The Battle Royale movies, which came out in 2000 and 2003, were not given an official release in America until 2012. Due to the natureof themovies, this led to long-standing (and false) rumors that the movies were banned in the US. That they'd been released in the UK, a country whose Media Watchdogs are far more squeamish about violence (this was, after all, the country that came up with the Video Nasties list), should put the lie to that rumour. The problem was that Toei, the studio behind the films, did offer to sell the rights to American distributors, but their conditions for sale were wildly unreasonable for a subtitled foreign film in the American market: they demanded a national cinema release and accompanying advertising campaign on par with the latest Hollywood blockbusters instead of the normal "select arthouse cinemas" route that does decent business for other subtitled foreign films. They eventually relented and settled for the latter routenote Specifically, a one-week run at the Cinefamily Theater in Los Angeles for nine days (later changed to fifteen days due to demand) starting December 23, 2011, followed by a DVD/Blu-Ray release on March 20, 2012 by Anchor Bay. after realizing that no American distributor could possibly meet their demands without whipping up a firestorm of controversy.
Which leads into another problem that the films had: the MPAA. Teenage slasher movies are nothing new, but there's a difference between a psychotic monster going on a rampage and the nation's government forcing a high school class (played by actual teenaged actors — no Dawson Casting here!) to become murderers. There is no way in hell a film with that kind of content would've gotten anything other than an NC-17 without getting Bowdlerised to the point of being unrecognizable, meaning you can forget about a wide release or big marketing campaign. Too much pain for too little money. It's likely that, ultimately, the only reason that anybody even touched the films to begin with is because of the runaway success of The Hunger Games, a series of American young adult novels with, to put it as neutrally as possible, similar subject matter.
To get around the films' lack of an American release, New Line Cinema tried to secure the rights to make an American remake, along the lines of The Ring and The Grudge. But again, the nature of the story means trying to find 30-40 odd teenagers (or the next best thing), at least five of which you know the studio will want to be "big names", a distributor willing to market a movie like this, and way to make the movie make sense to an American demographic... yeah, let's just say the project's been in Development Hell for several years.
The full version of Grindhouse, as opposed to the stand-alone versions of Planet Terror and Death Proof, was only released to theaters, cable, and Blu-ray in North America and to DVD in Canada and Japan.
A great many old/classic movies from European countries (e.g., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Spain) have never been released (legitmately) on VHS or DVD in the United States, even when they feature stars who are widely known in America, simply because there's apparently no real money to be made in said release. These movies can include some of these stars' better-known performances.
Case in point: Sara Montiel and Maria Felix. They're generally regarded as among the greatest stars of Spanish-language film, yet most of their best-known movies have never seen DVD release in the U.S. by a major distributor.
In Quebec, some movies are released on DVD without the French language track, even when that language track exist, was included with the theatrical release and is used commonly on TV. One of the most glaring example was Terminator 2, which was recently re-released with a French language track. Even weirder, some movie, like X-Men or Men in Black, have a French-language track, but it's the European dubbing instead of the Quebec dubbing, which is the one used on TV and in theaters.
Inversion: Song of the South hasn't been seen in the United States since its last theatrical release in 1986, though as late as 2001 it was available on VHS in the UK, Europe, and Japan, and VideoVisa released an ultra-rare VHS and Betamax version in Mexico in 1986, which you can get on eBay if you're extremely lucky.
In The Incredibles, for some reason, the "Vowellet" feature was omitted from the Region 2 DVD. Which is strange, given that this one movie is the only time most Europeans have heard of Sarah Vowell, the popular essayist and This American Life regular who voiced Violet, making this feature particularly important to Europeans.
Vacation With Derek, the much-anticipated follow-up movie to the Canadian family series Life With Derek, for no discernible reason, failed to make its scheduled US air date of 10 December 2010. Made all the more jarring by the fact that it premiered on schedule in Australia. It finally made its U.S. premiere, six months later. On Encore.
Inverted with Young Einstein. Still no DVD release in Australia, despite being available in the US since 2005. This is for a film that reviewers frequently describe as being 'too Australian' to appeal to an international audience.
The Italian movie L'Ultimo Squalo, alias The Great White (or, depending on where you see it, The Last Shark), is available everywhere except America due to a lawsuit by Universal that led to an extremely short and abbreviated run in theatres.
Johnny Depp's The Brave. Bad reviews from American critics at the premiere left Depp so depressed that he refuses to allow an American release. The film is available online and internationally though.
A Clockwork Orange was this in the UK until 2000 due to (depending on the source) either copycat murders or death threats against the family of director Stanley Kubrick. Whatever the reason, Kubrick and Warner Bros. pulled the film from the UK voluntarily, and it wasn't until after Kubrick died that Warner allowed a British release of the film. It was this trope that shut down the Scala Film Club for several years starting in 1993; Warner successfully sued them for screening the film without their authorization.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won't be released in India at least for the time being due to director David Fincher not allowing Sony to cut material from the film that would be deemed offensive to the local censorship boards; if and when it finally does get released there, it'll be Direct-to-Video at best, like The Human Centipede II was in the UK due to its horrific content.
The popular Taxi franchise has never been released in the US. Instead, a poorly reviewed remake with Queen Latifah was made (possibly with the sole intention that the original series would never see the light of day in the US).
Make Mine Music was one of those Disney compilation films with different segments that they made in their early days during the war when they couldn't make their usual proper full length films. Although every other compilation film got released there, Make Mine Music remains the only Walt Disney Animated Studios film not to be released in the UK besides a now out of date and out of print VHS release. And you'd wouldn't think there would be a WDAS film they didn't release on DVD in the UK. Not to mention half of the Walt Disney Treasures...
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was the only Japanese Godzilla movie to be released in Hungary, in 1989 (15 after its original debut) — as a result, most people in the country believed 1998 American remake to have been the only actual Godzilla movie. None of the others, not in cinemas, on VHS or on DVD. Even so, it remains completely unknown to general audiences, and is in fact so obscure that its release almost counts as an urban legend. No other Japanese Kaiju film got localized in the country, although there's a rumor that at least one Gamera movie got a subtitled VHS release, and a few sub-par eastern monster movies made it to cable in 2012 as part of a late night trash-film series — among them the English version of Giant Monster Gamera (untranslated and with a shoddy video quality) — but no Godzilla. Due to this, Godzilla (2014) was only a moderate success at the box office, but a failure with audiences.
Even before that, throughout almost all of Europe, Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster was unheard of for some strange reason, even though Toho had clearly put it up for export. Turkey is the only country known to have shown it in theaters. All Monsters Attack's absence was justified in that no known export version was prepared since it was a filler production made for children. Germany only recently created new dubs for both of the films.
Despite the unanimous acclaim and the fact that it has been released in Europe and Asia, there has been no attempt to release Gangs Of Wasseypur in the US. This is especially unusual since Indian films are often released day-and-date (or close to) in most countries. However, there is some relief in that the film's director has no problem with people downloading the film but still.
A curious inversion in the case of the a-boy-and-his-horse movie Amanda; it was barely released in some countries (notably South Africa) but at least it got released there, whereas it has never been issued in any form in its home country of the US (although Basil Poledouris's score is available).
The French horror film Livid was released in 2011. The Weinsteins bought the rights for an American release but are still sitting on it. Fans have had to resort to either importing international releases or piracy to view the film.