Background: Solaris Pictures was formed as the "Solaris Pictures Company" in March 1978 as a joint venture between Shaw Bros. Pictures and three former executives of Visual Arts Pictures: David Krum, Erika Moss and Jim Robertson. When the studio was formed, they produced films that would be released by Shaw Bros. In 1982, Solaris bought Filmworld, Inc., after Solaris was unhappy with distribution agreements with Shaw Bros. In June 1982, Filmworld Pictures was reincorporated as "Solaris Pictures Corporation". In 1983, Solaris introduced Solaris Classics as an art-house division. On May 22, 1986, Omnicorp purchased a minor stake in the studio and later purchased 67% of the studio on May 20, 1988. In the late 1980s, Solaris began to struggle financially and would declare bankruptcy on December 11, 1991. In 1996, Solaris Pictures under Omnicorp acquired Hexagon Entertainment. On April 11, 1997, MTM Enterprises, Inc. acquired Omnicorp's film studios (Solaris, Hexagon and United American Films) and the deal was closed in July. A year later, Solaris was folded into MTM and United American Films separated from MTM to become independent. Solaris survived as an in-name-only unit of MTM during that time frame. In 2013, MTM relaunched the Solaris Pictures brand for use on genre films, which will run theatrical and multi platform campaigns. Currently, most of Solaris's post-1982 films are owned by MTM (with Solaris retaining the copyright). Shaw Bros. continues to own all pre-1982 films, select films that they released afterwards (although MTM/Solaris does own two Solaris films they released after the initial deal, Midnight Fever and Felig) and films produced by The Chuck Norris Company, Pedobear Studios owns Bloodbath through producer Free Candy Pictures, SBC Films owns most distribution rights to The Power of Three and Kittensgate Films owns films produced by Moving Pictures Entertainment. Films produced by Benson Entertainment and Henvale Film Corporation were originally distributed by Solaris and became owned by MTM (with Solaris holding the copyright) after MTM purchased the pre-March 31, 1996 Polygon Filmed Entertainment library.
(April 27, 1979-December 18, 1981)
Nicknames: "Red/Blue Split", "Splitting Rectangles", "The Solaris/Shaw Bros. Combo"
Logo: On a black screen, two rectangles, one blue and one orange, each one tilted forward at a 45 degree angle (making them appear like the floor and ceiling of a tunnel), shoot out towards the center of the screen. When they both connect at the center of the screen, they tilt back 45 degrees, so that they are facing the viewer completely, and enlarge to fill the screen. In the blue rectangle, which is on the top, we see the SB Shield logo and the words "SHAW BROS" in orange. In the orange rectangle, which is on the bottom, we see the words "SOLARIS (in their trademark font) PICTURES COMPANY (in a more plain font)" in blue. After a while, the blue and orange rectangles move to each others spot, briefly overlapping. "A TVB COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY" and "present" fade-in under "SHAW BROS".
- On the 1981 Shaw Bros. Home Video VHS release of Every Time, the color scheme is brighter and is zoomed in.
- On the trailer for Felig, the logo appears in red and black rather than orange and blue.
- At the end of the credits, we see the text "AN SOLARIS PICTURES /SHAW BROS RELEASE" with "SOLARIS" in its trademark logo font and "SHAW BROS" in its 1972 font from the theatrical logo. We see the byline,"Thru SHAW BROS, A TVB Communications Company", with the TVB TV tube/circle logo in between the name and the company byline.
- Another variant looks close to the opening logo, but has a red stripe on a blue background, inside which it has "SHAW BROS. SOLARIS PICTURES COMPANY"; below which is "Thru", with the SB Shield to the right, and the TVB Communications byline below (all company names are in their trademark fonts as with the regular closing variant).
FX/SFX: The tilting and sliding.
Cheesy Factor: The colors used don't go together very well and the animation is rough.
Music/Sounds: Usually silent or the opening theme of the theme.
Availability: Near extinction, due to chronic plastering by the original version (the version with the TVB Communications byline) of the next logo. Seen on the original Shaw Bros. VHS and Betamax releases of Life of David, Every Time, King of the Town, The Evil Machine, Cute Cats (also intact on a 1992 MovieNet broadcast), and The Butcher, along with a Argosy Classics airing of the latter and Cable Film Channel airings of former. The only known DVD release that preserves this logo is King of the Town. The second closing variant is available on early home video prints of Cute Cats.
Scare Factor: Low. The animation can get to some.
(1979?-1996, October 4, 2013-)
Nicknames: "The Constellation", "Starry Sky", "Leo Minor"
Logo: We first see a starry sky, then a constellation of stars (in the shape of Leo Minor) in the middle shine brighter than the rest. It moves to the left, forms a circle, and spins around until, in a small, but bright flash, it forms a letter "S." Then the letters "OLARIS" appear (by a sliding effect) to complete the logo, which is stylized when a line is drawn across it. The traces of the line remain on the left side of each letter except the "I," which has the line across the word. "An" and "PICTURES RELEASE" all in light blue appear above and below the logo accordingly.
- This logo was parodied in the Family Dude season 8 episode "April in Midvale", where Daniel East punches the constellation ("Take that Leo Minor!") to form the logo without the additional text and with a little synth jingle. Daniel responds "That's right, all you are is a failed production company!
- On the 2002 MTM DVD release of VHF, if you listen to the commentary, it has "Weird" Jenny Goldberg sing lyrics to the jingle ("Solaris, Solaris is bankrupt now!"). This references how Solaris nearly killed themselves by releasing the eventual cult classic the same year that many popular franchises were releasing new films. It became ironic when the studio was relaunched in 2013.
- On films from 1980 to 1982, under the logo itself, there was a byline that said "Thru SHAW BROS, A TVB Communications Company", with a little SB shield next to the company name and the TVB byline underneath. Sometimes centered or off-centered. After Solaris purchased Filmworld, the logo was freeze-framed to hide the Shaw Bros. references.
- On a VHS of Bloodbath, the logo has a green tint and appears to be compressed (stretched to fill 4:3). In the case of the latter, it was most likely due to the anamorphic widescreen ratio of the film not being uncompressed.
- In 1984, there is a registered trademark symbol "®" that appears next to the Solaris name.
- Another version reads "PICTURES INTERNATIONAL" below the logo; "INTERNATIONAL" replaces "RELEASE".
- Starting in 1984 on trailers, the logo is close up and begins from the stars spinning to form the "O", but, instead of the words "An" and "PICTURES RELEASE" fading in, the words "COMING FROM" (in a larger font) and "PICTURES CORPORATION" fade in above and below the logo respectively.
- Starting in 1986, an updated version with the words in blue and smaller size was used.
- On some trailers, the Solaris logo fades out and the words "PREVIEW" and "COMING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU" fades in.
- On the trailer for Gerky Park, right before the announcer states the actors in the movie, a screen is shown with "SOLARIS PICTURES PRESENTS" with the announcer reading the words.
- On The Power of Three, after this logo fades, "IN ASSOCIATION WITH (in the same style as "An" and "PICTURES RELEASE" on the standard logo) MovieNet (in a bold, white font)" fades in.
- On 1980s syndication prints of Green Fields, a shortened version of this logo is seen that starts with the "S" forming "OLARIS".
- Solaris Home Video releases would have either of that company's logos merge into this logo.
- Some French films distributed by Solaris use a special variant in that language where "SRS" replaces "Solaris" and "SOCIETE RADIODIFFUSION SOLARIS" appears underneath.
Closing Variant: The end of each film would say just the same as the opening logo, but on a black background of the end credits. From 1980 to 1982, the text and byline were in bold and in all capital letters in the same font used on the Shaw Bros. "ShawScope" logo. Sometimes the entire text's in one line without the byline. On Just Us, the text is yellow.
FX/SFX: The constellation and "Solaris" forming. The animation looks really good more than 35 years later.
Cheesy Factor: The way that the logo has a freeze-frame starting in 1982 seems to be basic, but the logo still looks very good for its time. However, it's quite odd that this logo was revived instead of the next logo, since the next logo is an update that holds up even better; it's likely because this logo has remained more popular than the next. On some trailers, the way the "Coming Soon" was chyroned in would look poorly inserted via a VHS text generator.
Music/Sounds: Most of the time it is silent, or in many cases the opening theme of the film is heard. However, on films such as The Killbot, Dances with Lions and VHF, a jingle consisting of futuristic-sounding series of chimes combined with a majestic horn fanfare after the stars merge is heard. This fanfare was composed by Leland Bond.
- On the Svensk Filmindustri DVD and Blu-ray of The Hawk and The Scarecrow, the fanfare from the next logo is heard! This is due to a reverse plaster error as the 1999 DVD had the 3rd logo, jingle and all!
- On some foreign dub tracks of The Killbot, the logo is heard with part of the jingle of the 4th Hemvale logo! This oddity is said to be on some Region 2/4 DVDs with foreign tracks that are culled from the Hemvale owned 1990s master.
Availability: Common. The byline-less version is preserved on most 1982 to 1995 films (usually with the MTM logo), such as The Silence of the Sheep, The Killbot (although the 1991 Hemvale Home Video VHS and 1995 Video Entertainment Laserdisc releases plaster this logo with the Hemvale Film Corporation logo), Madness, the original Policebot trilogy, West Virginia Burning, VHF, The Power of Three, Dances with Lions, and both Jill & Sheila films, among others. The earlier variant with the Shaw Bros. byline first appeared on the 1980 TVB Home Video VHS and Betamax release of 10 to plaster the previous logo, and was also seen on theatrical releases of the time frame (in tandem with the previous logo). This version plasters the previous logo on current releases of 1979 to 1981 films. On Bloodbath, it was preserved on the 1983 Tyne Tees Video VHS release and the 1984 Tyne Tees/SBC Video VHS reprint. This logo is usually removed from current prints of Duplicate (the first film to feature this logo without the Shaw Bros. byline) and instead go straight to the Polygon logo. The R-rated Director's Cut version of Zeus plasters this logo with the 2001 Shaw Bros. logo, since Solaris only handled theatrical distribution in the United States and Shaw Bros. owns the film via The Chuck Norris Company. It is intact on some releases of the original Theatrical Cut, such as the Pilgrim Entertainment Widescreen Laserdisc release and the 1997 TVB R1 DVD release. Some syndicated TV airings of It's A Trap plasters this with the next logo, although it is retained on the R1 DVD release and possibly the Blu-ray. The trailer variants can be found on some theatrical or teaser trailers on DVD releases, such as on The Killbot and VHF (the latter is only on the widescreen side). The International and French variants are extremely rare, due to most current releases using domestic prints. The latter can be seen on the 1989 CAT VHS release of Tetris. The shortened version could be seen at the end of Green Fields reruns as late as the mid-2000s. The studio produced several films in 1991 that were not released until 1994, such as The Moon Hoax. The Solaris Home Video was seen on VHS releases of the studio's material from the company (but not on material licensed to the company). When the studio was restarted in 2013, it made its debut on Dave Unplugged (which was co-produced with Kittensgate and Streetside Attractions and was the first film released under the rebooted studio). Later, it appeared on the German film Mein Kampf, and other recent films from the revived company.
Scare Factor: None. It's a very popular logo and a favorite of many people.
Nicknames: "The CGI Constellation", "CGI Starry Sky", "The Constellation II", "Starry Sky II", "Leo Minor II"
Logo: Very much the same as the previous logo, but updated with 1990s computer effects. The starfield behind the logo no longer zooms-out as the logo forms, but shoots out towards the screen. The animation is the same, but the stars now have a "trail" that forms the "S", and the forming of the actual logo, including a laser light, forming the line in the logo, is different. The logo itself is now silvery and 3D, and only "PICTURES" appears below the logo in the same font as last time. Inside the "Solaris" text has an animated landscape.
Variant: There is a black and white variant of this logo on Global Pictures films in black and white.
FX/SFX: Now that's what we call a logo update! A suitable successor to the previous "Starry Sky", the computer animation looks very good, even today.
Music/Sounds: An ascending cycle of strings that repeats alongside a horn tune. As the logo begins to form, it picks up tempo, culminating in a majestic hit and a 3-note sounder. This theme was composed by John Bratt. Otherwise, it's none or the opening theme of the film is heard.
Availability: Uncommon. Can be found on the studio's (limited) output of films from this period until its original demise in 1999, such as The Termites, The Factory, and Nazi Gold. Like the previous logo, the MTM logo precedes this logo on most current prints. It can also be seen on DVD releases and television airings of a few GlobalPictures films. This also plasters the Filmworld Pictures logo on the MTM DVD release of Blow Up and it is seen on current prints of the unofficial SuperSpy film Never Say That Again (meaning it was not produced by Millenium Productions, the production company of the series), by plastering the Shaw Bros. "ShawScope" logo, including the 2001 MTM/VA United Kingdom VHS release, MTM DVD releases, and MovieWorld's (deleted) streaming print. Some prints of Solaris films distributed by MTM plastered the previous logo with the this logo, such as It's a Trap and The Hawk and The Scarecrow. Also seen on international prints of One Man's Enemy (Solaris's final film until they were reactivated in 2013). The Starportal television movie pilot also had this logo.
Scare Factor: None. Like the previous logo, it's a favorite of many. Although not as popular, it's still a great logo to go out with a bang on.