The Right Stuf reported Thursday that MGM/UA, the distribution arm that bought several remaining titles from Streamline Pictures when Orion went bankrupt, will be discontinuing them effective April 30, 1999. These new releases, which include the semi-mainstream favorite "Akira", were only re-released by MGM/UA two months ago.
This move has confused many, since the re-released titles did not get very wide distribution. When ANN asked MGM spokesperson Anna Songco for the reasons behind the discontinuation (and possibility of a re-release), she replied, "At this time, MGM Home Entertainment does not have any plans to continue their Anime line."
Most of the affected titles are still available through Image Entertainment as DVD releases, but many are worrying that Akira may be without a home for a while. There are rumors that another company is interested in the rights to the film, but as it stands now, the rights to the film expire this spring/summer, when they revert back to the original Japanese licensors. (Contrary to previous reports, Voyager's Criterion line no longer holds any rights associated with this title.)