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AICN Anime - GKIDS Picks up the Theatrical Rights to 13 Studio Ghibli Movies... Including Ones Never Released on DVD in America


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Column by Scott Green


After introducing America to some wondeful all-ages animation that you probably had not previously heard of, such as Oscar nominated Secret of Kells and Michel Ocelot’s acclaimed Azur & Asmar, GKIDS has worked out the theatrical rights to some animated movies that you probably have... the films of Studio Ghibli (prior to 2002, so no Ponyo or Howl's Moving Castle, unfortunately the Grave of the Fireflies rights are a bit tangled, and, except for Nausicaa, no pre-Ghibli like Castle of Cagliostro or Hols).
The deal does encompass thirteen titles Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award winning Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Castle in the Sky. This includes Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata's Only Yesterday and the studio's TV movie Ocean Waves, which were never released on DVD by Disney. Only Yesterday was dubbed, aired on Turner Classic Movies' 2006 Ghibli retrospective and was scheduled for a DVD before Disney reshuffled their Ghibli DVD release plans.

Films will be distributed by GKIDS in both the subtitled and English dubbed versions.

As the first engagements announced under the agreement, New York Film Festival is presenting a 25 year anniversary screening of Castle in the Sky and 10 year anniversary screenings of Spirited Away. This will be followed by a touring Studio Ghibli retrospective, opening a four week run at New York’s IFC Center from December 16 to January 12 and visiting key US and Canadian markets in the first half of 2012.

GKIDS is also planning limited releases of select Studio Ghibli titles, many of which have never been released theatrically in the US, beginning late 2012.

Eric Beckman, GKIDS president, said, “I am both excited and deeply honored to be working with Studio Ghibli to bring this amazing slate of films to theaters. Nausicaä, Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro are among my favorite movies of all time – and they played an important early role in my decision to launch GKIDS. I am in continual awe of the brilliance and artistry of the animation, the depth and humanity of the storytelling, and of the filmmakers’ understanding that even the youngest audiences are capable of appreciating all the subtlety and nuance that cinema has to offer. As Miyazaki has said ‘Children understand the complexity and uncertainty of things almost with their skin. They cannot be underestimated.’ ”

The list of films includes

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Hayao Miyazaki, (Isao Takahata)
Original story and screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki

Castle in the Sky
Hayao Miyazaki, (Isao Takahata)
Original story and screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki

My Neighbor Totoro
Hayao Miyazaki, (Toru Hara)
Original story and screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki

Kiki’s Delivery Service
Hayao Miyazaki, (Hayao Miyazaki)
Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki based on the novel by Eiko Kadono

Only Yesterday
Isao Takahata, (Toshio Suzuki)
Screenplay by Isao Takahata based on the manga by Hotaru Okamoto and Yuko Tone

Porco Rosso
Hayao Miyazaki, (Toshio Suzuki)
Original story and screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki

The Ocean Waves
Tomomi Mochizuki, (Nozomu Takahashi)
Screenplay by Kaori Nakamura based on the original story by Saeko Himuro

Pom Poko
Isao Takahata, (Toshio Suzuki)
Original story and screenplay by Isao Takahata

Whisper of the Heart
Yoshifumi Kondo, (Toshio Suzuki)
Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki based on the manga by Aoi Hiiragi

Princess Mononoke
Hayao Miyazaki, (Toshio Suzuki)
Original story and screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki

My Neighbors the Yamadas
Isao Takahata, (Toshio Suzuki)
Screenplay by Isao Takahata based on the manga by Hisaichi Ishii

Spirited Away
Hayao Miyazaki, (Toshio Suzuki)
Original story and screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki

The Cat Returns
Hiroyuki Morita, (Toshio Suzuki)
Based on the manga by Aoi Hiiragi

GKIDS is a distributor of award-winning animation for both adult and family audiences. Theatrical releases include Tomm Moore’s Oscar nominated The Secret of Kells, Michel Ocelot’s acclaimed Azur & Asmar, European Film Award Best Animated Feature winner Mia and the Migoo, Nina Paley’s multiple-award-winning Sita Sings the Blues, and Japan Academy Prize winner Summer Wars by Mamoru Hosoda. Upcoming GKIDS releases include 2011 Berlin official selection A Cat in Paris and Annecy winner Eleanor’s Secret. GKIDS is also producer of New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival, North America’s largest festival of film for children and teens. NYICFF is an Oscar-qualifying event and jury members include Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon, Gus van Sant, Matthew Modine, James Schamus, Michel Ocelot, and Christine Vachon



Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 8, 2011, 8:43 p.m. CST

    this could be good news ....

    by Beniffer

    Always wanted these in theatre ... never really got a chance too .. most of them never made it to Canuckland .... yip yee haw!

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 9:29 p.m. CST


    by blackwood

    Because I want Blu MONONOKE and Blu SPIRITED AWAY. Very much. I already have NAUSSICA. Disney did it up a treat.

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 10:44 p.m. CST

    Yes, we need the remaining Ghibli titles on Blu

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Nausicaa and Ponyo both look SPECTACULAR in high def.

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Fuck yes. A Ghibli retrospective?

    by Rhuragh

    I need to talk to some people at the Siskel Film Center...

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 12:50 a.m. CST


    by quentintarantado

    I thought Disney had distribution right to Ghibli films in the US? Where's Howl's Moving Castle? Puzzling deal.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Will get Only Yesterday...

    by Johnno

    Have most of them on DVD already, and the only ones I'd be interested in getting upgraded on blu-ray are Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. I feel the more recent animated titles are worth paying for on blu-ray due to their visual quality.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 4:49 a.m. CST

    Uh, okay. What about Blu-Ray?

    by Mattman

    DVD news might have excited me 10 years ago.