20th Century Fox (Movies)

Written and Compiled by Matt Williams

1st Logo

Nickname: "The Searchlights"

Logo: On a dark blue sky background, 3 rows of words, "20th","CENTURY", and "FOX", apparently carved out of stone or metal and in a gold color, are seen. The words are "stacked" on top of each other, with similarly carved lines separating the rows. The "20th" is the biggest row, with "CENTURY" and "FOX" a bit smaller. A circular stage-like structure juts out from the base of the "stack," with a light on top of the structure that shines in front of the "stack." There are pedestals on both sides of the stack, each with a non-moving searchlight. In the background, several searchlights scan the sky.

Versions: The Fox logo has had many renditions over the years. Here are some of them:

  • 1930s: Early searchlights logo under the name "20th Century Pictures, Inc."
  • 1935-1953: First official logo originally presented in black and white - which later switches to color. Many searchlights are visible in this logo.
  • 1953-1965: The CinemaScope logo. The searchlights are slimmed down and the structure is placed in the center of the screen with dark blue sky surrounding it. The logo fades to "TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX PRESENTS A CINEMASCOPE PICTURE/PRODUCTION." Two versions exist: One with a regular "0" and one with a slanted "0". The one with the regular "0" also had this text: "A CINEMASCOPE PICTURE IN CINEMASCOPE 55"
  • 1965-1982: Like the CinemaScope logo only without the fade-out and extra sky. Like the CinemaScope version, two versions exist: one was a normal zero and one with a slanted zero.
  • 1982-1993: The logo is redone and redrawn. The searchlights in back are now colored, and the logo seems skewed to the left (at least on television)

SFX: The searchlights in the background.

Music: A familiar horn fanfare that has become one of the most famous pieces of music in the world.

Music Variations: This logo also had many music variations. Here they are:

  • 1930s-1953: The original fanfare, as composed by Alfred Newman.
  • 1953-1980: The original fanfare is extended for CinemaScope: after CinemaScope is dropped, the extended fanfare is used in tandem with the shorter one.
  • 1980-1984(?): New version, as composed by John Williams for "The Empire Strikes Back".
  • 1984-1993: A more "stripped down" fanfare used throughout the 1980s. Again, short and longer versions are used in tandem.

Availability: Very common, still saved on about every 20th Century Fox release; recently presented in letterboxed format on a daily basis.

Scare Factor: None.

2nd Logo

Nickname: "CGI Searchlights"

Logo: We start on a black background. Then two searchlights swoop across the screen, revealing a top arial view of the 20th Century Fox structure, redone in CGI. The camera pans down and then across the logo, revealing the Los Angeles and Hollywood skyline in the distance, before settling into its more customary position and angle. "A NEWS CORPORATION COMPANY" fades in at the bottom of the screen.

SFX: The panning of the camera across the Fox structure.

Music: The 1980s long version was used initially, then in 1995 a new version was used, with a much lusher orchestra conducted by Bruce Broughton. This version was based on the 1980 John Williams re-recording. The longer version is now always used.

Availability: Very common in theaters and post-1993 Fox releases.

Scare Factor: None.

Fox Searchlight Pictures
(Mid 90s-)

Logo: We start out looking at a city skyline (most likely that of Los Angeles). The camera begins to move right, past a searchlight. The searchlight turns on, followed by many more in the background turning on. We then reach the middle of the Fox "stack" structure, but instead of seeing a narrow "CENTURY", we see a large "SEARCHLIGHT". The camera pulls back and reveals "FOX" above and "PICTURES" below. "A News Corporation Company" fades in, then the rightmost searchlight moves towards us, filling the screen with light, then we fade out.

SFX: The movement of the camera.

Music: The 1995 version of the standard Fox fanfare.

Availability: This is Fox's "art-house" division (like Miramax is for Disney and Screen Gems is for Columbia/Sony), distributing "different" films from Fox. Consequently, this is a bit rare, but does show up mainly on the HBO channels (particularly HBO Signature), so keep an eye out there.

Scare Factor: Low, you may get some first-time jitters, while expecting the current Fox logo and ending up with this, but it's pretty clean.