From Up on Poppy Hill Opens in Minneapolis
Update 4/1/13: In addition to the English-language version, a Japanese-language soundtrack should be included when Poppy Hill moves to the Lagoon Edina Theater on April 5. Thanks to GKids for sharing the news.
Goro Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli movie, From Up on Poppy Hill, arrives today at the Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis. It's working its way through the indie circuit, courtesy of GKids, the fine folks responsible for the Studio Ghibli Film Festival last year. It is also playing in select cities in the coming weeks. I honestly don't know if or when the Blu-Ray (already available in Japan) will ever see an American release, so this is your only chance to see this movie in 2013.
As far as box office performance, it's probably best not to think about it too much. This movie will barely make a million or two during its (very limited) theatrical run in the US, far less than the average Hollywood studio cartoon will make on any given showing. It's fairly clear that our best chance for seeing Studio Ghibli reach mainstream success in our country has passed. Ponyo was about as good as it gets, and it's all niche from there.
Don't let that discourage you. Millions of people mindlessly slog through another season of American Idol, while ignoring the Miles Davis records on your shelf. The fun stuff, the truly interesting stuff, that's hidden away, harder to reach, off the beaten path. It has always been thus. And part of the joy of discovery lies in seeking out these hidden gems.
If you're able to see Poppy Hill, I strongly encourage you to do so. I'm looking forward to seeing how far Goro-san has progressed from Earthsea, if he is closer to finding his own unique voice, for seeing the latest chapter in the Miyazaki Family Saga. Personally, my favorite Ghibli movies are Omohide Poro Poro and Mimi wo Sumaseba, so I have high expectations for this film. I still find it astonishing that naturalist, neo-realist animation does not exist in the West. Why is that, I wonder? And what would have to happen to change that equation? Right now, I'm pretty much out of answers.
I always tell people to run to the theaters anytime a Ghibli movie plays there. We won't know when, or if, we'll have another chance. Hayao Miyazaki's Kaze Tachinu and Isao Takahata's Kaguya Hime open in Japan this year, but there's little to no chance that Disney will pick up either title for distribution. These aren't Disney cartoons, and there are no toys to sell. So don't take anything for granted, kids. Get to the theaters and see this movie while ya still can. Mozel tov!