February 2005

February 25, 2005 Miyazaki to Continue Directing
The new Screen International (No. 1490, 25th February) carries an interview with Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki, conducted by Mark Schilling. Most interesting quote:

"A notorious perfectionist and workaholic, Miyazaki is already busy with his next project, which is pencilled in for a 2007 or 2008 release. 'He's good for another ten years at least,' insists Suzuki. 'He has no plans to retire.'"

Other things: "Ghibli is planning two 30-minute animations, that may be helmed by someone other than Miyazaki. They will be released in a double-bill, tentatively in the summer of 2006. The stories are still a secret, Suzuki says."

- "(Suzuki) does not intend to change Ghibli's release pattern of a new Miyazaki every 3 years. "People are eager to see his films because he doesn't make them quickly," says Suzuki. "If he made one a year, they wouldn't be nearly as interested." Pixar, suggests Suzuki, "ought to slow down."

- There are "no plans" for any special comemoration of Studio Ghibli's 20th birthday.

- "In South Korea, Howl is on its way to five million admissions, a record for a Japanese film."

- "Inside the lobby of their headquarters, Miyazaki, Suzuki and the semi-retired Takahata all have their punchcards in a rack, together with those of the studio's hundred or so other employees."

February 23, 2005 R1 DVD Reviews and News Bits
Articles and reviews of the latest R1 DVDs are popping up in newspapers and magazines, a sampling:

Online publications with reviews include SciFi.com, FilmCritic.com (Porco Ross), and AnimeOnDVD (Nausicaa). This is just a sampling as just about every DVD/anime review site will be posting reviews.

In other news bits:

Viz is publishing an English translation of Baron, Neko no Dansyaku on April 5. This is the manga from which the film The Cat Returns is based.

A LA Times article titled "Anime: not just cartoon conflict" that covers the conflicting world viewpoints of Miyazaki, Katsuhiro Otomo, and Mamoru Oshii is currently availble online.

Dolls (directed by Takeshi Kitano) features music by Joe Hisaishi, composer for all of Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli films. The DVD is scheduled for release on March 8.

Thanks to Larry Virden, steve, Daniel Zelter, and Tilden Osako for the news.

February 17, 2005 Wave 2 DVD Ads and Details
TV commercials for the next set of DVDs due on February 22 are airing in the US and Canada. They're not only found on the Cartoon Network but ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX.

When the first wave of DVDs were released (Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Castle in the Sky) Best Buy ran a promotion where if you bought all three, you received a free DVD of Princess Mononoke.

This time Buena Vista is doing a similar deal no matter where you shop. Buy all three (Nausicaa, The Cat Returns, and Porco Rosso), mail in the included coupon with the proof of purchase seals and a copy of your payment receipt and BVHE will mail you a free DVD of your choice of: Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, or Castle in the Sky.

The Australian release is scheduled for April 22 and the contents appears identical to the R1 versions.

Thanks to Jason Fraser, Mark Barbour, and Cmwcmw123 for the news.

February 14, 2005 Around the World News Bits
Howl's Moving Castle's Singapore release date has been moved up from March 10 to February 24.

The film is also appearing at the AFM 4th International Film Festival in Istanbul.

"Howl" has also been seen by over 3 million people in South Korea during its first 50 days.

The official Finnish site for The Cat Returns is open and contains a trailer with a sample of the Finnish dub.

Thanks to Andrew Burns, Linus, Serhat AKAY, juanicths, Rylan Hilman, and Bob for the news.

February 10, 2005 Studio Ghibli Goes Independent
Yomiuri is reporting that Studio Ghibli is breaking away from its parent corporation Tokuma Shoten by the end of March and becoming an independent company.

How distribution rights and contracts are sorted out remains to be seen. As Studio Ghibli has been heavily involved in all previous discussions major changes are unlikely.

We believe that only small number of people (Miyazaki, Suzuki, Takahata, and so on) will hold the shares, and there will be no public offering.

The move means that Ghibli can now use large part of the profits from its films for itself. Ghibli's films are highly profitable, not just from ticket sales (which is huge), but also from TV airing, DVD sales, and merchandising. We assume that large part of the profit used to go to Tokuma, which was in financial trouble. But now, Ghibli can decide what to do with their money.

How to spend their money is another issue, of course. Maybe they feel that they can take more creative freedom such as not making any feature-length film, since they don't have to support Tokuma any longer. Or they may start making more films.

Thanks to LRoman21for the news.

February 9, 2005 Miyazaki Awarded at Venice International Film Festival
Toho announced that Miyazaki will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 62nd Venice International Film Festival this August.

This report (in Japanese) states that Miyazaki is going to attend the award ceremony. Additional news in Japanese.

Marco Muller, the director of the festival, says that September 9th will be the "Miyazaki Day" and his films will be screened at Venice.

Miyazaki's comment: "I thank from my heart to my friends around the world, who took efforts to release my films, and the people who appreciated the films."

Thanks to good_time_jp for the news.

February 4, 2005 Disney Planning Live-Action "Kiki"
A Variety report (registration required) titled "Disney orders 'Delivery' Kiki delivering to Mouse House" describes Disney's plans for the film. An excerpt:

"Kiki's Delivery Service," a Japanese series of books that was turned into a hit film by Oscar-winning animation helmer Hayao Miyazaki, is becoming an English-language film at Walt Disney Pictures. Screenwriter Jeff Stockwell, who penned the partially animated "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys," has been hired to write the new "Kiki" screenplay based on Eiko Kadano's books. The first was published in English last year...

Scottish producer Susan Montford recently teamed with partner Don Murphy to secure the rights. The duo then reunited with Murphy's "League" exec producer, Mark Gordon; all three will produce on "Kiki's." Buena Vista Motion Picture Group topper Nina Jacobson, who bought the project preemptively, will oversee it with theatrical production exec Jason Reed.

Ain't It Cool News is also covering the story.

Thanks to Doraneko and Brian Ruh for posting the news to the MML.

February 2, 2005 Updated: "Howl's Moving Castle" US Premier on June 10
The El Capitan Theater (owned and operated by Disney) is listing Howl's Moving Castle under June 10.

Brazzo reports that "according to a friend of mine at Exhibitor Relations" the film goes into its first expanded release on June 17.

Thanks to suzi for the news.

February 2, 2005 January News Roundup
A roundup of tidbits sent in over the past month:

-Tariq Shaban has created 3D models of Sen and Porco's airplane.

-Wired Magazine recommends Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind in their February issue.

-Howl's Moving Castle is the opening film at the Anima 2005 film festival (February 2 to 13) in Brussels.

-Howl's Moving Castle is the closing film at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (January 26 to February 5) in the Netherlands.

-The English dubs of Porco Rosso and Nausicaa are showing at the 28th Portland International Film Festival.

-The Cat Returns may see a theatrical release in the UK sometime in May through Optimum Releasing.

-The Cat Returns is showing at the 2005 New York International Children's Film Festival on March 12 and 13. The festival has been a huge supporter of Studio Ghibli's work and screened exclusives such as the Studio Ghibli Museum shorts never seen outside of the museum.

-Paintings from the Miyazaki-Moebius Exhibit in Paris are available for viewing.

-If this DVD wasn't enough to confirm John Lasseter's admiration of Miyazaki's works then check out the picture in the second-half of this article about his current "Cars" project.

-The February issue of NewType USA contains a feature on Studio Ghibli.

Thanks to Rob Haines, Werner Geeroms, jerome colin, Richard Shearn, Melissa Simpson, Werner Bossmann, Tommie Knijff, Joran Idema, Simon Ho, and Larry Virden.