More Miyazaki DVDs From Buena Vista7 Dec, 2004 By: Chris Tribbey
Spirited Away is still sitting pretty as one of the top-selling anime DVDs, according to Nielsen's VideoScan, though Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE) isn't expecting quite the same success when it releases another wave of Studio Ghibli titles in February 2005.
“Spirited Away had a theatrical release and won the Academy Award (2002, best animated feature),” said Lori MacPherson, VP of brand marketing for BVHE. “It's not something you'd expect to repeat.”
Still, when anime DVDs from director Hayao Miyazaki and his company are announced for the United States, it's hard for fans not to be excited. Very few anime titles reach so many people of so many ages outside the genre like Miyazaki's.
“Anime is a category growing so fast each year, and we call Miyazaki the Walt Disney of anime,” MacPherson said. “We're excited to be releasing his work.”
The excitement shows in Buena Vista's treatment of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso and The Cat Returns (prebook Dec. 28, $29.99 each DVD), with all three including a bonus features disc and star voice talent contributing to each English dub.
“When we released Princess Mononoke, [the voice talent] worked out great. The audiences responded well,” MacPherson said.
In Princess, it was Claire Danes and Billy Bob Thornton voicing characters. In Nausicaa, it will be Patrick Stewart and Uma Thurman; Michael Keaton and David Ogden Stiers are at work in Porco Rosso; and in The Cat Returns, Anne Hathaway and Tim Curry add their talents.
MacPherson said it wasn't difficult for Buena Vista to nab so many big names for the English tracks.
“There are a lot of A-list voice actors who really want to work on Miyazaki titles,” she said.
Each bonus disc includes storyboards, “Behind the Microphone” featurettes, original trailers, and more.
Three more Studio Ghibli titles will be released together late in 2005; the highly acclaimed My Neighbor Totoro, Only Yesterday and Pom Poko. Other titles from the studio licensed by Buena Vista include Howl's Moving Castle and Whisper of the Heart. However, they likely will not be released in 2005.