Friday, June 25, 2010

Fight Over "Destroy All Planets" Rights Brewing

Fight Over "Destroy All Planets" Rights Brewing

by Armand Vaquer

A new controversy is brewing over whether or not a Gamera DVD being issued by Retromedia is legitimate or not. Cries of "bootleg" are being posted at the Monster Zero message board. Is it?

The movie in question is Retromedia's DVD of Destroy All Planets 2010 which features a commentary by one of the movie's stars, Carl Craig.

At issue is whether Retromedia has the rights to issue the U.S. version of this movie. Shout! Factory is slated to release the same movie (the subtitled Japanese version) in a few months and this is seen by some as a bit of one-upsmanship by Retromedia.

The movie was originally released in 1965 by Daiei, which was bought out by Kadokawa Pictures.

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Fred Olen Ray, who is the owner of Retromedia, said this in a response to Ryan Clark's review post at

Since this program only became available yesterday it's physically impossible for "Ryan" to have seen it or even have received a copy of the DVD. Your "review" is a lie and obviously fueled by a personal agenda. Retromedia was the first company to ever present the AIP-TV Gamera films to the public on DVD and quickly became the source of material for all the cheap DVD labels that flooded the market afterwards. Retromedia also successfully initiated and won a copyright case based on their release of DESTROY ALL PLANETS, so your claim of illegality is BS as well. This DVD doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't. It's simply the best edition of the AIP-TV version of the film ever released on DVD and it has an actors commentary track with star Carl Craig. That's all it advertises as being and that's what it is. Next time try watching the film first before rendering your "opinion", and if you happen to work for a rival DVD company, I'd have to say I'm disappointed... these kind of smear tactics are nothing less than juvenile.

[Note: Ryan Clark never claimed to have viewed the DVD nor received a copy of it.]

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If all U.S. rights to this film reverted back to Kadokawa (by virtue of buying Daiei), then Retromedia would be in hot water. However, if Fred Olen Ray is correct in claiming that he has the U.S. rights over the U.S. version (and can provide the paperwork to back that up), then he should be able to continue to offer the movie. At this point, no back-up material has been provided by Ray (he's welcome to send it me me and I'll be happy to post it).

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[*"Dubious Comforts" is the handle of a member of the Classic Horror Film Board forum. - A.]

He continues in a subsequent post:

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To see the CHFB thread for the above quotes, go here.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. The courts may have to be the ultimate decider in this matter.

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Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.