Svitska Donkun wrote:Sony's probably the ones giving all the ultimatums when it comes to their Godzilla releases. They demand what they want from Toho, do their own masters of it, and ship it out in a timely fashion, no questions asked, seemingly.
And you would be completely wrong about that. Sony negotiated with Toho for specific rights (home video, TV, digital, and-- for some-- theatrical) to certain Godzilla films. Since the Godzilla movies sell small numbers compared to Sony's Hollywood blockbusters Sony wasn't interested in doing special editions of them, and that meant no negotiations were needed for extras features, US versions etc. The only film Sony did extensive work on was GODZILLA 2000 since it got a theatrical release. Sony had to send requests to Toho regarding any changes they wanted to make to the movie, and they could only do what Toho approved.
Criterion, Sony, Media Blasters, Classic Media... all had to negotiate contracts with Toho, and all had to stick to what Toho approved (or run into trouble). That's just how licensing deals work.
The Universal releases of KKE and KKvsG are also of interest. Did Universal even ask permission before releasing those films on DVD? It's like they didn't need to. As far as barebones releases go, that's as barebones as it comes outside of Sony's double features. It;s like Universal had no discussion with Toho at all beforehand and just released whatever they had.
The two Toho King Kong films were co-productions with American producers (KKvs G was brought to Toho by John Beck, and KKE was done with Rankin/Bass). As part of the deals to make these films, Toho received the Asian rights while the Americans got the rights in the US and other English speaking countries. So Toho has never had any rights to the films in the US. Beck and Rankin/Bass sold their shares of the films to Universal back in the 1960s, so Universal owns the films in the US and doesn't need Toho's permission to release them.
And before anyone asks, Universal owns the US rights to the films, but that does not include remake rights or any rights to character of Godzilla. They can distribute the film however they want, but they can't use Godzilla beyond that without Toho's consent.