Shout! Factory and Mill Creek Entertainment July 10 announced a multiyear agreement to bring Tsuburaya Productions’ “Ultraman” to streaming platforms in North America.
The alliance gives Shout! Factory’s multiplatform streaming service, Shout! Factory TV, exclusive SVOD and AVOD digital rights in the United States and Canada to an extensive library of “Ultraman” programs, including more than 1,100 television episodes and 20 movies.
Titles include “Ultra Q,” “Ultraman,” “Ultraseven,” “Return of Ultraman,” “Ultraman Ace,” “Ultraman Taro,” “Ultraman Gaia,” “Ultraman Gaia: The Battle In Hyper Space,” “Ultraman Cosmos,” “Ultraman Nexus,” “Ultraman Max,” “Ultraman Mebius,” “Ultraman Mebius & Ultraman Brothers,” Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie, “Ultraman Saga,” “Ultraman Ginga,” “Ultraman Ginga S,” “Ultraman X,” “Ultraman Orb,” “Ultraman Geed” and more.
The announcement comes via Shout! Factory founders and CEOs Bob Emmer and Garson Foos, in conjunction with Mill Creek Entertainment SVP Jeff Hayne, Shout SVP of Digital Enterprises and Shout! Factory TV Gene Pao, and Shout! VP of acquisitions Jordan Fields.
“A colossus of the tokusatsu genre, ‘Ultraman’ is one of the most beloved and enduring pop culture brands in the world and, amazingly, it’s still growing. So it’s particularly exciting to present more than 50 years of TV series and feature films to North American audiences, much of it for the first time. They’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and we aim to help that happen,” Fields said in a statement.
Shout! Factory TV plans an aggressive rollout of “Ultraman” pop culture properties on its new TokuSHOUTsu streaming channel this year, including individual programs as well as complete series. Shout! Factory TV, in collaboration with Tsuburaya Productions and Indigo Entertainment, will announce additional news and activities in forthcoming months.
“We’re incredibly excited about this new relationship with Mill Creek Entertainment and Indigo Entertainment. Tsuburaya Productions’ ‘Ultraman’ continues to stand as a seminal pop-culture phenomenon to this day. Over the years, Shout! Factory TV has presented ‘Ultraman Leo’ and multiple seasons of other popular Japanese tokusatsu series to incredible fan reception. We look forward to bringing these highly entertaining ‘Ultraman’ series and movies to our streaming program lineup for Shout’s TokuSHOUTsu channel, available on Pluto TV,” Shout! TV’s Pao said in a statement. “As we actively expand our reach in streaming and digital platforms, this deal exemplifies the type of pop culture content we plan to pursue, which taps into the interests and passions of our loyal fanbase.”
Mill Creek controls the home video rights and has already released several “Ultraman” series and movies on Blu-ray.
”We are thrilled about this collaboration with Shout! Factory,” Mill Creek’s Hayne said in a statement. “Their passion for tokusatsu content combined with the reach their digital channels have to fans will create further awareness of the ‘Ultraman’ content library and the collectible Steelbook and Blu-ray products that Mill Creek Entertainment will continue to release.”
The announcement comes on “Ultraman Day,” celebrated on July 10 to mark the broadcast of a special promotional event called “Ultraman Eve: The Birth of Ultraman” a week prior to the first episode of “Ultraman” airing in Japan on July 17, 1966.
As depicted in the “Ultraman” live-action television series of the 1960s and ’70s, Ultraman is a Giant of Light hailing from the distant Nebula M78, who protects Earth and the human race from an endless array of invading aliens and terrifying monsters together with the crew of an Earth-based defense team using advanced high-tech weapons and vehicles. With the ability to extend his height to more than 130 feet, Ultraman merges with a human and only emerges in times of extreme danger to save people and the Earth.
The franchise continues to generate more than $50 million per year in toys and merchandise in Japan.
As part of Ultraman Day, Mill Creek will release The Birth of Ultraman Collection, a Blu-ray set containing some of the best episodes of the original “Ultraman” series with both the original Japanese language and the classic English dub audio tracks, plus the premiere special, with Alex Ross cover art created for Marvel Comics.