Not content to wait? There has been buzz about the Korean DVD, but now it looks like there's no subtitles.
There's the Malaysian DVD. But if you order that version, what do you really gain in the long run? You might have your Ong-Bak 2 now, but what about future efforts by Tony Jaa and company? Will the North American release of future Thai action and genre films be jeopardized by gray market DVDs and fan-subbing efforts, which facilitate illegal downloads?
Kung Fu Cinema's Mark Pollard comments on Magnolia's strategy:
This forward-thinking and diversified approach is a smart move by Magnolia that I only wish could have happened sooner since many fans have already tracked down overseas editions and pirated copies of the film. While Ong-Bak 2 would undoubtedly look great on a big screen, the reality is that it's getting harder for distributors to put niche movies into theaters and turn a profit and harder for audiences to tear themselves away from their home entertainment systems and computers.
If successful, I wouldn't be surprised if this gradually becomes the new model for distributing niche movies. Films could be released sooner and at lower cost to the distributor, in turn making it more likely that we might actually see more licensed foreign films brought into the U.S. If films began to be released worldwide on VOD services in a timely fashion and at a reasonable cost, this could go a long way in combating revenue loss through piracy and cross-border, gray-market sales. Films will still have to be released to DVD and Blu-ray to satisfy collectors though.
I guess I agree with what he's saying. Sometimes the gray market is the only way you can get a semi-legal English-friendly release of a Thai movie. But if the gray market didn't exist, would the film be more likely to be picked up in North America and the U.K.? Would there be motivation for companies like Sahamongkol to offer an English-friendly multi-platform worldwide concurrent release of its films in theaters, on its Mongkol Channel and other cable channels, Internet streaming and DVD/Blu-ray? It's a conundrum.
The U.S. release of Ong-Bak 2 should have happened already, following closely after the film's appearance at South by Southwest, which could have been a promotional platform for a theatrical, VOD, DVD release. Ong-Bak 2 should have been a summer movie, not a fall movie. It'll be interesting to see how this works out.
I also wonder if there will be any special features or commentary tracks on the Magnet disc? Will the quality be okay? How about Blu-ray? Worth getting? I'm willing to wait to hear more. How about you?