Disney will open The Secret World of Arrietty on 1,200 screens this month, according to an article in Monday's Wall Street Journal. The article features an interview with John Lasseter, who shares his drive and determination to make Studio Ghibli a success in America.
Disney hopes to boost Studio Ghibli's box-office punch with the English-language release of "The Secret World of Arrietty."
Disney will open "Arrietty" on at least 1200 screens, in what will be its largest Ghibli release in the U.S. As comparison, "Ponyo" opened on about 900 screens, and "Spirited Away" opened on 750 screens.
"I just want to do everything I can to help make sure people can go see them because they're just magnificent films that are very different than any other animated films these days," [John] Lasseter said in an interview.
This WSJ piece is hidden behind Rupert Murdoch's Paid Firewall of Doom, proving once again that the dinosaurs of Old Media have no solution to the internet but to shut everything down. If I'm able to find more clips, I'll be happy to share them.
This is very big news, and a great surprise. I wasn't expecting Disney to support Arrietty so strongly. This is the widest theatrical release for an anime film in America. Heck, before Spirited Away and Ponyo, anime has never broken out of the art-house circuit. Let's see if this translates into robust business at the box office. Looking at Ghibli's schedule, I believe Arrietty will have the best chance for breaking wide open. Mary Norton's "The Borrowers" are a beloved and well-known property, the story is simply and easily presented, and the movie's animation is stunning.
If Studio Ghibli is going to have a hit in the States, it has to be now. Lasseter-San and Disney should be thanked for their support and efforts. Now give us the DVD and Blu-Ray films! More, more!
Update 2/8/12, 11:15pm: I found the article in Monday's paper. It's a very short article, and you didn't really miss anything. We already have the important part. Thank you, public library!