A few weeks ago I wrote about the rumor that the Criterion Collection was leaving Image Entertainment after many years, but that there wasn’t a clear partner they were moving to. Their deal with Image expired this past year, and I’d imagine they could have gone with just about anyone (I was pulling for Cinedigm).
Erik Gruenwedel over at Home Media Magazine is now reporting that Criterion is headed to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
“Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Criterion Nov. 4 said they have signed a multi-year distribution and administrative deal. Under terms of the agreement, Sony will handle distribution, replication, inventory management, shipping and accounts receivable for Criterion.”
I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out, with regards to how this will help Criterion in the long run. We’ve had some pretty significant releases come from Criterion and Sony working together in the past (The BBS box set, The Devil’s Backbone, On The Waterfront, etc.). I’d imagine this will come up during the Wexner talk in a couple of weeks.
Sony is certainly a step up in terms of quality and distribution power over Image, and with the Playstation 4 ready to drop this holiday season, Criterion has made a powerful ally in the home entertainment world.
I wonder if this will eventually help Criterion lead the way with Ultra HD / 4K discs down the line, as Sony has been championing the technology recently with their waves of “Mastered In 4K” Blu-rays.
Sony has recently partnered with Vudu (who has made me rethink my stance on Ultraviolet) to offer bonus and interactive materials, so they are clearly on board with keeping supplements a big part of the home video equation.