The Sony Group Corporation (ソニーグループ株式会社, stylized as SONY, is a large Sonī Gurūpu Kabushiki Gaisha)Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Tokyo. Sony has a longstanding working relationship with Toho and for this reason has experience with the Godzilla franchise. Its Hollywood film production division, Sony Pictures Entertainment, is the parent company of both Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures. The company also owns the anime distribution and streaming service Crunchyroll, having previously owned its predecessor Funimation since 2017.
Overview[edit | edit source]
Product placement for Sony has been featured in many of Toho's kaiju films since the Showa era. In 1992, Toho sold the film rights to the Godzilla series to Sony's American motion picture branch, Sony Pictures Entertainment, in order to allow them to produce an American Godzilla film. Sony designated the project to their newly-acquired subsidiary, TriStar Pictures, which began production on a film in 1994. When the film was finally pitched to Sony's executives, they would not approve of the film's budget, causing director Jan De Bont to back out of the project and sending the film into development hell. Sony approached director Roland Emmerich in order to revive the project, who accepted on the condition that he could handle the film however he wanted and discard the original script. Sony agreed, and Emmerich began production of GODZILLA at TriStar, which was released in the summer of 1998. The film was met with almost worldwide disappointment, especially from fans, and performed well below Sony's expectations at the box office, despite making a profit. Sony Pictures had intended for a sequel to the film to be made, but the poor reception and merchandising sales from the film convinced them that a sequel would not be profitable, and the film was scrapped in favor of an animated series. After TriStar acquired Toho's Godzilla 2000: Millennium for American distribution, with a successful limited theatrical run, an American-made sequel to the film was pitched to Sony, who declined on the basis that they did not produce films with such small budgets. Sony considered producing a new American Godzilla film with no connection to the 1998 film, but decided against it and allowed their rights to revert to Toho in 2003.
Since that time, Sony and TriStar have distributed many of the Japanese Godzilla films in the United States on DVD. In 2014, Sony released the Toho Godzilla Collection on Blu-ray, including all of the Japanese Godzilla films from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah through Godzilla Final Wars along with the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, all in their original Japanese language along with the international English dubs. In the fall of 2015, Sony released the collection in a two-volume DVD set, minus the Japanese language tracks and Rebirth of Mothra 3. The video game Godzilla was negotiated to be exclusive to Sony's PlayStation systems. In addition, Sony localized The Criterion Collection's Godzilla, The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 Blu-ray box set in the United Kingdom in 2019.
Columbia Pictures distributed the films The H-Man, Battle in Outer Space, and Mothra theatrically in the United States, and perpetually retains the home video distribution rights to those films there, though it has sub-licensed them to Mill Creek Entertainment.
Selected productions[edit | edit source]
- Monster Hunter (2020) - Distributor (Screen Gems in the United States; Sony Pictures Releasing International in all other countries besides China, Japan, and Germany)
- The Kaiju Score (TBA) - Distributor
- Project Nemesis (TV TBA)
Selected home video releases[edit | edit source]
- Reptilian (1999) - DVD (2001)
- GODZILLA (1998) - DVD (2006), Blu-ray (2009, 2013) and 4K Ultra HD (2019)
- The H-Man (1958), Battle in Outer Space (1959), and Mothra (1961) - DVD set titled Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection (2009)
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Rebirth of Mothra (1996) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Rebirth of Mothra 2 (1997) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Rebirth of Mothra 3 (1998) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla 2000 (1999) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla Final Wars (2004) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Battle in Outer Space (1959) - Blu-ray (2018)
- All Godzilla films from Godzilla (1954) to Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) - The Criterion Collection's Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 Blu-ray box set; localized in the United Kingdom (2019)
- Monster Hunter (2020) - DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD (2021)
See also[edit | edit source]
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