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Criterion Will Release ‘Watership Down’ on iTunes

Criterion will make Martin Rosen’s unconventional 1978 animated classic Watership Down available as an iTunes download on August 5, reports Criterion Cast. The revered home video company has been resistant to releasing animation in the past, but with this upcoming release and the Blu-ray of Fantastic Mr. Fox, they’ve at last begun to toy with the idea of consistently releasing animation. Criterion could earn itself a legion of new fans if it started adding all the treasures of animated cinema to its collection, and while it might be a little too early to get excited, these recent releases give cause for hope.

(Thanks, Munir Abedrabbo)

  • bob

    love this movie!

  • Nice!

  • Eraserhead, Godzilla, and other titles were added to the Criterion digital services before they made it to Blu-Ray through them. This is good, potential news.

    • Aaron Taylor

      Think you for pointing that out, I was worried they’d try to tap into digital sales by putting “exclusives” on iTunes. They probably finished the transfer and are putting the packaging for the Blu Ray/DVD is what I’m guessing/hoping.

  • Doug

    Soooo …. does this mean they will also release a dvd/bluray of the film? I could get excited about that! Watching a film on itunes isn’t exactly my cup o’ tea.

    • brian577

      February for the U.S.

  • Beamish Kinowerks

    Martin Rosen owns PLAGUE DOGS outright, too, and I hope that his
    original cut finally gets a proper restoration and re-release.

  • Zeidz
  • The “theatrical cut” is basically the US version of the film. It was released unedited originally in the UK theatrically and on VHS.

  • I see someone has agreed with what I’ve been trying to tell people for the past 5 years

  • Universal has a Blu-ray release in the UK (Region B locked) which has a nice video transfer:


  • white vader

    Because its manifesto also covers contemporary films they think capture the time, not just old stuff, arthouse or classics. It just doesn’t release all that many modern ones.

    • Bay

      But there are plenty of Summer blockbusters that in addition to representing there time,were also good.

  • potemkin

    Just a quick warning, that UK disc is region B LOCKED! Not playable on US machines.
    However, the German edition from Warner Home Video is region free: http://www.amazon.de/Unten-Fluss-Blu-ray-Martin-Rosen/dp/B003VDC0EW/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1405581587&sr=1-1&keywords=unten+am+fluss

  • Lord knows Michael Bay’s integrity is being noticed by the masses.

  • Perhaps, you can try it if you must.

  • The digital future has it’s pros. I was always a “only physical” guy until I put a 1TB HDD in my PS3, now I’m 100% digital. The problem with physical releases is that sometimes films get low-quanitity runs, or become hard to find as time goes on. That doesn’t happen with digital, once it’s available it’s available until the studio loses the rights to it. With physical you run the risk of scratching the disc, or getting a defective copy. Not with digital. Say you lose your physical copy or threw it out to make space on your shelf, you couldn’t just waltz into Best Buy and ask for another copy and get one gratis, but with digital you can. You can delete and re-download a movie as many times as you want depending on who you bought it through, and a lot of services will even let you stream the content so you don’t have to take up any storage at all.

    With digital, the only thing you miss out on is the physical case and any physical bonuses, but usually digital is a LOT cheaper (~$10 for a movie compared to $20 physical). The only other thing physical has over digital is that you can sell or lend your physical copy to a friend, but if you buy your content DRM free (or if you’re tech savy enough to strip it of the DRM), you can throw it on a flash drive/DVD and sell/lend at your convenience (legal gray area, but still possible).

    I’m probably not going to convince you that digital is the way to go, but god damn if I don’t like the convenience of sitting on the couch and flipping through my entire library of movies (~300) and picking one without having to lift my derriere of the couch.

    • Aaron Taylor

      People who buy Criterion, are the type of people who do not get scratches on their discs, at least not the people who really collect them. Criterion also takes care of their customers extremely well (I had a damaged Blu Ray case, I had to tell them just to send me the case as they wanted to send me a whole new copy free of charge). Finally, you are correct that the Digital copies are much cheaper (Criterion comparison is actually $19.99 for digital and $33.99 for physical), but with Criterion physical editions come with extremely detailed booklets, custom art work, special commentaries (like Hunter S. Thompson for Fearing and Loathing in Las Vegas), they specialize in transferring and restoring Film. Quite simply, the people interesting in this product, would much rather walk to their film collection, take out the one they want to watch, enjoy the custom and carefully crafted product before popping in the movie. Honestly, if Criterion sold actual film reels, I’d have a projector and would still love the series.

      I am not huge in to digital, I get what I need from it, obviously it is the most convenient way to watch films, but all in all, Criterion fans are like Vinyl fans.

  • Its weird to me that nobody ever called them “VHS players” until after tapes went the wayside, then suddenly everyone called them VHS players. They’re called VCRs.

  • Michael Bay may not be able to craft a story, but he is definitely the master of action movies and special effects. The essay included with the blu-ray explains why it was chosen, and it makes a lot of sense.

  • Neil Clingerman

    Totally deserved. Plague Dogs deserves it even more.

    • Josh Moore

      Especially with the Uncut version.

  • Aaron Taylor

    As someone who spends a lot of money on Criterion products, I’ve come to start purchasing directly through their website. I truly don’t understand why they are doing iTunes, except for profit, it kind of saddens me as I only see it as devaluing their beautiful product for the sake of money and hopes of wider recognition which won’t come from iTunes. I really hope they release this on Blu Ray as it would joint my collection rather quickly.

  • Aaron Taylor

    Criterion products are not the same as normal DVD and Blu Rays, Criterion puts in way more effort to restore, collect extras and have custom box covers and booklets which provides valuable information and observations about the film in question.

  • Capt. Muffin

    I remember an interview with the head of Criterion from around the time RoboCop got added to the collection that they sometimes release an general crowd pleaser or two in order to cover the costs of releasing a few obscure films that only hard core film buffs would be interested in. They gotta release an Armageddon or two in order to bring you stuff like Breathless and Shoah.