Colossal Pictures

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Colossal Pictures
IndustryMedia
Founded1976; 47 years ago (1976)
DefunctAugust 31, 1999; 23 years ago (1999-08-31)
FateClosed
SuccessorUSFX
M5 Industries
Wild Brain Productions
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S.
New York City, New York, U.S. (1989–1996)
Key people
Drew Takahashi
Gary Gutierrez
Japhet Asher
ProductsAnimation
Stop-motion
Computer graphics
Special effects
Interactive media
Live-action
SubsidiariesUSFX
BIG Pictures
Noyes and Laybourne

Colossal Pictures (also styled as (Colossal) Pictures or (C)P) was an entertainment company[1] that developed and produced television programming, advertising, network branding, and visual effects. Colossal's work has won every major industry award, from the Clio, Emmy, and Grammy Awards to the Cannes Gold Lion and Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Top Honor.

History[edit]

In the mid-1970s, Drew Takahashi and Gary Gutierrez were working with John Korty on animated shorts for children's programs such as Vegetable Soup. When Vegetable Soup was renewed for a second season, Korty began working on a movie, and suggested to Drew and Gary that they start their own production company. The two founded Colossal Pictures in 1976 and worked on projects such as shorts for Vegetable Soup, the opening sequence of The Grateful Dead Movie and commercials for Boise Cascade, KQED, KSAN-FM, and Gap Inc.[2] The Boise Cascade commercial received national attention and attracted many businesses to Colossal.

In 1981, Colossal began producing dozens of network IDs for MTV, which led to the company receiving more high-profile clients including Nickelodeon, Levi's, and Coca-Cola. The following year, Gary Gutierrez launched USFX, a new division of Colossal, while he was working on The Right Stuff. Colossal started producing computer animation in 1983, when they collaborated with Pacific Data Images to produce a commercial for the Atari game Joust and a network ID for MTV. In 1986, Colossal began working with Western Images using a Quantel Harry unit, resulting in Colossal being able to create state-of-the-art computer graphics. Colossal also launched a new division, BIG Pictures, which produced television programs. In January 1989, New York City production company Noyes & Laybourne became Colossal's East Coast division. In September, Colossal began representing Pixar to produce CGI-animated commercials. As part of the deal, Colossal would receive a project and develop the storyboards, while Pixar animated the project.[3] Colossal terminated its relationship with Pixar in 1992 when they started production on Toy Story for Walt Disney Pictures.

During the early 1990s, well-known artists like Caroline Leaf and Henry Selick were hired to direct commercials at Colossal. In 1991, Colossal began representing Sculptoons and the Brothers Quay, but their relationships with Colossal did not last very long. That same year, after Colossal's relationship with Pixar ended in 1992, Stuart Cudlitz and Brad DeGraf launched a new digital media division, which produced projects such as The Moxy Show, RoboCop: The Ride, and a Living Books game. Colossal closed BIG Pictures in 1994; that October, Colossal employees John Hays, Phil Robinson, and Jeff Fino left the company and launched a new animation studio, Wild Brain Productions.

Earlier in 1994, Colossal created exhibits for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Due to cost overruns, production delays and other problems, the museum refused to pay all of Colossal's bills. In April 1996, Colossal laid off a third of its staff, including co-founder Gary Gutierrez, and on May 30, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Colossal sued the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for $1,200,000 in damages plus $10,000,000 in punitive damages. That year, Colossal signed a development deal with the Disney Channel to produce content for the network. Colossal produced the interstitial series Frankenguy and the Professor and The Mix-Ups plus the Zoog Disney block for the Disney Channel. After Colossal decided to restructure itself into a smaller company, consolidating all of its activities into one building in the process, they emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 1, 1997. Jamie Hyneman, manager of Colossal's model shop, took over the facility and turned it into M5 Industries.[4]

Although Colossal was able to sustain itself the following year with a lean work force, the company experienced a downturn in revenue at the beginning of 1999. On August 31, Colossal closed after 23 years in business. The decision was made in order to liquidate property and honor outstanding debts. Many of Colossal Pictures' employees, such as Ed Bell, Charlie Canfield, and George Evelyn moved to Wild Brain as a result.

Work[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Title Year Notes Client
The Grateful Dead Movie 1977 Opening sequence Grateful Dead
Vegetable Soup 1978 "Children's Questions" (season 2) New York State Education Department
What Is An American? 1979 Short film Pyramid Films
The Black Stallion Title sequence and storyboards American Zoetrope
One from the Heart 1982 Title sequence Zoetrope Studios
The State of the Language 1983 Pilot (main titles) Power Rector Productions
Playboy's Hot Rocks Bumper The Playboy Channel
The Right Stuff Special photographic effects and storyboards The Ladd Company
Flicks Animation, opening titles, and film dating Edward R. Pressman
The Cotton Club 1984 Title sequence and photography American Zoetrope
Seven Minutes in Heaven 1985 Title sequence Warner Bros.
Stroh's Circle of Sports Opening sequence Ohlmeyer Communications
The Twilight Zone Main titles and special effects CBS Productions
A Chorus Line "Surprise, Surprise" music video Columbia Pictures
Fast Times 1986 Main titles Universal Television
Children of a Lesser God Title sequence Paramount Pictures
Peggy Sue Got Married Title sequence and production American Zoetrope
Top Gun Special effects Paramount Pictures
The Rock 'n Roll Evening News Main titles Andy Friendly Productions
Soul Man "Soul Man" music video New World Pictures
Eyes on the Prize 1987 Main titles Blackside
Gardens of Stone Title sequence American Zoetrope
The Running Man Special visual effects Taft Entertainment
The Serpent and the Rainbow 1988 Special visual effects Universal Pictures
Tucker: The Man and His Dream Title sequence Zoetrope Studios
The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley [5] Hanna-Barbera
Dead Pan Alley Set design for TV pilot KQED
D-TV² Title The Walt Disney Company
New York Stories 1989 Titles for Life Without Zoë American Zoetrope
The All-New Mickey Mouse Club Main titles Walt Disney Television
Lunch Box Main titles and bumpers The Walt Disney Company
Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt Title sequence and soundstage New Yorker Films
The Betty Boop Movie Mystery 1990 As BIG Pictures King Features
Saturday Night Live Main titles Broadway Video
Big Beast Quintet TV pilot Nickelodeon
Liquid Television 1991–1994 MTV
Back to the Future 1991–1992 As BIG Pictures Universal Cartoon Studios
Fresh Arithmetic 1991 Interstitial series Fox Kids
The Wonderful World of Disney
Disney Family Films Presents
1991
1994
Opening sequences The Walt Disney Company
The Wish That Changed Christmas 1991 Children's Television Workshop
Bram Stoker's Dracula 1992 Special effects American Zoetrope
GTV Planetary Manager Videodisc National Geographic Society
The Great Depression 1993 Main titles Blackside
Demolition Man Virtual reality sex scene Silver Pictures
RoboCop: The Ride Ridefilm Iwerks
The Moxy Show 1993–1995 Cartoon Network
Natural Born Killers 1994 Animation Regency Enterprises
Mickey's Fun Songs Opening sequence Walt Disney Home Video
Living Books: Ruff's Bone Video game Random House/Broderbund
Tank Girl 1995 Animation United Artists
Psychic Detective Video game[6] Electronic Arts
Æon Flux MTV
Jack 1996 Title sequence American Zoetrope
Play-Doh Creations Video game Hasbro Interactive
Koala Lumpur: Journey to the Edge 1997 Video game Broderbund
Frankenguy and the Professor Interstitial series Disney Channel
ZOOB Toons Short film Primordial Toys
Showtime Championship Boxing 1998 Main titles Showtime Networks
The Mix-Ups Interstitial series Disney Channel
Super Chunk Show packaging Cartoon Network
Zoog Disney 1998–1999 First season only; co-produced with Mondo Media Disney Channel

Noyes and Laybourne

Formerly known as Cyclops Films (1969–1978) and Eliott Noyes Productions (1978–1983).

Title Year Notes Client
Sesame Street 1971–1972
1974
"Mad Painter" and "Sand Alphabet" shorts Children's Television Workshop
The Fable of He and She 1974 short film Learning Corporation of America
Pinwheel 1979–1982 animation Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment
Braingames 1983 pilot HBO
About Alcohol 1984 short film Channing L. Bete Company
MTV Top 20 Video Countdown 1984 opening MTV
The Great Ape Activity Tape 1986 Karl-Lorimar Home Video
Colorforms Learn 'n' Play 1986 two kits Karl-Lorimar Home Video
Scholastic Productions
Clifford's Sing Along Adventure 1986 Karl-Lorimar Home Video
Scholastic Productions
About Drinking and Driving
About Drug Abuse
About Cocaine and Crack
Young People & AIDS
1987 short films Channing L. Bete Company
Eureeka's Castle 1989–1992 Nickelodeon
Stories to Remember 1990 "Beauty and the Beast" (animation production) Lightyear Entertainment
Liquid Television 1991–1994 MTV
Adventures in Wonderland 1992 opening title sequence Walt Disney Television
Top Gun: Fire at Will 1996 video game Spectrum HoloByte

Music videos[edit]

Commercials[edit]

Noyes and Laybourne

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Colossal Pictures Proves There is Life After Chapter 11".
  2. ^ Cohen, Karl (September 1999). "Colossal Memories". ASIFA San Francisco. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  3. ^ Walls, Jeannette (September 10, 1990). "Imitation Of Life". New York Magazine.
  4. ^ "Jamie Hyneman". MythBusters: Jamie and Adam Unleased. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Wild Brain=>Company=>Bios=>Bigwigs=>Hays". www.wildbraininc.com. Archived from the original on 29 February 2000. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Psychic Detective". Next Generation. Imagine Media (11): 108–9. November 1995.

External links[edit]