The MGM Roaring Lion Is Now All CGI

Computer animation is the way of the future… and has been for quite some time. To the point where it’s also the way of the past. But not enough of the past, at least as far as some enterprising CGI artists are concerned. Thus, we’ve seen efforts to retroactively computer-animate historical figures. And our own ancestors. And now, famous lions. (The logical next step.) This latest foray begins with one showbiz icon with a reconignizable roar.

The MGM lion, properly known as Leo, has gone the way of the pixel. MGM has unveiled an all-digital replacement of the vanity plate that has introduced its movies for decades. In lieu of the familiar footage of a real-life lion roaring mightily, we now have a CGI counterpart. You can take a look right here.

Of course, this is not the first time MGM has revamped its production logo. Leo was actually the eighth lion that MGM employed for the gig; he took the job in 1957, following the work of Slats, Jackie, Bill, Telly, Coffee, Tanner, and George. (All of whom had adorned the screen for various tenures since MGM’s founding in 1924. The studio’s first film, He Who Gets Slapped, featured the voluminous Slats front and center.)

When MGM discontinued independent distribution in 2012, its logo received a makeover. This version began inside the eyeball of Leo the Lion, pulling out to reveal his gallant mug. Naturally, CGI was no doubt employed for such a feat; however, the 2021 version marks the first all-CGI twist on the logo.

A CGI update of the classic MGM roaring lion logo.


So why now? Well, MGM does have a few hot commodities coming down the pike in 2021. Nia DaCosta’s Candyman remake in August; Daniel Craig’s final Bond film, the perpetually-delayed but eagerly awaited No Time to Die; among others. Perhaps this latest logo update, a mix of new and old, will prove duly exhilarating when it greets theatergoers on their first trips back to the movies.

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