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The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

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The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Old 12-30-21, 12:40 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by Ringmaster
I'm betting that 36 Chambers will get a separate release like Come Drink With Me. I'm basing that on the fact that 36 Chambers got its own promotional postcards in Arrow releases.

I'm hoping for a 36 Chambers box set! Make it happen Arrow!

I'm waiting for my Shawscope box set in the mail.

The rumor is that Young Auntie will be in vol. 2. Love that movie!.

I'm a tad disappointed Arrow didn't shell out cash to include the Tarantino commentary track on King Boxer from the Dragon Dynasty DVD.

Tarantino commentary tracks are always a plus.

Either way, still stoked.

My Young Auntie will be included and hoping that there are more titles announced too.
Old 12-30-21, 12:44 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

After watching a few films from the ShawScope set, I have to agree with the dislike of the menu graphics. I’m not a fan of the artist interpretations of the films.
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Old 12-30-21, 01:08 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by Brian T
Glad to read that the Arrow set fixes a lot of Celestial's issues, although I still can't part with the vast majority of the IVL HK DVDs (or even the Shaw-stuffed Ziieagle player, which had even worse cuts to the films thanks to Singapore's antiquated censorship system). It's becoming apparent that the only Hong Kong cinema of interest to these labels is the martial arts stuff, which makes perfect sense as those are the films that have had the longest following overseas, which in turn has produced plenty of seasoned experts who can pad out these special editions with context. I suspect these Arrow editions (and Eureka, 88, etc.) will be the definitive versions for good now. But when I consider just how many martial arts films Hong Kong produced from the 1970's onward, there's just no way we'll ever be able to get them all restored on Blu-ray, even when original elements exist (which is proving surprisingly common these days, after years of being told pretty much the opposite). I'd love for these companies to consider budget-priced multi-film combo packs where they could bundle up lesser-but-no-less-interesting kung-fu films that don't feature the usual suspects (Sammo, Yuen, Lau, Venoms, etc). Those could be nice gateway drugs to these pricier sets, and give some hidden gems a chance to shine. But alas . . .
I still have a bunch of IVL discs as well. Mostly Chor Yuen wuxia. Would love a boxset of those on blu. I wish I had more of the obscure titles, but those releases were my gateway to Shaw Bros., and at the time I was focused on the "essentials" and didn't have the resources to dig deeper.

As for boutique labels and their choices, sure it would be nice if they would dig a bit deeper, but I think things are moving in the right direction. You have to remember that as mainstream and "boring" as a lot of these titles might be to those of us who have been watching this stuff for decades, they haven't really been exploited in the west to the extent that so many other films have been in the 25 years since dvd hit the scene. Hong Kong Legends had its moment in the UK, and while there was initial hope with Dragon Dynasty in the US, that turned into yet another cluster rather quickly. Outside of those two, it was dribs and drabs of mostly compromised releases. The Asian licensors were notoriously difficult when dealing with western labels (the proliferation of bootlegs also didn't help), but now that physical media is on the way out, they seem much more amenable to working with the current generation of boutiques. So of course those labels are going to focus on the big titles. It wouldn't make any sense to start with something obscure when Once Upon A Time in China hadn't seen a US/UK release in 20 years.

But now that we're a few years into this new martial arts home video golden age, you can see these labels starting to widen their reach. We've seen multiple cat III titles and a Stephen Chow comedy from 88. A high quality Joseph Kuo boxset would have felt like a complete impossibility until Eureka put that out. Still maybe not as obscure as you'd like, but as long as these keep selling, I think we'll get there. It helps that all of these titles are being shown respect and marketed on their own terms for what feels like the first time ever. There's no more Weinsteins or Jackie Chan in a black t-shirt. We don't have to slap Tarantino's name on the box or somehow tie everything back to Crouching Tiger. They are what they are and I think a lot of people (and by a lot I mean a few thousand physical media nerds) are discovering this stuff for the first time. If every piece of trash with even a whiff of horror can be put out on a high quality blu-ray (some even on UHD!), I don't see why the same can't be true for martial arts films.

On a related note, even though I ordered it as well, I'm kinda sick of all the unboxing videos of this thing (and so many others) on YouTube, the vast majority by middle-aged white guys who don't seem like Hong Kong movie fans so much as fancy-box bauble collectors! Shows how the design work on these things pays off for the distributors as much anything on the discs. And, just like all of Arrow's other sets, this too will be released in a much more streamlined and affordable box (or two) later on, a la Gamera, Herschell Gordon Lewis, etc.
I don't personally get that excited about fancy packaging (although the Shawscope box IS awesome), but I'll be the first to admit that I still get sucked in sometimes. I'm not 100% sure which was my first (either the Budd Boetticher or one of the Harryhausens), but the first time I had one of Indicator's sets in my hands, I was hooked. If I knew nothing about Shaw Brothers, I might say the same about this set. Any well curated, contextualized and manufactured boxset is going to go further in enticing me to jump into an unknown genre (or director or whatever) than something that feels like an afterthought. And hey, if it leads to more releases down the line, I'm ok with these guys fetishizing the boxes as long as I don't have to watch the videos!

Originally Posted by Ringmaster
I'm betting that 36 Chambers will get a separate release like Come Drink With Me. I'm basing that on the fact that 36 Chambers got its own promotional postcards in Arrow releases.

I'm hoping for a 36 Chambers box set! Make it happen Arrow!

I'm waiting for my Shawscope box set in the mail.

The rumor is that Young Auntie will be in vol. 2. Love that movie!.

I'm a tad disappointed Arrow didn't shell out cash to include the Tarantino commentary track on King Boxer from the Dragon Dynasty DVD.

Tarantino commentary tracks are always a plus.

Either way, still stoked.
The reason I think 36th Chamber will be in vol.2 was because one of the guys in charge at Arrow (can never remember his name) did an interview and responded to criticism that 36th Chamber wasn't in vol.1. He made a comment pointing out the fact that the volumes are chronological, thus implying that 36th Chamber would be included in the next box. I'm choosing to ignore the fact that a handful of titles in vol.1 were actually released after 36th Chamber. I think there's also been reports that Arrow had plans to release 2 Shaw Bros. boxes of 12 films each, plus 2 US only standalone titles. The standalones were thought to be Come Drink With Me (since confirmed) and 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, both of which were released by 88 Films in the UK.

And My Young Auntie being included in vol.2 isn't a rumor. It's mentioned in the vol.1 book as being included in vol.2.
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Old 12-30-21, 01:48 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

At first Amazon went all weird with me in saying that my Shawscope set shipped earlier in the week, but then it was delayed and I would get it maybe sometime late next week, but now I received a notice that I should have it in my hands tomorrow, so that is great. I just might get the 2nd volume as while I am not a classic HK cinema nerd, I watched enough of these films during a Saturday afternoon showing back in the days that I appreciate that these films are finally coming out on Blu/UHD from reputable labels.

When I tell folks that my exposure to Boxer From Shantung, and films like Master of the flying Guillotine came from a Saturday afternoon airing on network TV in way before streaming days and even in the days when folks who had cable were a rarity for the most part, they usually get a kick out of it. Some folks even say oh yes, I remember those days.
Old 12-30-21, 02:01 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

My Shawscope set came in yesterday double boxed. It was packed in an Amazon box and also packed into another cardboard box inside (probably by Arrow)

I noticed the set has 2 CD soundtracks. Unlikely I'll ever listen to them, but an interesting addition.
Old 12-30-21, 02:27 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

My Amazon shipment was kind of triple-boxed. The...errr, inner-outer box still had a shipping label from MVD (Arrow's distributor) on it. I wouldn't have expected that I'd have four CDs' worth of De Wolfe library soundtracks added to my music library in 2021. (2 from Dawn of the Dead and 2 from Shawscope.)
Old 12-30-21, 03:00 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Ooh, the news that we get CDs with some movie scores is wonderful news and I look forward to giving them a spin. Had no clue the set included CDs as a bonus.
Old 12-30-21, 03:30 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by rocket1312
But now that we're a few years into this new martial arts home video golden age, you can see these labels starting to widen their reach. We've seen multiple cat III titles and a Stephen Chow comedy from 88. A high quality Joseph Kuo boxset would have felt like a complete impossibility until Eureka put that out. Still maybe not as obscure as you'd like, but as long as these keep selling, I think we'll get there. It helps that all of these titles are being shown respect and marketed on their own terms for what feels like the first time ever. There's no more Weinsteins or Jackie Chan in a black t-shirt. We don't have to slap Tarantino's name on the box or somehow tie everything back to Crouching Tiger. They are what they are and I think a lot of people (and by a lot I mean a few thousand physical media nerds) are discovering this stuff for the first time. If every piece of trash with even a whiff of horror can be put out on a high quality blu-ray (some even on UHD!), I don't see why the same can't be true for martial arts films.
Originally Posted by rocket1312
I don't personally get that excited about fancy packaging (although the Shawscope box IS awesome), but I'll be the first to admit that I still get sucked in sometimes. I'm not 100% sure which was my first (either the Budd Boetticher or one of the Harryhausens), but the first time I had one of Indicator's sets in my hands, I was hooked. If I knew nothing about Shaw Brothers, I might say the same about this set. Any well curated, contextualized and manufactured boxset is going to go further in enticing me to jump into an unknown genre (or director or whatever) than something that feels like an afterthought. And hey, if it leads to more releases down the line, I'm ok with these guys fetishizing the boxes as long as I don't have to watch the videos!
I should probably be careful with my words. I'm not hoping these labels start releasing "obscure" stuff per se. As a long time fan, I've got some seriously obscure stuff that will never, ever see the light of day beyond whatever antiquated formats they were released on in Hong Kong (quite often LDs, VHS or VCDs, and nothing after that), a lot of it deservedly so. And I'm fine with that. I'm referring to slightly "lesser known in the west" titles that have been forever sidelined while we waited endlessly for Made In Hong Kong, Dragon Dynasty, even Shout and now Arrow et al to cycle yet again through the cream of the crop. As I mentioned above, I think Arrow, Eureka and 88 are – bar none – producing the most truly definitive and comprehensive editions of these films, something those earlier companies often lied to us about doing, no doubt in part because (as you note) the HK licensors were playing their own greedy games. And yes, they will build on that – I just need to be patient . . . all over again.

I will say this: France's Spectrum Films gets it, even though I won't touch their releases because they're not English friendly (and I'm not wasting my time setting up some weird system to apply subs myself). But one look at their catalog shows exactly the kinds of films I was referring to earlier. I don't call these obscure – some of them are downright essential to understanding Hong Kong cinema and Hong Kong culture, and have been written about extensively – but they're not martial arts films, nor do they seem to represent the 'dabbling' that the euro labels have done with, say, that Stephen Chow title. I mean, what other western distributor would ever think to go after gems like PEOPLE'S HERO, THE WAY WE ARE, SPACKED OUT, THE CHINESE FEAST, MY HEART IS THAT ETERNAL ROSE and MAN ON THE BRINK without having a steady flow of fanbase money coming in from yet another line of martial arts re-re-re-releases?

Mind you, Spectrum does offset the "important" contemporary-set HK films with some higher profile titles like BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR and their three Johnnie To noirs (EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED, A HERO NEVER DIES and THE LONGEST NITE) etc., and also with other "lesser-known" but key exploitation titles like DEVIL HUNTERS, BIO-ZOMBIE, DRAGON FIGHTER, and both ANGEL TERMINATOR films all of which, if you surveyed various generations of the HK fan base, are as well-known as some of the mid-tier Shaw titles, for example, that people – even some lifelong fans – are only just discovering in the Arrow/88 editions. It's titles like that second batch in Spectrum's catalog that I was referring to in my previous post – and hundreds more like them – that would be ideal fodder for a more budget-friendly line of Hong Kong titles from the English labels, perhaps even some double- and triple-feature combos. They don't need a ton of commentaries, interviews, slipcovers with gaudy new artist "interpretations", hard boxes, lobby repros, posters, etc., when maybe one commentary and an interview might suffice. Or even just a trailer and some liner notes. Who knows, maybe now that the money is evidently rolling in – from longtime fans, from newbies, and from fancy-box accumulators – we'll eventually see these boutiques broaden the genres from which they licence their Hong Kong stock without having to squeeze us for the maximum possible amount of money on every single title!
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Old 01-01-22, 07:36 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

I love the fact that we are getting Blu-rays for the Shaw Brothers films but those were already being released in Europe. What I want to see is either Arrow or Criterion releasing Love Eterne or other non Martial Arts Shaw Brothers films. There’s a great opportunity with their respective channels to introduce Western audiences to these classics before committing to physical copies.
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Old 01-01-22, 09:49 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by Brian T
I should probably be careful with my words. I'm not hoping these labels start releasing "obscure" stuff per se. As a long time fan, I've got some seriously obscure stuff that will never, ever see the light of day beyond whatever antiquated formats they were released on in Hong Kong (quite often LDs, VHS or VCDs, and nothing after that), a lot of it deservedly so. And I'm fine with that. I'm referring to slightly "lesser known in the west" titles that have been forever sidelined while we waited endlessly for Made In Hong Kong, Dragon Dynasty, even Shout and now Arrow et al to cycle yet again through the cream of the crop. As I mentioned above, I think Arrow, Eureka and 88 are – bar none – producing the most truly definitive and comprehensive editions of these films, something those earlier companies often lied to us about doing, no doubt in part because (as you note) the HK licensors were playing their own greedy games. And yes, they will build on that – I just need to be patient . . . all over again.

I will say this: France's Spectrum Films gets it, even though I won't touch their releases because they're not English friendly (and I'm not wasting my time setting up some weird system to apply subs myself). But one look at their catalog shows exactly the kinds of films I was referring to earlier. I don't call these obscure – some of them are downright essential to understanding Hong Kong cinema and Hong Kong culture, and have been written about extensively – but they're not martial arts films, nor do they seem to represent the 'dabbling' that the euro labels have done with, say, that Stephen Chow title. I mean, what other western distributor would ever think to go after gems like PEOPLE'S HERO, THE WAY WE ARE, SPACKED OUT, THE CHINESE FEAST, MY HEART IS THAT ETERNAL ROSE and MAN ON THE BRINK without having a steady flow of fanbase money coming in from yet another line of martial arts re-re-re-releases?

Mind you, Spectrum does offset the "important" contemporary-set HK films with some higher profile titles like BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR and their three Johnnie To noirs (EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED, A HERO NEVER DIES and THE LONGEST NITE) etc., and also with other "lesser-known" but key exploitation titles like DEVIL HUNTERS, BIO-ZOMBIE, DRAGON FIGHTER, and both ANGEL TERMINATOR films all of which, if you surveyed various generations of the HK fan base, are as well-known as some of the mid-tier Shaw titles, for example, that people – even some lifelong fans – are only just discovering in the Arrow/88 editions. It's titles like that second batch in Spectrum's catalog that I was referring to in my previous post – and hundreds more like them – that would be ideal fodder for a more budget-friendly line of Hong Kong titles from the English labels, perhaps even some double- and triple-feature combos. They don't need a ton of commentaries, interviews, slipcovers with gaudy new artist "interpretations", hard boxes, lobby repros, posters, etc., when maybe one commentary and an interview might suffice. Or even just a trailer and some liner notes. Who knows, maybe now that the money is evidently rolling in – from longtime fans, from newbies, and from fancy-box accumulators – we'll eventually see these boutiques broaden the genres from which they licence their Hong Kong stock without having to squeeze us for the maximum possible amount of money on every single title!
I totally get what you're saying, and I'd like to see some of those here myself, but I'd argue that most of the titles you mention are "obscure" from the perspective of your average North American/British HK film fan. Whether that's a chicken or the egg situation is another discussion. But like I mentioned before, these labels are starting to widen their reach. They have to. You mention 88 "dabbling" in comedy, but that's where it starts, isn't it?

And you probably know this, but most of those Spectrum releases have English friendly HK equivalents. I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them get released in the US/UK eventually.
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Old 01-03-22, 07:10 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

There is a really good 49 minute documentary on the King Boxer disc in the Shaw Scope set on the history of Kung Fu movies. It was previously released on region 3 DVD many years ago. 2003 to be exact. It's totally worth the time to see it if you haven't already.

I watched it again last night after having not seen it over 10+ years and very informative with lots of good interviews.

I started watching King Boxer last night and I decided to go with the English dub. I actually kind of like the dub. It has the feel of watching the old school Kung Fu Theatre movies on TV back in the day.
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Old 01-06-22, 10:58 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

I really do not like the J-card coming off the Shawscope box.
Old 01-08-22, 04:13 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by dex14
I really do not like the J-card coming off the Shawscope box.
Agreed, that wasn't a great choice by Arrow. Beautifully designed otherwise. I hope they keep mostly consistent packaging for future volumes.
Old 01-08-22, 04:31 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by dex14
I really do not like the J-card coming off the Shawscope box.
You mean the purple card on the outside? yeah those things are annoying, but also you don't want to throw them away either since it has the contents description.
Old 01-10-22, 08:26 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by DJariya
You mean the purple card on the outside? yeah those things are annoying, but also you don't want to throw them away either since it has the contents description.
The contents are listed inside as well but I guess it's a pain if you can't remember which titles are in each set.
Old 01-10-22, 11:28 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

any chance these releases will come with digital copies in the future? Or is anyone doing BD w/digital? The discs are good for the theatre room but sometimes I want to watch Dirty Ho on my iPad in bed.
Old 01-10-22, 11:31 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by squidget
any chance these releases will come with digital copies in the future? Or is anyone doing BD w/digital?
Boutique labels don’t really do BD + digital. Some of them do have a digital presence, but they aren’t connected with physical releases.
Old 01-10-22, 05:43 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by squidget
any chance these releases will come with digital copies in the future? Or is anyone doing BD w/digital? The discs are good for the theatre room but sometimes I want to watch Dirty Ho on my iPad in bed.
Once UltraViolet died and Hollywood moved towards Movies Anywhere, the smaller labels saw the writing on the wall and have largely abandoned digital copies.
Old 01-11-22, 07:15 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

I'm guessing it's a licensing thing, aren't physical and digital distribution separate?
Old 01-11-22, 09:17 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger
Once UltraViolet died and Hollywood moved towards Movies Anywhere, the smaller labels saw the writing on the wall and have largely abandoned digital copies.
Which boutiques routinely offered digital copies? I have at least one Shout Factory disc that does, and Mill Creek had (well, I guess technically "has") Moviespree, but I can't think of a single Criterion, Arrow, Scream Factory, Synapse, Blue Underground, Vinegar Syndrome, Mondo Macabro, etc. release at any point since Blu-ray launched that had a digital copy.

Originally Posted by joltman
I'm guessing it's a licensing thing, aren't physical and digital distribution separate?
Licensors often like to retain digital distribution rights for themselves, yeah, although some of the boutiques -- Arrow in particular -- do a lot of great work in the digital space, and it's definitely not unheard of for some of the boutiques to acquire digital rights too (and sometimes they'll own these movies outright and can do whatever they want).
Old 01-11-22, 09:25 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

A few of the most recent Vestron releases have had a digital copy. However, my Steel Dawn didn't have the paper inside despite saying it came with one. I never bothered to recoup it.
Old 01-11-22, 09:42 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by dsa_shea
A few of the most recent Vestron releases have had a digital copy. However, my Steel Dawn didn't have the paper inside despite saying it came with one. I never bothered to recoup it.
Vestron is just a sub brand of Lionsgate, isn't it? Not a true boutique label.

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Old 01-11-22, 12:59 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Correct. The digital copy of Steel Dawn is Lionsgate.
Old 01-11-22, 02:19 PM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

Originally Posted by Adam Tyner
Which boutiques routinely offered digital copies? I have at least one Shout Factory disc that does, and Mill Creek had (well, I guess technically "has") Moviespree, but I can't think of a single Criterion, Arrow, Scream Factory, Synapse, Blue Underground, Vinegar Syndrome, Mondo Macabro, etc. release at any point since Blu-ray launched that had a digital copy.

Licensors often like to retain digital distribution rights for themselves, yeah, although some of the boutiques -- Arrow in particular -- do a lot of great work in the digital space, and it's definitely not unheard of for some of the boutiques to acquire digital rights too (and sometimes they'll own these movies outright and can do whatever they want).
Funimation was one notable example. They were offering UV digital copies and transitioned everything to their own digital platform when MA froze them out. What's funny is that Sony ultimately bought Funimation out, though they haven't attempted yet integrating MA capability.
Old 01-12-22, 09:38 AM
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Re: The Official Arrow Films 4K/Blu-ray Discussion and Release Thread

I know this probably isn't the spot but just out of curiosity's sake, since it is being discussed, for those of you that had movies in UV...did they transfer to MA?

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