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USA/Canada Warning Screens

NOTE: During the DiscoVision days and going into the MCA Videodisc era, there was no real warning screen.

1977-1981

Warning: On a blue background, we see the generic warning text in white.

FX/SFX: None.

Trivia: The entire warning text was used in the end credits of Universal's films during this era, and is still used currently (albeit with "THE" placed in between "UNDER" and "LAWS").

Variants:

  • Sometimes the text was chyroned.
  • Other times, it appeared as a card.
  • It also existed as a filmed variant.
  • A black and white variant was used on B&W films.
  • On NFL Films Presents: Young, Old and Bold (Quarterbacks), the final frame of the feature cuts right to the warning.
  • On Gene Littler's Golf, the background is green.
  • A black background/filmed version exists. This appears on The Sting and The Front Page (1974), the latter of which was not released on Laserdisc until the MCA Videodisc era.

Availability: Ultra rare. It was seen only on Universal laserdisc/DiscoVision releases of the time, after the movie ends. This was also seen on non-DiscoVision releases pressed at the DiscoVision plant such as the Magnetic Video laserdisc of Alien, the Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment laserdisc of Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Special Edition, and the Paramount Home Video laserdisc of Charlotte's Web (all issued in 1981). It was also seen on some MCA Home Video/Videocassette releases such as the 1981 VHS of The Andromeda Strain, the 1982 VHS of The Eiger Sanction (both from MCA Videocassette), and the 1984 MCA Home Video release of Rear Window. This was also used on the 1979 Fotomat rental Betamax and retail VHS of Saturday Night Fever, which used the DiscoVision master. Strangely, this is missing from the DiscoVision releases of The Marcus-Nelson Murders, Slaughterhouse-Five, Jaws 2, and The Wiz. This can also be seen on the Paramount Home Video laserdisc of Grease, which was originally intended as a DiscoVision title. The black background variant makes a surprise appearance on the 1998 GoodTimes Home Entertainment DVD release of The Front Page, as its transfer utilizes the MCA Videodisc master.

1978-1981

Ushe warning screen 01

Warning: On a black background, we see a small warning in white Impact font.

FX/SFX: None.

Availability: Seen on a handful of DiscoVision releases, as most of them went directly to the logo.

Editor's Note: A very plain-looking warning. Also, "exhibition" is spelled wrong.

1980-2005, 2006

Warning: On a black background, we see the word WARNING at the top of the screen, in red and in Helvetica font. Below it we see the standard warning text, in smaller print and in white.

Variations:

  • Some MCA Home Video releases have a screen freeze of this warning.
  • On black and white movies, it's all in B&W.
  • Starting in 1983, the warning screen began use on MCA Home Video LaserDiscs. The wording was altered for laserdiscs and was created by a character generator.
  • On most French Canadian releases from MCA/Universal and Alliance, the warning is white and scrolls up.
  • Starting in 1988 (on Laserdisc) and 1991 (on VHS), the warning was redesigned with WARNING in the top center of the screen. The laserdisc/DVD version has the word "WARNING" slightly larger, in a different shade of red, and without a drop shadow, and the warning text was somewhat modified. The VHS version has the text in fire engine red, with a drop shadow, and without any modifications to the text. The VHS version premiered on Kindergarten Cop.
  • There is a Canadian variant in which the words "Title 17, United States Code, Section 501 and 506" are replaced with the Anti-Piracy message from the Canadian Bureau of Protection of Film and Videocassette with the toll-free number (1-800-363-9166) and the words "All calls confidential". This was spotted on the 1988 VHS release of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, later Cineplex Odeon Video releases, and on most Alliance Home Video/Alliance Atlantis releases from 1992-05, before Alliance started to use its own Interpol warning. Used from 1988 to 2005
    • A French version of the warning exists.
  • On PolyGram Video releases, the word "FBI WARNING" and the warning text are modified.
  • On Thorn-EMI Video releases, the word "WARNING:" is in white and the warning text is modified.
  • On Woodhaven Entertainment releases, everything is in Cambria and the word "WARNING" is larger.
  • On some pre-2005 Lionsgate DVDs, certain Trimark DVDs and 2007-11 Anchor Bay releases, everything is in the center and the font is different.
  • Until 1990, the warning would fade to the stay tuned ID from the era. This version makes a surprise appearance on the VHS of Twins.
  • A skinnier variant of the DVD version has been spotted on both discs of the Ultimate Edition DVD of American Pie.
  • On Spanish and French (non-Canadian) releases, the text is translated into those respective languages.
  • Some releases add a shadow drop to "WARNING", which makes the color of the word a little darker.

FX/SFX: None.

Music/Sounds: None, but on Descriptive Video Service VHS's, a narrator reads out the warning, though the announcer varies by tape.

  • A female narrator (Rena Baskin) says "A warning appears" then reads out most of the warning text on the DVS editions of Field of Dreams and Beethoven.
    • On Apollo 13, she only reads out part of the warning.
  • Another female DVS narrator (Pat Lentz) says "A warning appears" and reads out the warning in full on the DVS VHS of Meet the Parents.
  • Yet another female DVS narrator (Chloe Leaman this time) says "A warning" and reads out most of the warning text.
  • A male DVS narrator (Miles Neff) says "An FBI warning" before reading out most of the warning text on the DVS VHS of Seabiscuit. He also says simply "Warning" and reads out the first two lines on the DVS VHS of Ray.

Availability: On every MCA Videocassette Inc. and most MCA Home Video releases. This includes all VHS and Betamax releases from MCA Home Video, all MCA/Universal Home Video releases, Universal Studios Home Entertainment releases, DreamWorks, Trimark Home Video, and certain 2001-06 Lionsgate Home Entertainment releases, as well as all releases from Cineplex Odeon Video and all from Alliance Releasing Home Video, particularly Night Crawl. Can also be found on later KVC Home Video releases as well as Plaza Entertainment releases (including Family Universal Network releases). Later laserdisc releases from DiscoVision and early releases from MCA Videodisc did not have this warning. MCA Videodisc releases usually didn't have copyright warnings at all. The warning makes surprise appearances at the start of the 1982 Vestron Video and 1985 PolyGram Video releases of Benji, the 1988 MCA Home Video release of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, the 1990 MCA/Universal Home Video releases of Rear Window and The Great Outdoors, the 1998 MCA Home Video release of Twins, the 1999 USA Home Entertainment release of The Game, the 2000 Carolco Home Video release of Basic Instinct, and the 2006 Universal Studios Home Entertainment release of The Cat in the Hat (most likely a reprint). The DVD version was seen on Universal and DreamWorks DVD releases of the era, as well as Trimark, Goodtimes and HBO DVD releases and certain 2001-06 Lionsgate DVD releases. It could also be seen on Pokémon and Hamtaro DVDs from Viz Media (most likely because Universal distributed these releases). The Laserdisc version was surprisingly retained on The Making of Jurassic Park on the 2000 DVD of Jurassic Park. Don't expect to see this on FUNimation material such as Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z videos, Chuck E Cheese in the Galaxy 5000, and 4Kids Entertainment releases, as FUNimation used their own warning screen from the era (despite the fact that Universal was the distributor of FUNimation material on VHS and DVD).

January 18, 2005-2012

Warning: Same as the 2004-2013 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment warning.

Variant: On Universal Music releases, the text appears in English first, then French and Spanish.

FX/SFX: None.

Availability: Seen on all Universal releases from 2005-2012, such as Friday Night Lights (first appearance), Apollo 13: 10th Anniversary Edition, In Good Company, White Noise, Unleashed, American Dreamz, Hollywoodland, Breach, Baby Mama, and The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie.

2012-present

Warning: Same as the 2011-present Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment warning.

Variant: On some releases, the word "www.iprcenter.gov" is underlined and in blue.

FX/SFX: None

Availability: Current. Seen on newer Universal releases on DVD and VOD, such as The Grey, Side Effects, and Safe House, among others.

International Warning Screens

Non-USA, general

1980-2000

See CIC Video Warning Screens.

United Kingdom

1999-2004

Warning: Same as the PolyGram warning.

Variant: Sometimes on rental releases along with DVD and retail releases (only from 2001-2002) the text is in Arial font. Notably, on this variant, the word "Renting" is taken out.

FX/SFX: None.

Availability: Seen on Universal VHS and DVD releases from 1999-2004. Examples are Guest House Pardiso, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, The Mummy, Jurassic Park, Bridget Jones' Diary, The Mummy Returns and Jurassic Park III. It also appears on DreamWorks, Channel Five, Right Entertainment and Abbey Home Entertainment releases. From 2002-04, it was used in in tandem with the next warning.

2002-present

Warning: The warning in Arial Black with "COPYRIGHT NOTICE" on the top fades in, and after 20 seconds it fades out.

Variants:

  • On some releases, the text spacing is altered.
  • On some DVD releases, the font is thinner and the text is slightly different.
  • On the 2005 DVD of Four Enchanting Tales by Roald Dahl, a secondary warning screen follows the main one.

FX/SFX: None.

Availability: Seen on Universal releases from 2002 onward, among them About a Boy and Thunderbirds. It can also be seen on DreamWorks, Abbey Home Media and Right Entertainment VHS and DVDs as well. In North America, this also appears on the Blu-rays of Howard the Duck and Smokey and the Bandit (2017 release), after the feature ends.

Australia

1990-2005

Warning: On a black background is the red word "WARNING" in a Helvetica font, and the warning text in white, all scrolling up, and in capitals.

Variant:

  • On later releases, the text is bunched up closer.
  • On some releases, different text was used.

FX/SFX: The text scrolling up.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: On most Universal, PolyGram and DreamWorks VHS releases in Australia from 1999 onward, such as Out of Africa, Cast Away, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Small Soldiers, Bikerboyz, Shrek 2, Shark Tale and Meet the Parents, among others.

1999-2003

2000 Universal Warning Screen (DVD Australia)

Warning: On a black background, we see a copyright notice.

FX/SFX: None.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Seen on Universal and DreamWorks DVD releases in Australia from 1999-2003, such as Maisy's Farm and Child's Play 3.

2003-present

Warning: On a black background, we see Australian warning text.

Variants:

  • Starting in 2006, the warning is now in lowercase. 
  • Starting in 2007, the warning uses different text.

FX/SFX: None.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Seen on Universal and DreamWorks DVD releases in Australia from 2003 onward, such as Curious George and Despicable Me, among others.

France

1999-2005

Warning: On the opening frame of the 1998-2012 Universal Studios Home Entertainment logo, we see French warning text. Then the logo starts.

Variants: 

  • Some releases use different warning text.
  • On DreamWorks releases, it does not segue to Universal's logo.

FX/SFX: None.

Music/Sounds: A few seconds of silence, and then the 1997 Universal fanfare.

Music/Sounds/Variant: None on DreamWorks releases.

Availability: Seen on Universal and DreamWorks VHS releases in France, such as Small Soldiers, Loving You and Shark Tale.

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