Shout! Factory Grabs North American Streaming Rights to 'Ultraman' Library

Ultraman Day announce - Publicity -H-2020
Alex Ross/Marvel Entertainment
More than 1,000 episodes of the iconic Japanese superhero property will be made available as part of this new deal.

Today is Ultraman Day, a newly created celebration of the iconic Japanese superhero who debuted in 1966 — and it’s being marked with the news that more than 1,000 episodes of the property will be made available to streaming platforms in North America, courtesy of Shout! Factory.

The new multi-year deal between Shout! Factory and Mill Creek Entertainment will see Shout! Take exclusive SVOD and AVOD rights in the U.S. and Canada for roughly 1,100 episodes of television and 20 movies, including Ultraman, Ultraman: Gaia, Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy and Ultraseven. The company plans an “aggressive rollout” of the properties later his year, including placement on its dedicated TokuSHOUTsu streaming channel, with further announcements promised in upcoming months.

“A colossus of the tokusatsu genre, Ultraman is one of the most beloved and enduring pop culture brands in the world and, amazingly, it's still growing,” said Jordan Fields, vice president of acquisitions at Shout! Factory, in a statement. “So it's particularly exciting to present more than 50 years of TV series and feature films to North American audiences, much of it for the first time. They've got a lot of catching up to do, and we aim to help that happen.”

Additionally, Mill Creek Entertainment — which purchased distribution rights for the Ultraman property from Indigo Entertainment, which controls the global license outside Asia — is developing a line of Steel Books, Blu-rays and DVDs for Ultraman content.

The announcement of the new streaming deal for Ultraman follows last year’s debut of a new Netflix animated series, itself followed by Marvel’s announcement of a new comic book incarnation for the character. Controlled by Japanese studio Tsuburaya Productions since his debut more than half a century ago, these two developments heralded a new push to promote the property in the U.S. market.

“Indigo Entertainment are exceptionally proud of their association with Tsuburaya Productions, and to have spearheaded the official audiovisual regeneration of Ultraman in the Americas,” said David Lawley, managing director of Indigo Entertainment, in his own statement. “Ultraman is a giant: seminal television that has inspired a multitude of global properties, and entertained generations of viewers. Through these strategic partnerships we are assured of investing those fans with quality HD versions of the classics, inspiring new generations of Tokusatsu fans and bringing the raft of exceptional new Ultraman to the public. We look forward to furthering the growth of Ultraman around the globe.”