Film fans rejoice: The Criterion Collection is coming to the UK & Ireland

The iconic DVD & Blu-Ray company is set to release their first films across the Atlantic in April

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Image: Damian Dovarganes / AP/Press Association Images

Irish viewers will soon have much easier access to releases from the iconic US home cinema company the Criterion Collection.

The latest issue of Sight & Soundhighlighted by Criterion Cast, features confirmation that the company will be releasing five films in the UK in April - a significant development given the company has previously focused almost exclusively on the US market, with their discs often region-locked.

For those who aren't aware of the Criterion Collection, the company is known for offering high quality - albeit premium priced - DVD & Blu-Ray releases of classic films, world cinema and cult favourites. Their releases typically boast superb picture quality, generous extra features, stylish cover art, and booklets featuring writing about the film in question.

Criterion themselves describe their goal as offering a "continuing series of important classic and contemporary films... dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world".

The first five scheduled for release are the silent comedy Speedy, Hollywood classic It Happened One Night, acclaimed documentary Grey Gardens, Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Macbeth, and the Dustin Hoffman-starring Tootsie.

Criterion is likely to have some competition here against established companies such as Eureka (particularly their 'Masters of Cinema' range), Arrow Video, the British Film Institute and Artificial Eye.

However, Criterion's belated arrival seems like further evidence that physical media is not going anywhere just yet - even if it is increasingly becoming a collector's market.