—Madman co-founder Tim Anderson, from an extra on the Australian DVD release of Bubblegum Crisis 2032, the company's first acquisition
Originally beginning in 1996 solely to distribute anime in Australia, Madman Entertainment grew into one of the largest entertainment companies in Australia and New Zealand, once accounting for 97 percent of all anime DVD sales in Australia, with an annual turnover of around $50 million AUD. They're really Aussie. Dodgy, but enthusiastic.
Madman secured the local release rights to multiple franchises including AKIRA, Bleach, Dragon Ball, Naruto, Neon Genesis Evangelion, One Piece, and almost all of Studio Ghibli's catalogue. In addition to DVD sales, Madman managed the theatrical release of some of their titles, particularly the Studio Ghibli movies.
Madman also sublicensed anime from AnimEigo, Bandai Entertainment, Funimation, Harmony Gold, Sentai Filmworks, Viz Media, and formerly ADV Films and Geneon. Madman and Manga Entertainment Australia Ltd merged in 2003. This happened so if Manga lost a license in Australia, Madman would pick it up. If Madman Entertainment lost the license for anime from American companies, Manga UK would sub-license anime to Madman.
In addition to anime and manga, Madman Entertainment distributes other mediums and genres such as Australian television (mostly from SBS), Asian cinema, Bollywood, action sports and independent films. They also released some western animation, and had release rights to original Cartoon Network and [adult swim] series, even creating unique releases for the Australian market for shows that were never released physically anywhere else in the world.
In May 2014, they officially opened the streaming service AnimeLab which is geolocked for residents of Australia and New Zealand. They love to point this out since many services in the U.S. have geoblocked these countries.
Madman Anime was split off into a separate, wholly-owned company in 2016, before being sold to Aniplex in 2019. In 2022, Madman Anime was merged into Crunchyroll, and now operates under that name. The Madman name and branding lives on under Madman Entertainment, an independent Australian film company that, while sharing little to no resemblance to the anime-focused home media company they were known as, has found success in a very different corner of Australian media distribution.
Madman Entertainment also started their own studio, Madman Productions. Madman Productions has produced: