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2017-12-14

Spirited Away Academy Awards Screener

Spirited Away Academy Awards Screener

Ghibli fan Molly DeWolff asks about this impressive little piece of Studio Ghibli memorabilia:

Hi! 
I found an academy screener copy of Spirited Away at my local library book sale and wondered if you could tell me a little bit about it? After relatively thorough google searching, your tweet about the same copy back in June of this year (though the one I found is NOT sealed) is the closest I came to finding anything like it. Is a copy like this collectible or worth keeping? Can you tell me where I can find more information on it? 
Thanks! I appreciate your help.

I shared some photos of this VHS Spirited Away screener on my Twitter page earlier this year. I found it on Ebay, which means one lucky Miyazaki fan now has this prized item in their collection. I'm a little envious, and I'm wondering right now why I never tried to buy it when I had the chance.

Movie "screeners" are commonly used in Hollywood during the awards season. Free copies are distributed to voters and judges, usually along with a nice gift basket, press kit or other promotional items. It is the same as any home video release, only without the endless commercials and with minimal packaging. Also, as this was distributed at the end of 2002, the Disney producers released on videotape. It's crazy to imagine that people were still watching movies on VHS barely only 16 years ago.

Right now, as I'm writing this post, a local Chicago TV station is broadcasting Mel Brooks' 1968 comedy classic The Producers. They're playing an old videotape. You can really hear the tape hiss in the background, the details are smudgy, the colors are bleeding everywhere, and the picture is cropped...but it still looks pretty good. I'm having a fun time. Heck, at this point, I'd feel very tempted to pop in this Spirited Away VHS and make a big bowl of popcorn.

Anyway, if you ever find any screener VHS tapes, hold onto them. They'll be worth something someday. Maybe. Whatever. Sentimental value is priceless.

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