In addition to giving us the recent gift of an American Gods series, it seems the premium network Starz has sounded the distant roar of a colossal Criterion collection.
The channel has recently made available more than fourteen classic movies from Japan’s Toho Studios for viewing on the Starz app. What’s particularly notable, and potentially exciting, about the offering is the artwork’s Criterion Collection branding, complete with C logo and year-of-release spine.
Could this be an indication of an impending Toho physical box set in the near future from Criterion? It’s speculation at this point, but fans are already starting anticipation, rumors, and buzz.
The thumbnail artwork for each title on the Starz app is in line with the style of Criterion’s previous digital releases prior to physical art being final. There’s absolutely no indication elsewhere that these are “Fake Criterions,” a popular meme with creative takes on hopeful releases from the label.
Fans of the goliath movie monster were treated to a definitive version of Gojira by Criterion with a physical release on DVD and Blu-ray in 2012. The 1954 classic marked the first appearance of the atomic age giant, with a reworking landing in America in 1956. The Criterion release celebrated both, with plenty of extras that the company has been known for curating.
Criterion’s long-standing relationship with Toho, which includes a large portion of Kurosawa’s work, will only fuel the rumors of a Japanese Monster Movie box. The label is known for continuing to nurture their license agreements to evolve filmographies from a number of directors and studios.
Added to this is the commitment from Criterion to off-beat entries, often Japanese, like their release of House (Hausu) or the Shochiku Eclipse box set, which included The X From Outer Space, Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell, The Living Skeleton, and Genocide.
At the time of this writing, there are fourteen Toho titles being made available on the Starz app with Criterion artwork: Godzilla, Godzilla: King of the Monsters!, Godzilla Raids Again, Rodan, Mothera vs Godzilla,Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of the Astro-Monster, The War of the Gargantuas, Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, All Monsters Attack and Godzilla vs Megalon. This news comes at a perfect time as the original Godzilla was first released on this date in 1954.
Criterion is known for being a little more buttoned up with the news of potential monthly releases. Other than their annual New Year’s cartoon, teasing releases, it’s anyone’s guess what their slate will be more than 3 months in advance.
Prior to their co-partnered digital service FilmStruck, The Criterion Collection had a number of “digital only” offerings over on Hulu for streaming or iTunes for sale. Some of these titles were in advance of their physical media release date, and others were exclusive availabilities of past out-of-print DVDs. It is possible that these Toho offerings are also going to be digital only, but it’s unlikely they wouldn’t exploit the full awesome potential of their physical release treatment.
What are your thoughts on a possible Toho set from Criterion? We would love to know in the comments below, or hit us back on social @ForcesOfGeek.