Saturday, March 12, 2011

Six-Year Anniversary of Rockman Theatrical Film

Six years ago today, the first (and currently only) Rockman theatrical film graced silver screens in Japan. Rockman EXE: The Program of Light And Darkness is nothing short of a series milestone.

The film, an adaptation of the Rockman EXE Stream television series, released in theaters back in 2005, billed alongside the Duel Masters feature film, Curse of the Deathphoenix. Original assumed to be a true-blue crossover, the movie is, for the most part, stand-alone, with a plot based heavily around the happenings of Rockman EXE Stream. As such, the film didn't see an international release as Stream was never dubbed nor syndicated outside of Japan by ShoPro/Viz.

Despite the lack of an (official) international release, the film was a moderate financial success domestically. By year's end, The Program of Light And Darkness went on to garner $7,606,77 at the box office, even beating out the likes of other populated animated features at the time such as Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation. 

The film's success is due in part to a decent sized marketing campaign headed by Capcom. The publisher released a series of official goods and paraphernalia to raise awareness for the film, even going so far as to produce a limited edition version of the then-latest game in the series, Rockman EXE 5.  Dubbed, "Rockman EXE 5: Movie Edition", the game was a re-packaged version of Team Colonel, bundled with some nifty extra goodies, complete with an all new slip on on box cover. Today, the game remains as one of the most sought after collectibles.

For English speaking fans, an unofficial subbed version of the movie is widely available online via Torrent and video streaming sites. Interestingly, Capcom nor Xebec have not taken action against this freely available version. A quick Google search can yield to some surprising results.

Now six-years later, The Program of Light and Darkness proudly stands firm as the only official Rockman movie released in theaters. The lifelong dream for some of us, seeing the Blue Bomber on the big screen, finally came to fruition.  But, let's be honest, this isn't quite the film adaption many were hoping. When word originally hit the scene that Capcom was in the midst of producing a Mega Man film, many, and I mean MANY fans at the time were expecting something along the lines of a classic series movie. Alas, fate had other plans.

With Capcom gearing up to take on Hollywood once again with a new Resident Evil and Devil May Cry films, perhaps we may yet see the Blue Bomber's return to theaters.