San, from Princess Mononoke
Why Sailormoon Fans Should See "Princess Mononoke"

Dimension Films, a subsidiary of Miramax (a division of the Walt Disney Co.), will be releasing "Princess Mononoke" in United States theaters on Friday, October 29. The animated feature is considered to be one of the very best ever produced in Japan and a masterpiece by director Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli.

Disney, searching for new product, made an agreement with Yasuyoshi Tokuma (of Tokuma Shoten which owns 75% of Studio Ghibli) to release most of Studio Ghibli's features for the international Home Video market. Mr. Tokuma & Mr. Miyazaki sought guaranteed theatrical releases as well but settled for just one, "Princess Mononoke." Home Video is nice but like any animation studio, Ghibli wanted their films to be seen the way they were meant to be seen--on a theater screen.

Disney's leverage was this, that American audiences just don't go to see Japanese animation in theaters. Films like "Akira" maybe successful--but not successful enough for a company like Disney. Even if the "Pokemon" movie for Warner Bros. is hugely successful, companies like Disney (and even Warner Bros. itself) would be very hesitant to release "serious" anime features.

The limited release of "Princess Mononoke" is considered an experiment by Disney which all of the other studios are watching. If the release is successful more anime features might be released (dubbed and/or subtitled) in the English speaking world.

The anime industry has been very frustrated in it's attempts to enter the theatrical market outside of Japan. Talk to anyone in the business and they will tell you how much the success of this release means to them. It means (among other aspects) that their industry could continue to exist in the face of an uncertain yen. Overseas earnings are beginning to be seen as a way for the Japanese to protect their investments in an expected unstable domestic (Japanese) market.

The Tokuma Deal came with a price for Disney as well. Disney is not allowed to make any changes to any of the productions for Home Video or Theatrical release without the permission of Studio Ghibli. Disney is contractually obligated to recreate the Japanese elements in their English version. The contract is so specific that Disney must make a good will attempt to mix the dialog with the proper and different room echoes established in original versions.

Despite what you might read in the popular or anime press, some changes have been made in the English version of "Princess Mononoke." But we understand that these changes were made with Mr. Miyazaki's permission.

So for once, the stage is set. Anime fans have a golden opportunity. Here is one of the best anime features ever produced, being released in theaters in the United States, with as little censorship and alteration as possible, at a time when the other studios are taking a close look at theatrical anime.

We encourage every "Sailor Moon" fan to go see "Princess Mononoke."

As another example of how important this is, fans need to look no further than Pioneer's deal for the "Sailormoon" features. When we received word that the off-and-on again deal had finally been reached we were elated but were also admittedly disappointed that there was no planned theatrical release.

But if "Princess Mononoke" & "Pokemon" are released successfully--why couldn't "Sailormoon" be as well? We're already pretty sure that the contracts would be in a mess to allow a theatrical release but as one of our Industry Contacts relates, "What are you talking about? Contracts are renegotiated all the time! If there's money it's to everyone's interest." With the subtitled release so successful and with the dubbed versions expected to do even better--a theatrical release of just one of the features ("Sailor Moon R" anyone?) might be possible--if "Princess Mononoke" does well.

One other reason to go see it with your friends and family--you won't be disappointed. "Princess Mononoke" also happens to be a great film and we highly recommend it.

Playing At A Theater Near You?

After opening in 4 key cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago & Boston) the release is expected to expand to approximately 15 more cities with a few more to follow. Some of the theaters lined up are excellent (the Angelika in New York, the Embarcadero in San Francisco) while a few are just not in the right location (the Sunset in Los Angeles). We expect the Embarcadero & the Camera One (in San Jose) to do the best business! (Dick Cook--get out that checkbook!)

NEW YORK Oct 29 Angelika
LOS ANGELES Oct 29 Sunset, Monica - Santa Monica
CHICAGO Oct 29 McClurg Court
PHILADELPHIA Nov 5 Riverview
SF OAKLAND SAN JOSE Nov 5 Embarcadero, Camera One - San Jose
BOSTON Oct 29 Coolidge Corner
WASHINGTON Nov 5 Inner Circle
DETROIT Nov 5 Maple - Bloomfield Hill
HOUSTON Nov 5 Greenway
ATLANTA Nov 5 Garden Hills
CLEVELAND Nov 19 Cedar Lee
Nov 1 Lagoon
SEATTLE TACOMA Nov 5 Pacific Place
ST LOUIS Nov 5 Frontenac
PHOENIX Nov 5 Camel View
DENVER Nov 5 Mayan
SAN DIEGO Nov 5 Hillcrest
PORTLAND Nov 19 Koin

Studio Ghibli's Features

Information gathered from

YEARJapanese TitleEnglish Title
1984Kaze no Tani no NaushikaNausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
1986Tenkuu no Shiro RaputaLaputa: The Castle in the Sky
1988Hotaru no HakaGrave of the Fireflies
1988Tonari no TotoroMy Neighbor Totoro
1989Majou no TakkyubinKiki's Delivery Service
1991Omohide Poro PoroOnly Yesterday
1992Kurenai no ButaPorco Rosso / The Red Pig
1993Umi ga KikoeruOcean Waves / I Can Hear the Sea
1994Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pom PokoHeisei-era Raccoon War Pom Poko
1995Mimi wo SumasebaIf You Listen Closely / Whisper of the Heart
1997Mononoke HimePrincess Mononoke

Top 10 Reasons Why "Sailormoon" Fans Should Go See "Princess Mononoke"

  • 10. Boundless opportunities to correct naive theatergoers who say, "That's the best cartoon Disney's made all year!"

  • 9. Impress dates by being able to correctly pronounce the credits (let alone the title).

  • 8. Tension filled moments when you swear that San is about to meet a talking cat named Luna!

  • 7. Get to watch "Sailormoon" fanboys expecting to see naked girls without those distracting ribbons! (No, there's no nudity in this film.)

  • 6. Chance to hear Puff Daddy da Rappa speak English clearly!

  • 5. Educational filled sequences where you learn what a Forest Spirit considers a healthy diet! Yuum!

  • 4. Leonardo DiCaprio isn't in it!

  • 3. Clare Danes is!

  • 2. Chance to catch dub-bashing "purists" buying tickets. ("It's for a friend, I swear!!")

  • 1. Send that ******* mouse a message!

  • On The Web
    Bad Badtz Maru

    If you think we run a serious site it's obvious that you've never been to Team Ghiblink! We look like a newbie compared to them! They've taken a "fan" site to the highest level possible. Congratulations on their terrific site and accomplishments!

    Miramax's site is terrific--but wasn't always. In the past we would get a string of Javascript error messages--denying us entry. We kept on hitting "OK" like a drug crazed monkey (...oh wait, I'm a penguin aren't I?) until we were granted admittance. Today, it's much easier ...we think.

    Got that Japanese Browser and keyboard last Christmas? Here's your chance to use them! Visit Studio Ghibli's Homepage for the latest news on their studio and what they're up to today.

    Still not convinced to go see this picture? Well maybe you trust the fat one on "Siskel & Ebert"--you know the one who's still alive! Here's a review by Roger Ebert.

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