April 2003

April 30, 2003 "Howl's Moving Castle" Not Confirmed for Release in the US
Anime News Service is referring to a Yahoo page with the headline "Yahoo: Disney Acquires Howl's Moving Castle".

This is incorrect. While a US release is likely, the page in question does not claim to have first-hand knowledge:

As was done with Spirited Away, Disney will probably release the original Japanese language version (with English subtitles) in some select theaters, along with the English-dubbed version that most people will see.

April 16, 2003 "The Cat Returns" US Premiere
The film will premiere at the First Annual LA Anime Festival, both director Hiroyuki Morita and producer Nozomu Takahashi will be present for a Q&A session after the film.

More information here or at the 2003 Film Festivals page.

Thanks to Joe Curzon and Daniel Zelter for the news.

April 15, 2003 Miyazaki US DVDs Released Today
Most video stores are stocking the DVDs of Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Castle in the Sky. Best Buy is running a promotion (through April 19) with a free Princess Mononoke DVD when you buy all three DVDs. This is an in-store promotion only.

April 10, 2003 "Spirited Away" Theater Run vs. DVD Release
From an indieWIRE article:

Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki's Best Animated Oscar win for "Spirited Away," beating such high-profile American-made movies as "Ice Age" and "Lilo and Stitch," also breathed temporary and unprecedented new life into the film's release: post-Awards, distributor Disney expanded the run from 7 to 711 screens. According to Variety, the nearly $1.8 million in box office surge represented an increase of 35,132 percent. But Disney's theatrical commitment to "Spirited Away" ends soon: On April 15, according to a Disney spokesperson, the theatrical distribution will abruptly expire in order to make way for the film's DVD and video release.

Keep an eye on the theater situation via the "Spirited Away" Theater Listing.

Thanks to Rich Bean for posting the news to the MML.

April 10, 2003 Congratualtory Oscar Ad in Variety
The image is on page five of the March 31 - April 6, 2003 Variety.

Variety thumbnail

Thanks to Michael Howe for the scan.

April 6, 2003 Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color, PlayStation 2 game with Studio Ghibli character designs, set for May 2003 release in North America
Originally titled Garakuta Meisaku Gekijou: Rakugaki Oukoku (Garakuta Masterpiece Theater: Doodle Kingdom), Magic Pengel is similar to the popular Monster Rancher series from Tecmo, but instead of capturing or randomly generating the monsters, you draw them.

The Ghilbies Production Committee and Studio Ghibli helped make the animation and the character designs for this game (they look suspiciously like Katsuya KONDOU did them, though he isn't mentioned specifically in the credits in the Japanese game manual). You can see more bu visiting the Agetec website.

April 4, 2003 "El viaje de Chihiro" in Argentina
The film opens in theaters on July 17. You can watch the film progress around the world on this page.

Thanks to Diego Garcia Lewin for the news.

April 4, 2003 News Bits From Japan
Atsuko Iizuka passed along the following:

Suzuki-san holding this drawing of Chihiro with bou-mouse and mosquito-bird on her shoulder with the message saying "To Mr. John Lasseter I am deeply grateful to you for your friendship and effort."


Suzuki-san holding another drawing of Chihiro with bou-mouse and mosquito-bird on her shoulder with the message saying "To Mr. Dick Cook I am deeply grateful to you for your kindness and effort."


Jens Stolpmann noted that the Studio Ghibli Museum has passed the one million visitor mark.

Akito T translated this article about the event:

April 3, the visitor of "Mitaka-no-mori-Ghibli-Bijutsukan"(Mitaka City, Tokyo) amounted to 1 million people during one and a half years since the beginning of opening.

Masahito Kato(8) and his younger sister Chinatsu(4) who came from Nagoya city were authorized as "1 millionth visitors", and both received Ghibli's original stationery and cell pictures presented as souvenir from curator.

Masahito received unexpected presents, "Surprise! How lucky!". Chinatsu joyfully said "My favorite movie is Mononoke Hime".

Hayao Miyazaki's son, Goro Miyazaki(36) as the director of Ghibli Art Museum said "Our steady efforts were crowned with this result. Also in future, we continue making effort to carry out good exhibition."

Ghibli Art Museum was opened in October, 2001. The ticket of reservation system is being sold at convenience store "LAWSON". However, tickets are being sold out immediately because it is still very popular.

April 3, 2003 Updated: "Spirited Away" In Italy
The film ("La cittą incantata" in Italian) opens in theaters on April 18. The premiere will take place at the "Cartoons on the Bay" Film Festival. A list of voice actors is now located on the Credits page.

Italian poster thumbnail

Thanks to Rosario Scollo and Diletta Nicastro for the news.

April 2, 2003 "Spirited Away" Opens in the Czech Republic
shinji wrote in with details about the film's release in the Czech Republic:

Starting today (3.4.2003) the Hayao Miyazaki film "Spirited Away" (in czech "Cesta do fantazie" - lit. A Way to the Fantasy) is being released in cinemas across the Czech republic. The movie is released with subtitles and all main magazines -- both classical and web -- had issued very positive reviews about the movie, in some cases followed by a general article on manga and/or anime culture in Japan which is unknown in the Czech republic. The movie is distributed by Intersonic.

web urls:
distributor: http://www.intersonic.cz/
multiplex chains: http://www.villagecinemas.cz/ http://www.cinemacity.cz/ http://www.palacecinemas.cz/