How come all the great releases come from South Korea, Czech Republic, etc.?

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Jun 15, 2015
92
New York City
I'm very new to this forum. I am NOT new to collecting movies at all, but I am relatively new to the "boutique label" game. I definitely care about the movie first and foremost, which is why I only buy movies I actually want to watch and all my purchases are open. That said, I love the designs and packaging of some of the great releases from Plain Archive, KimchiDVD, etc. I happily spend a premium for these products, and then pay sometimes expensive shipping to the US.

I'm just curious if there's a particular reason that the really awesome releases mostly seem to come out of South Korea and Czech Republic. Ultimately, I just wonder why there isn't a US company that does what FilmArena or Plain Archive does. I'd imagine a significant number of their purchases come from the US.

Even though they're not as "ultimate" as the full slip Steelbook release we see from those companies, the UK has a ton of beautiful Steelbook releases, far more than the US.

It's just something I've always wondered about.
 

Phantasmic

Boooy!
Premium Supporter
I'm very new to this forum. I am NOT new to collecting movies at all, but I am relatively new to the "boutique label" game. I definitely care about the movie first and foremost, which is why I only buy movies I actually want to watch and all my purchases are open. That said, I love the designs and packaging of some of the great releases from Plain Archive, KimchiDVD, etc. I happily spend a premium for these products, and then pay sometimes expensive shipping to the US.

I'm just curious if there's a particular reason that the really awesome releases mostly seem to come out of South Korea and Czech Republic. Ultimately, I just wonder why there isn't a US company that does what FilmArena or Plain Archive does. I'd imagine a significant number of their purchases come from the US.

Even though they're not as "ultimate" as the full slip Steelbook release we see from those companies, the UK has a ton of beautiful Steelbook releases, far more than the US.

It's just something I've always wondered about.
It's a mystery to me too.(n) Welcome to HDN, :) better get used to being broke now.;) :(
 
Aug 7, 2011
2,063
USA
I'm very new to this forum. I am NOT new to collecting movies at all, but I am relatively new to the "boutique label" game. I definitely care about the movie first and foremost, which is why I only buy movies I actually want to watch and all my purchases are open. That said, I love the designs and packaging of some of the great releases from Plain Archive, KimchiDVD, etc. I happily spend a premium for these products, and then pay sometimes expensive shipping to the US.

I'm just curious if there's a particular reason that the really awesome releases mostly seem to come out of South Korea and Czech Republic. Ultimately, I just wonder why there isn't a US company that does what FilmArena or Plain Archive does. I'd imagine a significant number of their purchases come from the US.

Even though they're not as "ultimate" as the full slip Steelbook release we see from those companies, the UK has a ton of beautiful Steelbook releases, far more than the US.

It's just something I've always wondered about.
Asia has decided to enter what was an untaped, limited, specialty segment. Targeting those steelbook enthusiasts that are willing to spend more as a way to gain a small share of the overall market.

Any retailer can do this, as the Czech's have aptly demonstrated, but the larger businesses aren't interested in these smaller releases, to date.
 
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UpsetSmiley

The Ninja with True Grit
Premium Supporter
Jan 4, 2014
3,918
United Kingdom
Welcome to the forum! :thumbs:

I think even with the growing community of collectors it's still a niche market. All I can think of is that Steelbooks don't have a big enough following as they do overseas. Not to mention US retailers don't ship outside of their respective territory. Although with that said Canada seems to be increasing its Mondo catalogue. They're catching on and I wouldn't be surprised if a new retailer in the US gets interested. :)
 

AlienKing

The Matrix has you...
Moderator
Premium Supporter
May 15, 2014
11,676
Ontario, Kanada
I'm very new to this forum. I am NOT new to collecting movies at all, but I am relatively new to the "boutique label" game. I definitely care about the movie first and foremost, which is why I only buy movies I actually want to watch and all my purchases are open. That said, I love the designs and packaging of some of the great releases from Plain Archive, KimchiDVD, etc. I happily spend a premium for these products, and then pay sometimes expensive shipping to the US.

I'm just curious if there's a particular reason that the really awesome releases mostly seem to come out of South Korea and Czech Republic. Ultimately, I just wonder why there isn't a US company that does what FilmArena or Plain Archive does. I'd imagine a significant number of their purchases come from the US.

Even though they're not as "ultimate" as the full slip Steelbook release we see from those companies, the UK has a ton of beautiful Steelbook releases, far more than the US.

It's just something I've always wondered about.
What a coincidence! I was talking to a friend about this (who happens to be Korean btw) couple of months ago. And he was saying how they have to actually "try" compared to the North American market. Apparently, in the Asian market there are a lot pirated copies and used copies, people don't really buy regular original Blurays/DVDs. So the retailers have to actually 'dress them up' with beautiful packing, etc so people will actually buy them. And I think that's why we are seeing all these beautiful packages from Asia for random/non-blockbuster movies.

If you go to Walmart or BestBuy, they have this 'bluray bin' where all the movies are $5-$10. So even without beautiful packages, they ARE clearing stock. So they don't have to 'try' to sell to us, we are buying either way. Their mentality is, "Why fix something when it's not broken?" This applies to new movies as well. I picked up Birdman and A Walk Among the Tombstones last week for $10 each. And these are somewhat newly released on Bluray. One thing I can say is we get a kick a$$ slip once in a while.

P.S. Welcome to HDN! Have fun :thumbs:
 
Jan 31, 2012
1,492
In the case of South Korea, the DVD market enjoyed some success in the late 90's and early 00's. However as you may know, South Korea is home to the fastest internet in the world and piracy became so prevalent that many Hollywood distributors withdrew from the market altogether. At the same Korean distributors were well aware of the problem concerning the need to deliver something special in order to encourage consumers to want to own physical domestic content. You could say the idea of premium quality is in the blood of Korean physical media - many releases saw unique packaging and because the market has always been comparatively small, low print runs have always been an established norm. However the adoption and uptake of Blu Ray in Korea as a result of the continued advancement of internet piracy has been slow. It has taken years and some healthy international interest but now the Korean Blu Ray market (domestic and international distribution-based) is bringing the pedigree back with collector-focused releases by companies like Plain Archive.
 
Mar 8, 2015
95
Although I have been collecting steelbooks for a while now, I just recently discovered the Asian and East European markets. Although they sell at reasonable prices (shipping costs aside), they sell out very quickly, which then means being left to open market forces, so it is like the original supplier is the wholesaler and then individuals who sell on become the retailer, thus adding to the price. I guess that is why these premium end steelbooks are so cherished and considered "Holy Grail" purchases amongst the serious collectors. Finally managed to get the Kimchi Iron Man, gorgeous artwork which is different to the rest of the world and the lenticular slip is just the icing on the cake. And I got it for not too bad a price I suppose. Just need the Japanese release of Fury now.......

Anyways, my penny's worth
 
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RekLess

The Specialist
Premium Supporter
Jun 13, 2013
1,369
Nebraska, USA
I'm pretty sure it has mostly to do with copyright and licensing. In the US, the big companies own the movie licenses. And the big US companies are mostly concerned with the bottom line. (It's all about the benjamin$$$) Overseas the movie licenses are moreso available for the smaller companies (Plain, Kimchi, Blufans) to purchase. So the smaller companies are able to obtain those distribution rights and create a stunning package for us collectors.

So the main reason you don't see it in the US is because nobody can start a small business here and afford to buy the distribution rights from one of the giant movie companies. Overseas it is a lot easier to buy those rights.
 
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