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GKIDS, Fathom Unveil New Ghibli Screening Tour

Nine films from the acclaimed studio will screen at theaters across the United States. 

Nine classic anime features will be part of the Studio Ghibli Fest 2018, presented by GKIDS and Fathom Events.

DENVER -- After a successful series in 2017, GKIDS and Fathom Events continue their collaboration to bring a new line-up of Studio Ghibli films to U.S. cinemas in 2018.

Studio Ghibli Fest 2018 gives fans an opportunity to see nine of the studio’s revered animated masterpieces on cinema screens nationwide.

The 2018 series kicks off with the 10th anniversary of Ponyo, from Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, for three days only on March 25, 26 and 28. Studio Ghibli Fest 2018 continues with The Cat Returns, Porco Rosso, Pom Poko, Princess Mononoke, the 30thanniversary of Grave of the Fireflies, the 30th anniversary of My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky.

Tickets for Studio Ghibli Fest 2018 can be purchased online by visiting, or at participating theater box offices.

Moviegoers throughout the U.S. will be able to attend these events at more than 700 movie theaters. A complete list of theater locations will be available on the Fathom Events website. Weekday showings begin at 7 p.m. and Sunday showings begin at 12:55 p.m. (all local times).

“After an incredible Ghibli 2017 series and the popular Mary and The Witch’s Flower event earlier this year, we are pleased to be teaming up again with GKIDS to bring some of the world’s best animation to U.S. theatergoers,” said Ray Nutt, Fathom Events CEO. “This series provides a special opportunity for fans to experience these beloved titles together on the big screen.”

“We were overjoyed with the passionate response to last year’s festival,” said GKIDS CEO Eric Beckman. “The artistry, wonder, and excitement of Studio Ghibli is best experienced in movie theaters, and we are thrilled to be working together again with Fathom Events to bring these movies to fans nationwide.”

Here are the films, screening dates and synopses:

  • Ponyo (10th Anniversary) -- March 25, 26 and 28. When Sosuke, a young boy who lives on a clifftop overlooking the sea, rescues a stranded goldfish named Ponyo, he discovers more than he bargained for. Ponyo is a curious, energetic young creature who yearns to be human, but even as she causes chaos around the house, her father, a powerful sorcerer, schemes to return Ponyo to the sea. Miyazaki’s breathtaking, imaginative world is brought to life with an all-star cast, featuring the voices of Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Lily Tomlin and Liam Neeson.

  • The Cat Returns -- April 22, 23 and 25. Haru is walking home after a dreary day of school when she spies a cat with a small gift box in its mouth crossing a busy street, and she jumps in front of traffic to save the cat from an oncoming truck. To her amazement, the cat gets up on its hind legs, brushes itself off, and thanks her very politely. But things take an even stranger turn when later that night, the King of Cats shows up at her doorstep in a feline motorcade. He showers Haru with gifts, and decrees that she shall marry the prince and come live in the Kingdom of Cats.

  • Porco Rosso -- –May 20, 21 and 23. Porco Rosso is a world weary flying ace-turned-bounty-hunter, whose face has been transformed into that of a pig by a mysterious spell. When he infuriates a band of sky pirates with his heroics, the pirates hire Curtis, a hotshot American rival, to get rid of him. But with the help of the teenage girl Fio, an aspiring airplane designer, and sultry lounge singer named Gina, Porco takes to the skies for what may be his final high-flying showdown.

  • Pom Poko -- June 17, 18 and 20. From Academy Award-nominated director Isao Takahata comes an action-packed ecological fable about the clash between nature and human civilization. The tanuki (raccoon dogs) of Tama Hills find their fun-loving community under attack when their quiet woodlands are threatened by encroaching developers looking to create still more houses and shopping malls. Desperate to survive, the tanuki band together and learn the ancient art of transformation, shape-shifting into a comical variety of humans and spirits as they undertake a last-ditch plan to scare away the humans and save their home, in this deeply-affecting, funny and heartfelt look at what it means to live in the modern world.

  • Princess Mononoke -- July 22, 23 and 25. Inflicted with a deadly curse, the young warrior Ashitaka heads west in search of a cure. There, he stumbles into bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi, the proud people of Iron Town, and the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a young girl raised by wolves, who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home and the forest spirits and animal gods who live there. Featuring the voices of Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett Smith and Billy Bob Thornton.

  • Grave of the Fireflies (30th Anniversary) -- Aug. 12, 13 and 15. Directed by Academy Award-nominated Isao Takahata, Grave Of The Fireflies has been universally hailed as an artistic and emotional tour de force. As the Empire of the Sun crumbles upon itself and a rain of firebombs falls upon Japan, the final death march of a nation is echoed in millions of smaller tragedies. This is the story of Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, two children forced to fend for themselves in the aftermath of fires that swept entire cities from the face of the Earth. Their struggle is a tribute to the human spirit. Presented in its digitally remastered and restored format, Grave Of The Fireflies is one of the rare films that truly deserves to be called a masterpiece.
  • My Neighbor Totoro (30th Anniversary) -- Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and 3. When Satsuki and her sister Mei move with their father to a new home in the countryside, they find country life is not as simple as it seems. They soon discover that the house and nearby woods are full of strange and delightful creatures, including a gigantic but gentle forest spirit called Totoro, who can only be seen by children. Totoro and his friends introduce the girls to a series of adventures, including a ride aboard the extraordinary Cat Bus, in this all-ages animated masterpiece featuring the voices of Tim Daly, Lea Salonga, and real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, in a classic tale of magic and adventure for the whole family.

  • Spirited Away -- Oct. 28, 29 and 30. Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning masterpiece Spirited Away was the biggest box office hit of all time in Japan and helped redefine the possibilities of animation for American audiences and a generation of new filmmakers. Chihiro thinks she is on another boring trip with her parents. But when they stop at a village that is not all that it seems, her parents undergo a mysterious transformation, and Chihiro is whisked into a world of fantastic spirits, shape-shifting dragons and a witch who never wants to see her leave. She must call on the courage she never knew she had to free herself and return her family to the outside world. Combining Japanese mythology with Alice in Wonderland-type whimsy, Spirited Away cemented Miyazaki’s reputation as an icon of animation and storytelling.

  • Castle in the Sky -- Nov. 18, 19 and 20. Castle in the Sky is a timeless story of courage and friendship, with stunning animation from acclaimed Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki. This high-flying adventure begins when Pazu, an engineer’s apprentice, spies a young girl, Sheeta, floating down from the sky, held aloft by a glowing pendant. Both Sheeta and Pazu are searching for the legendary floating castle, Laputa, and they vow to travel there together to unravel the mystery of the luminous crystal. But their quest won’t be easy, as soon they are being pursued by greedy air pirates, the military, and secret government agents, who all seek the power Sheeta alone can control. The English-dubbed cast includes the vocal talents of Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman, Mark Hamill and  Mandy Patinkin.

Source: Fathom Events, GKIDS

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Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.