The Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社 is a large Sonī 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.
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 fall of 2015, Sony released the collection in a two-volume DVD set, minus the Japanese language tracks and Rebirth of Mothra III. The video game Godzilla was negotiated to be exclusive to Sony's PlayStation systems. In addition, Sony will be localizing The Criterion Collection's Godzilla, The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 Blu-ray box set in the United Kingdom.
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 home video releases
- All Godzilla films from Godzilla (1954) through 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)
- The H-Man (1958), Battle in Outer Space (1959), and Mothra - DVD set titled Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection (2009)
- Battle in Outer Space (1959) - Blu-ray (2018)
- Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966) - DVD (2004) [through TriStar]
- Son of Godzilla (1967) - DVD (2004) [through TriStar]
- Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) - DVD (2004) [through TriStar]
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) - DVD (2004) [through TriStar]
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) - DVD (2004) [through TriStar]
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) - VHS and DVD (1998) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992) - VHS and DVD (1998) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) - VHS (1999) [through TriStar], DVD (2005), Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) - VHS and DVD (1999) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995) - VHS and DVD (1999) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- Rebirth of Mothra (1996) - VHS (1999), DVD (2000) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- Rebirth of Mothra II (1997) - VHS (1999), DVD (2000) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- GODZILLA (1998) - VHS and DVD (1998), Blu-ray (2008), and 4K Blu-ray (2019) [through TriStar]
- Rebirth of Mothra III (1998) - Blu-ray (2014)
- Reptilian (1999) - DVD (2001)
- Godzilla 2000 (1999) - VHS and DVD (2000) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000) - DVD (2004) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) - DVD (2004) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) - DVD (2004) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) - DVD (2004) [through TriStar], Blu-ray (2014)
- Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) - DVD (2005), Blu-ray (2014)
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