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Disney Will Not Release Miyazaki's New Film Spirited Away

Excited about seeing Hayao Miyazaki's new film SPIRITED AWAY? Don't hold your breath. Disney has no plans of releasing the film in the U.S. In an article, David Jessen, vice president of acquisitions at Disney's Buena Vista, said he has seen the film and that he likes it, but that other Disney executives have not. Disney currently has no official plans to release any more of Miyazaki's films in America, he said, adding "we are strategizing now worldwide." The reason for the move is the disappointing results of PRINCESS MONONOKE. For years, Miyazaki wouldn't allow his films to be released on video, after a U.S. firm drastically cut one in the 1980s. However, after Disney executives discovered "the Walt of Asia" and his work, they assured him that they would leave his films uncut and offered him a multi-million dollar deal to release his past films on video and MONONOKE in theaters. Before TITANIC was released in Japan, MONONOKE was the highest grossing film in Japanese history at US$150 million. However, the U.S. theatrical release only garnered $2 million. Therefore, even with SPIRITED AWAY on pace to surpass TITANIC, Disney doesn't want to get burnt twice. This isn't the first time Disney has shelved a Miyazaki film. The company had plans to release CASTLE IN THE SKY on video, but held off, even though the U.S. video release of Miyazaki's KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, in 1998, sold a respectable 1 million copies.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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