Mill Creek Entertainment and the U.K.’s Indigo Entertainment have licensed the “Ultraman” superhero library from Tsuburaya Productions for North American home entertainment distribution.
Under the deal, Indigo, on behalf of Tsuburaya, with Mill Creek has both physical and digital distribution rights for the “Ultraman” catalog, which includes classic TV series newly remastered in high definition, recent theatrical feature films and “almost everything produced” throughout the last 50 years, according to Mill Creek.
Mill Creek Entertainment’s debut releases from this deal will be limited edition SteelBook and standard-packaged complete series releases of “Ultra Q” and “Ultraman” on Blu-ray Oct. 15. Each release will contain high definition video with DTS-HD Master Audio of the original Japanese soundtrack with English subtitles.
Digital redemption will also be available via Mill Creek Entertainment’s streaming service, movieSpree, with a free 10-minute sample of the first episodes of “Ultra Q” and “Ultraman” available to watch now on the service.
The original series “Ultra Q” was one of the most expensive TV series ever produced in Japan. Originally airing in 1966, it spawned a revolution in “Ultra” content that has seen the creation of many series, movies and merchandising.
The classic “Ultraman” live television series of the 1960s and 1970s, from Tsuburaya Productions, built a worldwide audience for the property. Hailing from the distant Nebula M78, Ultraman is a sleek silvery being who protects Earth and the human race from an endless array of invading aliens and terrifying monsters together with the crew of the Earth-based defense force using advanced high-tech weapons and vehicles. With the ability to extend his height to more than 150 feet, Ultraman melds with a human and only emerges in times of extreme danger to save people and the Earth.
“These first two series are what kicked off the worldwide phenomenon of Ultraman,” said Jeff Hayne, VP of content acquisitions for Mill Creek, in a statement. “Ultraman’s success paved the way for other popular tokusatsu franchises including ‘Kamen Rider’ and ‘Super Sentai,’ which influenced the spawning of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.’”
“We are excited to bring the Ultraman catalog to North American audiences through a multi-faceted release model spanning Blu-ray and DVD plus various TVOD, SVOD and AVOD digital outlets,” said Barrett Evans, VP of marketing for Mill Creek, in a statement. “In tandem with the classic series, we will also be releasing the more recent series and films to appease fans of both classic and modern Ultraman.”
“Ultraman is a revolution in television history — a landmark property and record-breaking global phenomenon. The original series heralded a new age of quality adventure and special effects for children’s entertainment. Now, through Indigo’s unique relationship with Tsuburaya, we are delighted to be partnering with Mill Creek Entertainment in repositioning the legendary Ultraman for both new and old audiences alike,” said David Lawley, MD of Indigo Entertainment, in a statement.
“We are very excited about this partnership and the opportunity to reintroduce the Ultraman series, with over 50 years of history, to the people of North America. We hope that we shall rekindle memories of the fans that enjoyed the series in the 70s and 80s and at the same time nurture a new fan base for the younger generation,” said Kei Minamitani, GM, international business at Tsuburaya Productions, in a statement.