The Great GODZILLA VS MEGALON Mix-Up Mystery
Special Edition DVDs Accidentally Released to Public
Author: Keith Aiken
Special Thanks to Timothy LaCroix
The last few weeks saw a very interesting development with Media Blasters’ DVD of the thirteenth Godzilla film, GODZILLA VS MEGALON (ゴジラ対メガロ, Gojira tai Megaro, 1973).
Media Blasters licensed both GODZILLA VS MEGALON and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS from Toho in 2011, with DAM released on DVD and Blu-ray that October 25th and MEGALON scheduled for that November 29th. But the DESTROY ALL MONSTERS discs included extra features that had not been approved by Toho, leading Toho to demand that GODZILLA VS MEGALON be put on hold until they could go over all of the bonus material Media Blasters intended to use.
At that time, Media Blasters had already created the digital files for GODZILLA VS MEGALON and sent them to the duplicating facility that would manufacture the discs. These files included all of the content intended for the release… the film, audio tracks, menu screens, copyright notices, company logos, the FBI warning screen, etc, plus the extra features: trailers, TV spots, stills, publicity art, a feature length audio commentary by film historians Steve Ryfle (Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star, BRINGING GODZILLA DOWN TO SIZE, ICONS OF SCI-FI: TOHO COLLECTION) and Stuart Galbraith IV (The Toho Studios Story, INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER DVD, TORA-SAN COLLECTOR’S SET) featuring Mel Maron (the original US distributor of MEGALON), and a featurette interview with English dub voice actor Ted Thomas.
With the approval process for the extras moving slowly, in March 2012 Toho gave Media Blasters permission to produce a barebones version of GODZILLA VS MEGALON as a stopgap measure. Media Blasters created a new digital file without any of the bonus features, and GODZILLA VS MEGALON was released on DVD on August 14th (the company has held off on doing a Blu-ray edition until Toho has cleared the extra content). Some fans and collectors were pleased to finally have have a legit release of the film on DVD, while others expressed disappointment that disc was completely lacking the extras announced months before.
But in September, a Godzilla fan named Timothy LaCroix ordered the DVD from Amazon.com and was surprised when he received a Special Edition of the disc, loaded with extras.
In the days and weeks that followed, additional fans reported that they had also purchased the GODZILLA VS MEGALON DVD from Amazon and other retailers like FYE and received the SE rather than the standard edition. At the same time, others who purchased the DVD — often from the same retailers — got the barebones version.
This spurred a flurry of online questions, speculations and assumptions. Had Toho finally approved the extra features? Did Media Blasters decide to use the extras without Toho’s consent? Were retailers now carrying SE copies manufactured for the planned November 2011 release? Was this some kind of trick to get customers to double dip on this DVD? Would the standard edition now be replaced by the Special Edition? Why was the same packaging used for both versions, with no mention of the extra features?
Media Blasters was as surprised as Godzilla fans that copies of the Special Edition had somehow popped up in the marketplace. They initially suspected that a few check discs — advance DVDs made to check for any mistakes before the discs are mass produced — may have accidentally been sent to retailers. But only a handful of check discs would be created for any DVD title, far less than have already been reported by fans, so that possibility was quickly eliminated.
Further investigation provided the answer. Last month, the duplicating facility Media Blasters uses to manufacture their DVDs and Blu-ray pressed additional copies of GODZILLA VS MEGALON to fill reorders from retailers. The company mistakenly used the original digital file with the extra content rather than the newer barebones file. Once Media Blasters determined the cause they instructed the duplicator to switch back immediately to the standard file.
This situation only affects a limited quantity of the new repressed GODZILLA VS MEGALON DVDs. Exactly how many Special Edition DVDs were manufactured is not known as the discs were mixed with the remaining stock of the standard DVD. Based on the reorder figures the pressing would have been well under 1000 copies, with the numbers most likely much closer to 500. No more copies of the Special Edition will be pressed until Toho completes their approvals for the extra features.
The discs have a different catalog number — TSDVD-1222 for the first pressing and TSDVD-1127 for the second — but there is no way of telling from the cover art which version a customer has purchased. The sleeves are identical with no mention of extras.
For now, a few Godzilla fans have lucked into a nice GODZILLA VS MEGALON collectible and seen everything Media Blasters had intended for the DVD. The decision on whether or not the Special Edition is ever widely released rests with Toho… they have the final say in the matter. Hopefully all Godzilla fans in North America will have the same opportunity to own the film and the extra features on DVD and Blu-ray.
For more information on Media Blasters’ GODZILLA VS MEGALON and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS discs, please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan:
- GODZILLA VS MEGALON Region 1 DVD/Blu-ray Rumors False
- Media Blasters Discusses DVD and Blu-ray Plans for DESTROY ALL MONSTERS and GODZILLA VS MEGALON
- Monster News Bites for June 21st
- DESTROY ALL MONSTERS Blu-ray and DVD Extras Announced!
- DESTROY ALL MONSTERS Blu-ray, DVD and CD Update
- Media Blasters DESTROY ALL MONSTERS Blu-ray, DVD and CD News
- Discussing GODZILLA VS MEGALON
- Media Blasters Announces New Release Date for GODZILLA VS MEGALON