TriStar Pictures

TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures, Inc.
Type Subsidiary of Sony Pictures
Industry Film
Founded 1982 (original date) (as Nova Pictures)
1984 (relaunch)
Founder(s) Steve McQuinn
Randy Oswalt
Lionel Scott
Headquarters Culver City, California, US
Key people Tord Hemperson (President)
Steve McQuinn (Founder and CEO)
Randy Oswalt (Founder and CFO)
Lionel Scott (Founder and COO)
Products Motion pictures
Owner(s) Sony Pictures Entertainment
Parent Columbia Pictures (1982–present)
CBS (1982–85)
HBO (1982–1987)
Columbia Pictures Entertainment (1987–91)
Sony Pictures Entertainment (1991–present)

TriStar Pictures, Inc. (spelled as Tri-Star until 1991) is an American film production/distribution studio and subsidiary of Columbia Pictures, itself a subdivision of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, which is owned by Sony Pictures. It was founded in 1982 as Nova Pictures.



The concept for TriStar came about in 1982 when Columbia Pictures (then a subsidiary of Coca-Cola), HBO, and CBS decided to pool resources to split the ever-growing costs of making movies, creating Nova Pictures as a joint venture.

Their first production, released in 1984, was The Natural, starring Robert Redford. During this venture, many of Tri-Star's releases were released on VHS by either RCA-Columbia Pictures Home Video (now Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), CBS/FOX Video (now CBS Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), or HBO Video.

CBS dropped out of the venture in 1985,[1] though they still distributed some of TriStar's films on home video until at least 1992. In April 1987, Tri-Star entered into the television business as Tri-Star Television. In December 1987, HBO dropped out of the Tri-Star venture as well and Columbia Pictures bought their venture shares and merged Columbia and Tri-Star into Columbia Pictures Entertainment, also creating Columbia/Tri-Star. Both companies continued to produce and distribute films under their separate names.

In 1989, all of Coke's entertainment holdings were acquired by Sony Corporation of Japan, who merged Columbia and Tri-Star, but continued to use the separate labels.

Sony Pictures Entertainment later revived TriStar Television as a television production banner in 1991 and co-launched Columbia TriStar Television in 1994 with its sister television studio Columbia Pictures Television.

TriStar was the theatrical distributor for many films produced by Carolco Pictures (the rights to only one of their films, Cliffhanger, has been retained by TriStar).

Around summer 1998, Sony Pictures Entertainment merged Columbia and TriStar to form Columbia TriStar Pictures (or Columbia TriStar Entertainment, Inc. or the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group) but just like Columbia Pictures Entertainment, both divisions continued producing and distributing films under their own names.

TriStar was relaunched in 2004 as a marketing and acquisitions unit that will have a "particular emphasis on genre films."[2]

The company's logo of a Pegasus (either stationary or flying across the screen), introduced in 1984, has become something of a cultural icon. The second logo was originally painted by Alan Reingold and debuted in 1992. The theatrical version was animated by Intralink Creative. This version, likely as Columbia Pictures has clouds. The background is nighttime blue. The clouds are orange. [3]

The short TriStar theme, which accompanied the studio's ident, was composed by Dave Grusin.


The TriStar logo has spawned many parodies, such as:

  • The 1990 TriStar film Look Who's Talking Too contains both a spoof and a reference to the logo. First, during the opening ident, "Mister Ed"-type noises are added by Bruce Willis. Later in the film, when Julie first walks, the TriStar theme plays.
  • The Family Guy episode "Petergeist" contains a parody of the logo.

See also


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