Colossal Pictures

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 to the Cannes Gold Lion and Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Top Honor.

Colossal Pictures
FoundedNovember 5, 1976
DefunctAugust 31, 1999
SuccessorUSFX, M5 Industries, WildBrain Entertainment
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California
Key people
Drew Takahashi
Gary Gutierrez
Japhet Asher
Computer graphics
Special effects
Interactive media
SubsidiariesUSFX (1982–96)
BIG Pictures (1986–1994)
Noyes and Laybourne (1991–96)


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 Pictures, while he was working on The Right Stuff. Colossal Pictures 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 Pictures also launched a new division, BIG Pictures, which produced television programs. In September 1989, Colossal Pictures began representing Pixar to produce CGI commercials. As part of the deal, Colossal would receive a project and develop the storyboards, while Pixar animated the project.[3] Colossal Pictures 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 Pictures began representing Sculptoons and the Brothers Quay, but their relationships with Colossal did not last very long. That same year, Colossal Pictures joined forces with New York City production company Noyes and Laybourne, and it became (C)P's East Coast division. After Colossal Pictures' relationship with Pixar ended in 1992, the company hired Brad DeGraf to head a new digital media division, which produced projects such as The Moxy Show, RoboCop: The Ride, and two Living Books games. Colossal Pictures closed BIG Pictures in 1994; that October, (C)P employees John Hays, Phil Robinson, and Jeff Fino left the company and launched a new animation studio, WildBrain Entertainment.

Earlier in 1994, Colossal Pictures created exhibits for the Rock & 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 Pictures 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 & Roll Hall of Fame for $1,200,000 in damages plus $10,000,000 in punitive damages. That year, Colossal Pictures signed a development deal with the Disney Channel to produce content for the network. (C)P produced the interstitial series Frankenguy & The Professor and The Mix-ups plus the Zoog Disney block for the Disney Channel. After (C)P 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 Pictures’ model shop, took over the facility and turned it into M5 Industries.[4]

Although Colossal Pictures 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 Pictures 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 WildBrain as a result.



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 & 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 & storyboards The Ladd Company
Flicks animation, opening titles, film dating Edward R. Pressman
The Cotton Club 1984 title sequence & photography American Zoetrope
Seven Minutes in Heaven 1985 title sequence Warner Bros.
The Twilight Zone main titles & 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: The Animated Series 1991–1992 as BIG Pictures Universal Cartoon Studios
Fresh Arithmetic 1991 interstitial series Fox Kids
The Wish That Changed Christmas McDonald's
Bram Stoker's Dracula 1992 special effects American Zoetrope
GTV Planetary Manager videodisc National Geographic Society
Adventures in Wonderland Opening title sequence The Walt Disney Company
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/Brøderbund
Tank Girl 1995 animation United Artists
Psychic Detective video game[6] Electronic Arts
Æon Flux MTV
Top Gun: Fire At Will 1996 video game Spectrum HoloByte
Jack title sequence American Zoetrope
Koala Lumpur: Journey to the Edge 1997 video game Broderbund
Frankenguy & 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

Music videosEdit

Commercials and brandingEdit


  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. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 February 2000. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Psychic Detective". Next Generation. Imagine Media (11): 108–9. November 1995.

External linksEdit