Shout! Factory Gains Streaming Rights to Mill Creek’s ‘Ultraman’ Library

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.

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“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.”

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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.

Sale on TVOD Platform movieSpree Part of Ultraman Day Celebration

Mill Creek Entertainment’s transactional streaming platform movieSpree will celebrate Ultraman Day July 10 with a sale on “Ultraman” titles as part of a multi-faceted celebration of the classic Japanese superhero.

Customers can add complete “Ultraman” series to their digital streaming library for $7.10 each at  movieSpree.com/Ultraman.

Series on sale include “Ultra Q”; “Ultraman”; “Ultraseven”; “Return of Ultraman”; “Ultraman Ace”; “Ultraman X”; “Ultraman Orb – The Origin Saga”; “Ultraman Orb”; and “Ultraman Geed.”

The TVOD service also offers an array of “Ultraman” movies, several of which include English dub tracks in addition to the original Japanese language audio that also features English subtitles. Exclusive “Ultraman” bundles are also available for customers to rent or own.

With apps now available on RokuApple TV / iOSAmazon Fire TV, and Android devices, movieSpree (movieSpree.com) is available without long-term contracts, subscription fees or advertisements. Setting up an account is free and as an added bonus, users can redeem a curated assortment of 100 films to add to their accounts free of charge.

The Birth of Ultraman Collection, containing some of the best episodes of the original “Ultraman” series, is also coming to Blu-ray July 10 from Mill Creek Entertainment at $25.99.

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The sale and Blu-ray release are just a part of this year’s celebration of the classic Japanese superhero July 10. The day will include a series of virtual activations and talks with the leaders behind the “Ultraman” revival live on Shu.Watch. Ultraman Day will also feature the launch of the official online Ultraman Galaxy Store, which will display exclusive collectible Ultraman merchandise featuring the poster artwork of Marvel’s Alex Ross cover created for the comic book The Rise of Ultraman #1, on sale this September.

Ultraman Day kicks off on Shu.Watch at 10 a.m. PST and will feature a slew of celebrities, special guests, live artwork, giveaways, unboxing videos and more as the world celebrates 54 years of “Ultraman.”

Ultraman, created by Eiji Tsuburaya, the father of the Japanese monster movie genre, was born on July 10, 1966, when Tsuburaya Productions broadcast a memorable stage event called “Ultraman Eve: The Birth of Ultraman,” which was filmed before a live audience in Tokyo. The following week, the TV series “Ultraman” aired on Japanese TV. With Ultraman’s recent return to North America, Ultraman is being honored with an all-day celebration sponsored by Tsuburaya Productions, Elevated Games and Mill Creek Entertainment. Also supporting the event is Ultraman Galaxy, the official North America Ultraman platform spearheaded by Tsuburaya, with support by The Licensing Group and Starlight Runner Entertainment. The Licensing Group Ltd represents Ultraman for licensing, while Starlight Runner is supervising the new creative in America across all media.

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Ultraman Day will feature the following events:

  • A four-hour live show, comprising a number of special events streaming on Shu.Watch, produced by Ultraman licensee Jaron Hinds, CEO of Elevated Games, creators of the new Ultraman: Kaiju Kombat video game.
  • Bin Furuya, well known as the first actor to portray Ultraman, will demonstrate the correct way to do the Spacium Beam, recognized around the world as Ultraman’s signature move.
  • There will also be conversations with Marvel Comics editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski, editor Tom Brevoort, and writers Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom, the team behind Marvel’s upcoming “The Rise of Ultraman” comic series launching in September; a chance to hear legendary toy manufacturer Marty Abrams of Mego Figures; contests, drawings, special merchandise, unboxing videos, and a sneak peak of the Beta Capsule.
  • Special guests will appear throughout the day, such as director of “Ultraman Z” Kiyotaka Taguchi and Koichi Sakamoto, director of “Ultra Galaxy Fight,” plus Ultraman actors Hiroko Sakurai, Susumu Kurobe and Bin Furuya.
  • The launch of the official North America Ultraman Galaxy Store, an opportunity for fans around North America to purchase exclusive Ultraman merchandise online. The store will offer July 10 products with special Ultraman designs and artwork available for a limited time.
  • A look at Mill Creek Entertainment’s The Birth of Ultraman on Blu-ray, which features the best episodes of the original “Ultraman” series, in Japanese with English dubbing, and the special and rare pre-premiere that took place July 10, 1966.

‘Ultraman X’ and ‘Ultraman Ace’ Coming on Blu-ray This Spring From Mill Creek

Mill Creek Entertainment is releasing to new titles on Blu-ray from the “Ultraman” superhero library for their North American debut.

“Ultraman X” will arrive on Blu-ray as both a complete series plus movie combo pack at $39.98 and a movie-only, stand-alone Blu-ray at $19.98 on April 21.

“Ultraman Ace” will come out in a steelbook at $49.98 while the complete series will also be available in standard Blu-ray packaging at $39.98 on May 12.

The first Ultraman series with an ongoing antagonist, “Ultraman Ace” premiered in 1972 and features all of the earlier Ultra Heroes — Ultraman, Ultraseven, Ultraman Jack and Zoffy — as recurring characters. The releases include all 52 half-hour episodes with DTS-HD Master Audio of the original Japanese soundtrack with English subtitles. In this fifth entry in the Ultra Series, theinterdimensional alien Yapool launches a war against the Ultra Heroes for galactic domination. As the conflict spreads to Earth a new hero, Ultraman Ace, is tasked with protecting the planet from Yapool and his Terrible-Monsters, experimental beasts more powerful than ordinary monsters. Divided between his two human hosts’ personalities, Ace must learn to balance them and his superior energy powers as he battles alongside Earth’s Terrible-Monster Attacking Crew (TAC) and his fellow Ultramen to overcome these terrible new foes.

“Ultraman X” was originally released in 2015. When a massive “Ultra Flare” from the sun envelops the earth, Spark Dolls buried underground and undersea are turned into monsters. In order to deal with the sudden outbreak of marauding creatures, mankind forms Xio, a special defense team equipped with the latest in super-science. Then, 15 years later, Xio is engaged in battle against a monster when team member Daichi Ozora hears a mysterious voice say, “Unite! If you and I join together, you will fight that monster with one heart, one mind!” He agrees, merging with a giant of light to become Ultraman X. Also included with the complete, 25-episode series is the 2016 theatrical feature film Ultraman X: The Movie — Here He Comes! Our Ultraman. In the film, X is joined by his longtime ally Cyber Gomora and a team of Ultra Heroes (Ultraman, Ultraman Zero, Ultraman Max, Ultraman Victory, Ultraman Ginga, Ultraman Nexus and Ultraman Tiga) to stop the evil beast Zaigorg and a “powered up” army of classic monsters.

Digital redemption on Mill Creek Entertainment’s streaming service movieSpree is also included with each release.

‘Return of Ultraman’ and ‘Ultraman Orb: The Origin Saga’ Flying to Blu-ray in February From Mill Creek

The Japanese series “Return of Ultraman” and “Ultraman Orb: The Origin Saga” are coming to Blu-ray in February from Mill Creek Entertainment.

“Return of Ultraman,” the fourth entry in the “Ultra Series” that premiered in April 1971, comes out in both steelbook ($49.98) and standard ($39.98) packaging Feb. 25. After years of relative peace, mankind is once again under attack by giant monsters and alien invaders. A new Ultra Hero, Ultraman Jack, arrives from Nebula M78 to combat this threat alongside the Earth defense unit known as MAT (Monster Attack Team). The series features guest appearances from the original Ultraman and Ultraseven, presenting the very first team-up of the Ultra Heroes. It also brings back some classic foes from previous shows while also introducing dozens of new aliens and monsters. The releases include all 51 half-hour episodes 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.

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The complete 12-episode “Ultraman Orb: The Origin Saga” debuts Feb. 11 at $19.98 with the bonus special Ultra Fight Orb, which picks up from the events of the theatrical feature film Ultraman Orb: The Movie — Let Me Borrow the Power of Bonds. Both properties have never been broadcast on TV or available on any home entertainment format in North America. “Ultraman Orb: The Origin Saga” is a prequel to the 50th anniversary series “Ultraman Orb” (now available on Blu-ray and digital). Debuting in Japan on Amazon Prime Video in December 2016, the show reveals how Gai Kurenai became the hero Ultraman Orb, and why his friend Jugglus Juggler turned into his arch enemy. Ultraman Orb joins Ultraman Zero and Ultraseven in Ultra Fight Orb to stop a mysterious villain who has revived an army of ghost monsters. Digital redemption on movieSpree is also included.

‘Ultraman’ and ‘Ultra Q’ Japanese TV Series Available on TVOD Site movieSpree

The “Ultra Q” and “Ultraman” Japanese TV series are available to purchase or rent in high-definition on movieSpree, Mill Creek Entertainment’s transactional streaming site.

The purchase price is $29.99 each for the two series.

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 spawned series after series, as well as movies and merchandising created.

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The “Ultraman” television series of the 1960s and 1970s, produced by 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. Ultraman battles monsters that cause endless mayhem and destruction on Earth. With the ability to extend his height to over 150 feet, Ultraman melds with a human and only emerges in times of extreme danger to save people and the Earth.

More ‘Ultraman’ Series Coming From Mill Creek

Mill Creek Entertainment is releasing more series from the “Ultraman” superhero library recently licensed from Tsuburaya Productions for North American home entertainment distribution.

Due Nov. 17 are “Ultraman Orb” and “Ultraman Geed,” making their North American debut as Blu-ray combo packs that include the complete series and subsequent feature films that concluded each respective storyline ($39.98 each).

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On Dec. 10, the 1967 series “Ultraseven” will also be making its Blu-ray debut in limited edition steelbook packaging at $49.98 and as a standard Blu-ray release at $39.98.

“Ultraseven” is the third entry in the “Ultra” series. The show premiered in October of 1967 and appealed to a wider, adult audience with a greater emphasis placed on alien threats and social issues that were not as clear-cut as good and evil. The series questioned the actions of the Ultra Heroes as they fought against giant monsters and alien hordes bent on human domination.  The steelbook and standard Blu-ray releases will each contain 48 half-hour episodes 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.

“Ultraman Orb” was originally released in 2016 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Ultraman and the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s relaunch with “Ultraman Tiga.” The series stars Hideo Ishiguro as Gai Kurenai, who calls upon the power of previous Ultra Heroes via a device called the Orb Ring to fight Demon King Beasts released by the mysterious Jugglus Juggler after they were sealed away by Ultra Warriors long ago.  Also included with the complete, 25-episode series is the theatrical feature film Ultraman Orb: The Movie — Let Me Borrow the Power of Bonds!, in which the titular hero joins forces with Ultraman Zero and Ultraseven to rescue the “New Generation Heroes” Ultraman Ginga, Ultraman Victory and Ultraman X and prevent an unprecedented global crisis.

“Ultraman Geed” is the story of a young Ultra Warrior who carries the DNA of an infamous father, the evil Ultraman Belial, but fights his fate to become a hero of justice. The 25-episode series also includes the feature Ultraman Geed: The Movie — Connect the Wishes!, in which Earth is about to be swallowed up in the cyber subdimension and annihilated, but the power of “wishes” will cause Geed to undergo a further transformation and fight against an alien force threatening intelligent life across the universe.

‘Ultraman’ Library Licensed to Mill Creek and U.K.’s Indigo for North American Home Entertainment Distribution

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.

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“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.’”

“Ultra Q”

“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.