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Ghibli's Arrietty Anime Film to Open on 1,200+ U.S. Screens

posted on by Justin Sevakis
Release aimed at original novel's fans; Ponyo, Spirited Away played on 900 & 750 screens

The Wall Street Journal financial newspaper reported that Walt Disney Pictures will release The Secret World of Arrietty in over 1,200 screens in the U.S. on February 17 — making it the widest U.S. release of any Ghibli anime film to date. Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, co-executive producers of the American dub, told the newspaper that the film's marketing would be broadened to include fans of Mary Norton's 1952 book The Borrowers, upon which the film is based. Marshall and Kennedy were also co-executive producers of the American dub of Ponyo.

Ponyo opened in 927 screens and grossed US$15.1 Million in 2009, while Howl's Moving Castle opened in 202 theaters in 2005, grossing only US$4.7 Million. Spirited Away opened on 26 screens in 2002, grossing US$10 Million and garnering an Academy Award for director Hayao Miyazaki. Princess Mononoke, the first Studio Ghibli film released by Walt Disney Corporation (under its subsidiary Miramax, which has since been sold), was booked in only 8 theaters and grossed US$2.3 Million.

First-time director Hiromasa Yonebayashi re-imagines the original by moving the story to a Tokyo suburb, although early clips of the dub indicate that protagonist has been renamed from Sho to "Sean." The story revolves around Arrietty (voiced by Bridgit Mendler), a member of the "little people" who live under the floorboards of a regular human family's home, and their struggle to remain hidden from the human "beans." Will Arnett and Amy Poehler — a real-life couple — voice Arrietty's father and mother.

The movie originally opened in Japanese theaters in July 2010 with supervision by Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki. The film also received a different English dub in the United Kingdom, and the film already ran in theaters there in August.

Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news tip.

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