Friday, 9 April 2021

Harmony Gold and Studio Nue confirm collaboration for the continuation of the ROBOTECH and MACROSS franchises

Japanese animation companies Studio Nue, Inc. and Big West Co. Ltd. have announced a fresh collaboration with Harmony Gold USA. The three companies previously collaborated in the mid-1980s to bring Studio Nue and Big West's Macross anime series to American audiences, where it was re-edited and combined with two other shows (Southern Cross and Mospeada) to form an original SF epic called Robotech. The business relationship between the parties has been contentious ever since, with Harmony Gold blocking the release of the various Macross sequel and prequel series in the United States.

The new agreement was made confirming that the Macross animated series can now be released internationally, whilst the Japanese companies have dropped their legal claims that were casting doubt on the release of a planned live-action Robotech movie in Japan.

Harmony Gold previously reached a new distribution deal with Tatsunoko Productions, who worked on Macross with Studio Nue, in 2019 which helped pave the way for this agreement with the remaining stakeholders.

The most likely near-term consequence will be the release or re-release of the original Super Dimensional Fortress Macross series and its canonical sequels Macross 7, Macross Frontier and Macross Delta, and the prequel series Macross Zero, on physical media and streaming platforms.

The bigger deal will be that the planned film version could move ahead. Directors James Wan (Aquaman) and Andy Muschietti (IT) had both been attached to the film before it had gotten mired in development hell, with the Japanese companies objecting to the film's proposed use of Macross characters and mecha designs. This new deal removes those obstacles.

Other ideas that have been floating around for a while, such as a Netflix-produced total remake of Robotech in the vein of their recent Voltron series, are also made possible by this deal. Despite the franchise's name value, Harmony Gold themselves don't have the funding to make a new series (an attempt in 2006, via a straight-to-DVD movie called The Shadow Chronicles, was a failure), so will need to partner with external studios.

Given the ill feeling between the various entities that have existed for almost forty years, it is remarkable that an amicable solution has been worked out, which can only benefit the fans.

No comments: