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Ghibli Movies coming to Home video?

posted on 2002-04-11 18:29 EDT
Press Release suggests that more Ghibli movies will be coming to North American Home Video this year. Pixar acknowledges huge Miyazaki Influence on Toy Story. - Updated, 11:55 pm

A Press Release released by Disney today talks about the Disney's licencing of Sen, and mentions a few details about the project. On this topic there is absolutely nothing new in the article.

However, the article goes on with two interesting paragraphs, the first regarding Miyazaki's past influences on Pixar films, and the second making mention of future Disney releases of other Ghibli titles.

Lasseter [John Lasseter, of Pixar] noted: "Miyazaki is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time and he has been a tremendous inspiration to generations of animators. At Pixar, when we have a problem and we can't seem to solve it, we often look at one of his films in our screening room. Toy Story owes a huge debt of gratitude to the films of Mr. Miyazaki.

The division next released Miyazaki's masterpiece, Princess Mononoke, on video and DVD, and is currently preparing several other Miyazaki titles for release on both video and DVD later this year.

The full Disney Press Release can be read below:

Disney Acquires Domestic Theatrical, Home Entertainment and TV Rights To Japan's All-Time Top Grossing Film, Miyazaki's Animated 'Spirited Away'

Film Has Grossed a Record $234 Million in Japan and Won The 'Golden Bear Award' at Berlin Film Festival

BURBANK, Calif., April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The Walt Disney Studios has acquired all domestic theatrical, home entertainment and television rights to Hayao Miyazaki's animated masterpiece, "Spirited Away," Japan's all-time top grossing film, it was announced today (4/11) by Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, and Toshio Suzuki, the film's producer and head of Studio Ghibli. The film, which recently received the coveted "Golden Bear Award" at the Berlin Film Festival, is scheduled to be released theatrically in the U.S. this fall. Acclaimed director John Lasseter ("Toy Story," "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story 2"), executive vice president, creative for Pixar Animation Studios, will serve as creative consultant for the newly dubbed version. Under the terms of the deal, Disney will also acquire the video distribution rights to the film in Japan as well as all theatrical, home entertainment and television rights in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and France. "Spirited Away," the latest animated feature from Japan's legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, holds the distinction of being the highest grossing film in Japanese box office history with a total to date of 29.3 billion yen ($234 million) and more than 22 million admissions. This figure surpasses the two previous record holders -- "Titanic" at 26 billion yen ($208 million) and Miyazaki's "Princess Mononoke" at 19.3 billion yen ($154 million). "Spirited Away" opened in Japan in July, 2001 and is still in general release.

"Spirited Away" follows the fanciful adventures of a ten-year-old girl named Chihiro, who discovers a secret world when she and her family get lost and venture through a hillside tunnel. When her parents undergo a mysterious transformation, Chihiro must fend for herself as she encounters strange spirits, assorted creatures and a grumpy sorceress who seeks to prevent her from returning to the human world.

Commenting on the announcement, Cook said, "We are thrilled to be associated with the great Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli in bringing 'Spirited Away' to audiences around the world. This film has already become a box office phenomenon in Japan and its visionary story and artistry is sure to be a hit with moviegoers all over the globe. Disney and Miramax have had a very successful collaboration with Studio Ghibli in the past and we are extremely proud to be extending that relationship with this truly extraordinary film. John Lasseter brings a love and respect for Miyazaki's work to his role as creative consultant and will help ensure that this film reaches the widest possible audience in its domestic release."

Suzuki commented, "We know the Disney team will provide the best possible release for 'Spirited Away.' Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter have known each other for more than 20 years, and have been great fans of each other's work. We're so happy to have this opportunity to work together with old friends."

John Lasseter noted, "Miyazaki is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time and he has been a tremendous inspiration to generations of animators. At Pixar, when we have a problem and we can't seem to solve it, we often look at one of his films in our screening room. 'Toy Story' owes a huge debt of gratitude to the films of Mr. Miyazaki. It is a real privilege to be involved with one of his films and to help bring it to a whole new group of moviegoers. 'Spirited Away' is a magnificent film and deserves to be seen by everyone who loves good storytelling and great characters."

Disney began its association with Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli in 1996 when Disney executive Michael O. Johnson (then president of Buena Vista Home Entertainment Worldwide) negotiated a deal to bring nine of the Studio's films to the world. In 1998, Buena Vista Home Entertainment released the heart-warming coming-of-age family comedy "Kiki's Delivery Service." The division next released Miyazaki's masterpiece, "Princess Mononoke," on video and DVD, and is currently preparing several other of the director's titles for release on both video and DVD later this year. Internationally, Buena Vista Home Entertainment has had tremendous success with such titles as "Princess Mononoke," which has sold four million units (16.4 billion yen or USD $130 million) to date in Japan alone.

Johnson noted, "Disney has had a great working relationship with Miyazaki and his associates at Studio Ghibli over the past six years and we consider it an honor to be bringing these exceptional works of art and entertainment to movie fans all over the world. Miyazaki's films have universal appeal and 'Spirited Away' is sure to find a receptive audience in theaters everywhere and in the international home entertainment markets."

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most highly regarded directors/animators/comic artists in Japan. His movies are beloved by all generations of Japanese people, and have enjoyed huge successes both commercially and critically. He started his career as an animator at Toei Animation Studios in 1963 and was involved with such popular TV series as "Heidi" and "Future Boy Conan." In 1979, he directed his first film, "Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro." He went on to direct the 1984 feature, "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind," a highly sophisticated film that was as popular with adult audiences as it was with children. The success of "Nausicaä" led Tokuma Publishing to establish Studio Ghibli, a new animation studio for Miyazaki and his longtime colleague, Isao Takahata. Among the films that Miyazaki has written and directed for Ghibli are "Laputa: Castlein the Sky" (1986), "My Neighbor Totoro" (1988), "Kiki's Delivery Service" (1989), "Porco Rosso" (1992) and "Princess Mononoke" (1997). In less than four months, "Princess Mononoke" broke the all-time box office record in Japan (previously established by "E.T." in 1982). In addition to the films that he has personally directed, Miyazaki produced such other Ghibli films as "Only Yesterday" (1991), "Pom Poko" (1994) and "Whispers of the Heart" (1995).

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