the 2016 remastered Blu-ray release of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, before the UA Ovoid. Makes a surprise appearance on YouTube prints of Masters of the Universe (followed by the Cannon Films logo.
- With the upcoming films now announced to use the next logo, this logo's days are numbered.
Editor's Note: A great effort to modernize the MGM logo. The moving filmstrips as well as the zooming out from the eye is a great touch to actually give the MGM logo a little more substance. However, the size of the ribbon is off-putting, as Leo's head doesn't fit in the circle anymore.
16th Logo (March 8, 2021-)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion VII", "Zooming Ribboning II", "Art for Art's Sake", "CGI Lion", "The Lion's New Design", "Animated Lion"
Logo: On a black background, a golden, rounded square passes by, bringing in a bright light. Another square passes while we zoom out through another to reveal we were inside the golden filmstrip ribbon. The ribbon zooms out and settles in place, this time reading "ART FOR ART'S SAKE" (the English translation of the usual "ARS GRATIA ARTIS"). A bright light is seen filtering out of the words in the ribbon, filling it with gold. By the time the light fades away from the right, the ribbon gains an extremely shiny metallic luster and the English translation changes back to its familiar Latin version. The ribbons on either side of the circle unfurl into their familiar form as Leo (now an updated, photorealistic CGI rendering of him) fades in and roars. The mask (once again redesigned, with a solid mouth this time) and leaf-like design around it grow and fade from the darkness, and the company name zooms out (just like the previous logo) and shines on top of the ribbon, with "TRADE MARK" fading in shortly after. The entire logo has a subtle, faint golden shine all around it.
Trivia: The logo was designed by Baked Studios.
Variant: A short version exists starting when Leo appears. The golden filmstrip ribbon forms a lot faster, the company name zooms out faster, and Leo roars once in this variation. This can be seen at the beginning of MGM's clips, trailers, and compilation videos on their official YouTube channel.
FX/SFX: The ribbon settling in place, the "Art for Art's Sake" reading turning to Latin when painted gold, Leo himself appearing and roaring, and the text zooming out. It's all done in astoundingly beautiful CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: A majestic orchestral fanfare plays in the beginning (notably marking the first time the MGM lion's roar has been complimented with a proper fanfare), which ends in a somber, violin-esque descent as the 1995 roar track caps it off.
Availability: Brand new. It was first uploaded to MGM's official YouTube channel on March 8, 2021. It's expected to debut on Respect and the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die (where the logo was supposed to make its official debut on in 2019, before being delayed several times due to the director's departure and later COVID-19 pandemic). As of this writing, this logo is used in tandem with the previous logo, though that may change in the pacifiable future.
Editor's Note: The CGI Leo could take some time to get used to and those who prefer the previous logos may also be annoyed. Nonetheless, it's a stunning update to the MGM logo everyone knows and loves, especially since the 100th anniversary is approaching. The English translation of the Latin phrase is also an excellent touch alongside the beautiful fanfare.
- 1924-1938: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (or Distributing) Corporation (with the MGM secondary logo at the center). To the left of the MGM secondary logo, the text "Controlled by LOEW'S INCORPORATED" appears.
- 1938-1960: Copyright © by Loew's, Incorporated. (MGM officially split from Loew's in 1959)
- 1960-1980, 1992-1996: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
- 1981-1982: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Co. (MGM Studios and MGM Grand divisions were split into two companies on May 30, 1980)
- 1982-1986: Copyright © by MGM/UA Entertainment Co. (MGM merged with United Artists on July 28, 1981)
- 1986-1987: Copyright © by MGM Entertainment Co. (MGM split from United Artists when Ted Turner purchased the studio and then sold the remnants of MGM/UA back to Kerkorian)
- 1987-: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Inc. (Used for theatrical releases)
- 1989-1990: Copyright © by MGM/UA Pictures, Inc. (Used on B-list releases from the time)
- 1991-1992: Copyright © by MGM-Pathé Communications Co. (MGM was acquired by Pathé in 1990)
- 1991: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, a Division of MGM-Pathé Communications Co. (Appeared on Delirious)
- 1996-present: Copyright © by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. (current copyright claimant of United Artists films and older post-1986 MGM movies)