As of yesterday, One million Blu-Ray and DVD discs of the second Evangelion Rebuild films has shipped.
One million means it eclipses anything Japan has ever put out on those respective formats. Those million will sell out, and this thing will keep selling. It has also made the sales of the first move hit the number two spot, despite being over two years old. This movie is the biggest damn thing Japan has produced in a long time... AND NO ONE FROM THE U.S. HAS PURCHASED THE RIGHTS TO IT!
This isn't to say that Funimation, or ADV (or whatever they are calling themselves now), or any American distributor is to blame. Mostly the blame probably lies with Studio Khara, Gainax, or King's Records. All they see is "We have the biggest animated film since whatever Miyazaki did last. They should pay us BILLIONS for the rights! MUH-HAHAHA!"
Of course the problem is these tiny American distributors can't afford this, and it isn't worth the investment on their part because this is a sequel to a very niche series. Most of us have already downloaded it and watched it online (wouldn't stop me from buying it at all).
For the price Khara wants for Eva, a theatrical run here would be necessary for it to recoup some of its losses. But Evangelion 1 didn't do that well because it was being backed by one of the aforementioned anime distributors and couldn't afford to do a bigger run. I applaud them for their effort, and God knows they tried their best with what they had. But from the beginning the first movie should have been purchased by a major studio who could have given it the attention it deserved.
A real, grown up studio, could have advertised it a lot better to general fans. Funimation only advertised to the hardcore, at anime conventions and at film festivals like AFI, (which is located in the same city they are based out of (way to extend you reach Funi)). The entire Rebuild series was approached in a way so that new fans and casual fans could go and watch it without trying to understand all the underlying psychology, and religion, etc, that goes along with Evangelion. Any product can be sold, if you know how to advertise it. Funimation did not, nor had the resources to do so.
I'll admit 2.22 blows 1.11 out of the water, and is a much better film. I doubt anyone could have guessed how much 2.22 would turn into it's own monster and deviate from the television show.
At this point, Funimation should sell their rights to 1 for a big price to a major studio, so the major studio can get 2.22 and do it right. This won't happen of course. We will probably never see a stateside release. At least not for another 5 or 10 years, when Khara realizes they aren't making any money off it in America.
The only hope America has left to see Theatrical Evangelion is the live action films, which from all reports (surprisingly) seems to be moving forward. I know I'll sound like a snob, but at this point a live action Eva scares the absolute hell out of me. I have the Rebuild movies, and they are making me happy. If I have to see Toby Maguire play Shinji Ikari my mind might snap quicker then it did watching the last two episodes of the TV series.
My idea: have the live action Eva take place in the American branch of NERV during the same time period. No Shinji, no Rei or Asuka. MAYBE have Mari in there and Kaji to tie them all together. Again, these are things that will never happen.