TriStar Pictures (originally spelled "Tri-Star") was formed in 1982 as a joint venture between Columbia Pictures (then owned by the Coca-Cola Company), HBO, and CBS, hence the name of the studio. Originally it was known as "Nova Pictures" until the name was changed on May 16, 1983 in order to avoid confusion with PBS's hit science series NOVA. CBS was the first joint-owner who dropped out venture on November 15, 1985 and sold its interest to Columbia Pictures for $48m. In 1986, HBO sold its shares in Tri-Star to Columbia as well and formed HBO Pictures. On December 21, 1987, Tri-Star Pictures, Inc. was renamed to "Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc." and Coke merged Tri-Star & Columbia to become "Columbia/Tri-Star", of which Coca-Cola owned 80% of its stock. In late 1987, most of Tri-Star's releases were copyrighted under the "Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc." name until mid-1988, when it was reverted back to "Tri-Star Pictures, Inc.", as a new entity with that name was incorporated on April 13. In January 1988, CPE's stocks fell a little and Coke decreased its shares in CPE to 49%. On November 8, 1989, Sony Corporation of Japan acquired Columbia Pictures Entertainment for $3.4 billion. On August 7, 1991, under Sony Pictures Entertainment, the hyphen (-) was taken off of the name to refer it to the current CamelCase-style name, "TriStar". Early on, (with a few exceptions), TriStar's films were released on Home Video by either RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video (now Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), CBS/FOX/Key Video (now 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), occasionally Vestron Video/Lightning Video (now Lionsgate Home Entertainment), or Thorn-EMI/HBO/Cannon Video (now HBO Video), among other companies. In 1988, following Columbia's buyout of TriStar, Home Video distribution of films produced by the studio moved exclusively to RCA/Columbia. From 1985 until 1994, TriStar also distributed films produced by Carolco Pictures; these were released on the International Video Entertainment and Live Home Video labels (now Lionsgate Home Entertainment), often with TriStar's logo cut. Cliffhanger is the only Carolco film in which the rights were retained by the original distributor. In 1998, TriStar Pictures is owned by Sony Corporation.
1st Logo (April 6, 1984-May 28, 1993)
Nicknames: The Early Pegasus, Wobbly Wings, Jumping Pegasus, Pegasus Over Pyramid, 80s Pegasus, The Quiet/Loud Music, Majestic Pegasus, Pegasus Over a Triangle, From Stallion to Pegasus, The TriStar Pegasus
Logo: On a dark blue/purple evening background with pink skies, a splashed white stallion gallops into view coming from the left. When he gets really close, three stars coming from the left, right, and bottom of the screen crash into each other, forming a "T" in Didot font (the same font used for the CBS text as CBS was one of the joint owners of Tri-Star until 1985). The stallion grows a pair of wings and flies over the "T". It zooms out, revealing two more letters: "R", and "I", and below it is the word "STAR" reading the stacked words, "TRI STAR". The text continues to zoom out. A yellow outline of a triangle zooms out with the spaced-out word "PICTURES" under it, surrounding the text and the background. As that happens, the triangle outline reveals an abstract drawing of a Pegasus "jumping" over the logo.
Trivia: That logo was spoofed on the Family Guy S4 episode "Petergeist", where it shows Joe Swanson riding his wheelchair instead of the Pegasus, and it says "JOE SWANSON THEATRES" instead of "TRI STAR PICTURES".
- On films shot in 2.35:1 (anamorphic Panavision), the abstract triangle and Pegasus zoom out further back to accommodate the wider ratio. On VHS and full-screen DVD releases, they might use the standard animation or use the pan-and-scan version of the zooming Pegasus by (1) the screen focusing on the Pegasus when he appears and suddenly shifting when he jumps over the "T", (2) the screen following the Pegasus or (3), the screen starting in the middle and the Pegasus appears shortly before he jumps over the "T". On two Carolco movies in the aforementioned format (in that case, shot in Super 35), Deepstar Six and Air America, the standard logo is stretched to fit the ratio.
- On Iron Eagle and The Fisher King, a 1.85:1 version of the shrinking Pegasus was used. A cropped 2.35 version was used on Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The open matte version appears only on the 4:3 version of The Fisher King, Iron Eagle used the standard variant in its 4:3 version, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day never had a known 4:3 release with the TriStar logo.
- On many Tri-Star releases in 1985, we can see the Pegasus make it half way and start to grow his wings and jump over the "T".
- On 1991-1993 movie trailers and commercials, the words "TRI STAR" are in white over a black background with a little "Pegasus Over Pyramid" logo in the upper right next to "TRI", while the films themselves used the 1984 logo and the newly-formed TriStar Television used that for their logo.
- The beginning of Tri-Star Showcase has that logo edited, with the horse galloping. When he jumps over the "T", it fades to the preview of the movie.
- On the VUDU print of Lock-Up, the 2011 StudioCanal logo plays, and after it ends, it cuts in the middle of the TriStar logo when the Pegasus jumps over the "T".
- May 11, 1984-September 20, 1991, January 29, 1993: Scrolling in the end credits would have the same exact logo, minus the purple triangle with the gold outline colour. Above the logo has the text "A TRI-STAR RELEASE".
- December 11, 1991-October 16, 1992: The closing variant of the still logo from the movie trailers and the 1991 TriStar Television logo, minus the "TELEVISION" rectangular box below "STAR" nor "PICTURES" below the triangle with the text "A TRISTAR RELEASE" minus the hyphen between the TriStar name seen above the logo. Sometimes, the rectangular box is seen below the logo, but it lacks the "TELEVISION" text inside it. Starting in late 1992, there's a new version with "RELEASED BY" above the logo and the rectangular box has a Sony Pictures Entertainment byline.
- On Avalon, a still version of the finished logo is seen after the end credits and the Baltimore Pictures logo.
- On a few Carolco films such as Narrow Margin and L.A. Story, it lacks the "A Tri-Star Release" text as it just has the print logo.
FX/SFX: The wings growing on the horse, the forming of the "T", and the text zooming out.
Music/Sounds: Begins with an orchestrated piece done by Dave Grusin. As the horse gallops in the view, three low French horn notes play and they repeat. When the Pegasus flies over the "T", more enlighting trumpets play and are combined with the trombone. For the logo formation, a loud brass fanfare is played. Although on some films, the logo is silent. Sometimes, the theme echoes after the logo ends.
- On some prints of Rambo: First Blood Part II and other Carolco films, the Carolco theme is heard (one TV airing of the movie had the high-tone version of the theme). That also appeared on a 1995 Australian television broadcast of Iron Eagle II (with the 1988 theme). That is likely due to poor plastering. The original domestic print had the standard TriStar fanfare, as that was the version used on HBO early on, starting in 1986.
- TBS's print of Matilda, which features that logo under strange circumstances, has the 1993 jingle playing over that instead due to poor reverse plastering.
- Sometimes, on Sniper, the 1982 TCF fanfare is heard.
- On Showtime airings of Labyrinth, the 1935 20th Century Fox fanfare is used due to plastering error.
- On The Blob, the 1979 TCF fanfare is used over the TriStar Pictures logo.
- Can be found on TriStar movies from the '80s and early '90s, particularly The Muppets Take Manhattan, Red Heat, Total Recall, Air America, The Natural, Steel Magnolias, The Running Man (except for the 1999 Republic Pictures DVD), Universal Soldier, Supergirl (1984) (USA Home Video release), Hook, Touch and Go (HBO/Cannon VHS only, it is unknown if it appears on the 1999 Trimark Home Video release), Mountains of the Moon (the 1999 Artisan Home Entertainment/Pioneer DVD), Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, L.A. Story, the first two Look Who's Talking movies, and Labyrinth, among others. That logo made its first appearance on The Natural and made its last appearance on Cliffhanger.
- The silent version can also be found on the 1999 VHS of The Muppets Take Manhattan. Many video releases of Carolco productions omit that logo, but it's preserved on some films, such as Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw, DeepStar Six, Universal Soldier, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Basic Instinct, VUDU and YouTube streaming prints of Homeboy (1988), current releases of Rambo III, and streaming prints, the 1988 Widescreen Laserdisc release and reportedly, an Encore airing of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (it is unknown if that appears on Australian VHS releases from Columbia TriStar Home Video), as well as being present on the RCA/Columbia Pictures/Hoyts VHS release, and the 2012 UK theatrical re-release of Total Recall.
- It was also preserved on French VHS releases of Total Recall and Hamlet (1990).
- The trailer logo is rare and seen on previews of TriStar films from 1991-1993, such as Cliffhanger and Sleepless in Seattle (though the latter uses the next logo on the main feature). That logo did not appear on Scanners.
Editor's Note: The state-of-the-art animation of the time and the majestic fanfare makes that one of the most iconic movie logos of the 1980s.
2nd Logo (June 25, 1993-September 12, 2015)
Nicknames: 90s/00s Pegasus, Ultra Majestic Pegasus, The TriStar Pegasus II, CGI Pegasus
Logo: We start out on a black background. Then we see part of a dark background, which slowly fades in and brightens to reveal that it is made up of dark cumulonimbus clouds with fog at the bottom. A white flash of light then starts to glow and gets bright, as it almost fills the background. A Pegasus appears from the far distance, as he spreads his wings out and takes a few steps, causing the fog to flow. "TRISTAR", in a shiny gold chiselled bold font, slowly fades in at the top of the screen with the letters "T" and "S" in a bigger font than the other letters as the flash dims away slowly. The Pegasus stops when his wings are fully spread out and the "TRISTAR" text fully appears. The text slowly shines as the fog still flows.
- That logo was based on a still image Sony had introduced alongside its sister studio Columbia in 1992. The logo was only used for home video and television until a fully animated logo debuted in the summer of 1993.
- That logo was animated by Intralink Film Graphic Design.
- That logo was apparently animated in 2.20:1, as even open matte presentations have that logo cropped on both sides.
- June 25, 1993-March 12, 1999: Bylineless
- December 15, 1995-February 21, 2014: "a SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT company" (first seen on Jumanji, the byline is blue on its first appearance, but starting with Mary Reilly, released on February 23, 1996, the byline is bright yellow or white). However, some post-1995 films continued to use the bylineless version until 1999. Starting with Sparkle on August 17, 2012, the byline appears smaller and a bit darker, but slightly off centered, like the 1996 Columbia logo, that was last used on Pompeii. However, some films still use the byline in tandem until August 2015).
- April 16, 2014-September 12, 2015: "a Sony Company" (seen on Heaven is for Real, Ricki and the Flash, War Room, and the UK theatrical version of The Lady in the Van (the last film to use that logo). In that version, the Sony logo transitions to that logo)
- During that logo's early years, on movie trailers and commercials, when the Pegasus is spreading out his wings, the "TRISTAR" text is fully transparent, rather than fading in as in the regular version. Also, it doesn't shine.
- On Sleepless in Seattle (the first movie to use that logo), the flash dims away earlier before the Pegasus spreads out his wings and the "TRISTAR" text appears.
- The brightness of the clouds and the colour of the byline vary depending on the film.
- A very early trailer and commercial logo has a black background with the stacked words "TRI STAR" and next to it is the box with the Pegasus in front of the cloud.
- It's the same current print logo that appeared on movie trailers during its early years, and looking similar to the last print logo. The Pegasus is placed inside a box, with a cloud background overlapping the top. His wings overlap both ends of the box. Below the logo is the text "A TRISTAR RELEASE", or "RELEASED BY" above the logo with the SPE byline underneath. Sometimes, "A TRISTAR RELEASE" is omitted. Sometimes, it's bylineless.
- One early variant of such featured the boxed Pegasus logo at center, with "TRISTAR PICTURES" (in Bank Gothic MD BT) and the SPE byline below one another. That particular closing variant happened to appear at the end of the features Chaplin and Cliffhanger, which both used the old logo at the beginning, although the latter was the last movie to use the old logo at the beginning, though that may be unsurprising, since both Columbia and TriStar first introduced their new logos for their home video and television divisions a year earlier in 1992. Starting with T2 Trainspotting in 2017, a revised version of this closing variant is used.
- Starting with Heaven is for Real, the Pegasus' wings don't have the shadows, and "A TRISTAR PICTURES RELEASE" is now seen underneath with the byline "a Sony Company". However, most of the time, the shadows are still intact.
- After the end credits of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, the logo is still and the print logo is replaced.
FX/SFX: The light beam forming the Pegasus, the fog flowing, the text fading in and shining. Very nice animation that still looks good more than 20 years later.
- It starts with an ascending and descending back and forth piano glissando, followed by a three-note descending xylophone tune, on the last note, the French horns playing the same six opening notes from the last logo begins. Between the third and fourth notes, there is a delay filled with a four-note tuba tune. The music rises in intensity as we hear more and more instruments come in, ending in a very majestic fanfare. This was composed by Bill Johnson.
- Starting with the film Godzilla, released on May 20, 1998, the fanfare has been rearranged.
- Sometimes, this logo is silent (found on the international prints of Fortress 2: Re-Entry and Cowboy Bebop: The Movie). Other times, there's music from any movie soundtrack playing over the logo.
- On earlier films with that logo, such as Jury Duty and some prints (such as the 1999 DVD release) of Sleepless in Seattle, the 1984 TriStar Pictures fanfare from the previous logo is heard. But on the 2013 film, Evil Dead, it's silent.
- On HBO airings of Godzilla, the first half of the 1997 20th Century Fox fanfare is heard due to plastering error.
- Sometimes, the movie's opening theme plays over the logo.
Availability: Common. It's seen on many TriStar releases during that period.
- The bylineless version can be found on all 1993-1995 releases including Sleepless in Seattle, Look Who's Talking Now, Philadelphia, Jury Duty and Legends of the Fall. It was also used on some post-1995 films such as 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain and Baby Geniuses. It can also be found on Planet 51.
- The version with the Sony Pictures byline made its debut on Jumanji and would be used on all 1995-2014 films such as Matilda, Jerry Maguire, As Good as it Gets, Godzilla and many others.
- Seen on a few 1997 videocassette reissues by Columbia TriStar Home Video, including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Matilda, and Annie in place of the aforementioned company's logo.
Editor's Note: The logo is beautiful and has held up over the years, including the music and mind-blowing CGI.
3rd Logo (September 30, 2015- )
Nicknames: 10s Pegasus, Ultra Majestic Pegasus III, The TriStar Pegasus III, CGI Pegasus II, Christian Pegasus
Logo: We see the clouds of the previous logo, only that time, less improved. Then, a light shines up and the clouds brighten, turning into full daylight. Then, we see a Stallion run towards us and later spreading his wings by becoming a Pegasus. He stands up on his hind legs and shows off his wings. Once he has done that, the "TRISTAR" text from the previous logo (only more golden) fades in, then the byline "a Sony Company" fades in after that.
- The logo was designed by JAMM Visual of Santa Monica, California. Sony commissioned the updated logo to take advantage of new technologies such as 4K and IMAX 3D, which is why there's an open matte version of that logo available, unlike with the previous logo.
- The logo doesn't have an HFR version, unlike with the 2011 WB/New Line and 2012 MGM logos. As a result, the 4K UHD version of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk has noticeable judder during that and the other opening logos.
FX/SFX: The light shining, and the Pegasus running toward us as the night time turns into the daylight, and the text fading in, as well as the combination of the elements of the 1993 logo and the Pegasus in the 1984 logo. It's all very nice CGI.
Music/Sounds: The 1998 rearranged Tristar Pictures fanfare from the previous logo.
Availability: Common. First shown on the IMAX trailer for The Walk (most trailers use the previous logo). The fully animated version debuted on the film itself. Currently seen on recent/new films produced and/or distributed by the company since The Lady in the Van.
Editor's Note: A suitable successor to the previous logo, although some are disappointed as they think it had potential to be more.