Starting in November, STARZ began streaming Showa era Godzilla titles alongside the Heisei and Millennium titles from Sony. What shook the fandom was that Son of Godzilla (1967) and Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla (1974) (two movies that have been out-of-print for the better part of the decade) were included in STARZ's November lineup. Had someone finally licensed these two movies? The answer is yes--Amongst many others.
Fans with access to STARZ quickly noted that the Criterion logo was stamped in the upper left corner of every thumbnail representing a Showa Godzilla film. We reached out to Criterion's Jon Mulvaney for more information.
It's true! Janus Films and the Criterion Collection have the rights to these Godzilla films and Starz is licensing them from us. We hope to make them available on other platforms in the future. Please stay tuned!
Mulvaney wouldn't specify if "other platforms" merely meant streaming platforms or possible physical releases. The titles currently streaming on STARZ under Janus Films/Criterion are:
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1956)
Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster (1964)
Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
War of the Gargantuas (1966)
Son of Godzilla (1967)
Destroy All Monsters (1968)
All Monsters Attack (1969)
Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla (1974)
Terror of MechaGodzilla (1975)
Godzilla and Godzilla: King of the Monsters have been available from Criterion on Blu-ray and DVD since 2012. Rodan, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster, War of the Gargantuas, All Monsters Attack and Terror of MechaGodzilla were previously owned by Dreamworks Classics, after it restructured and absorbed Classic Media titles. This past summer showed signs of the Classic Media Godzilla discs going out-of-print due to inflated prices. Janus Films and Criterion now have them.
Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla vs. Megalon were previously licensed by Media Blasters. Mulvaney wouldn't comment on whether or not Criterion will attempt to sub-license the remaining Showa series films, King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) (owned by Universal) and Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966), Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) and Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) (licensed by Kraken Releasing).
Having these Godzilla classics under Criterion's banner insures the best versions of the films possible--The prestigious distribution company, known for releasing cinema's most important films, treats every movie in its catalog with the utmost reverence and attention to preservation. Indeed some of the Godzilla films streaming on STARZ use prints never before seen in North America as well as new subtitles. The Godzilla series may never be in better hands.
August Ragone, film historian and author of Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters, made an informal announcement about the acquisition on his Facebook page. He notes,
"The timing with the Toho's on-going "Godzilla 4K Project" in remastering the entire "Big G" catalog and the impending 2020 release of Legendary's GODZILLA VS KONG makes this news all the more interesting. Does this mean Blu-ray or DVD via The Criterion Collection? Or just streaming and on-demand? It's too early to tell, but stay tuned for more news and information on this monster story as it develops!"
So only a few Godzilla movies have been mastered for 4K, none of which are presently being used on STARZ. A few of the movies are in HD for the first time, however.
Fingers are crossed very tight for a physical release in the future!
Criterion's John Mulvaney
August Ragone's Facebook
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