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UltimateDisney.com > Studio Ghibli Films > Studio Ghibli March 2006 Wave

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINEE FOR BEST ANIMATED FEATURE 2005
From The Acclaimed Director of “Spirited Away”

(2002 Oscar®-Winning Best Animated Feature)

Walt Disney Home Entertainment Proudly Announces
The DVD Debut of Hayao Miyazaki’s


HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE

Fantastic Animated Journey Features an All-Star Voice Cast Including
Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, and Billy Crystal

_____________________________

MARCH 7, 2006 Debut Accompanied by Two
of the Best Animated Movies Ever Made

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO and WHISPER OF THE HEART

Read our Howl's Moving Castle DVD Review.

Read our My Neighbor Totoro DVD Review.

Read our Whisper of the Heart DVD Review.

BURBANK, Calif., – February 27, 2006 – Walt Disney Home Entertainment proudly announces the DVD release of Hayao Miyazaki’s 2005 Academy Award®-nominated (Best Animated Feature) Howl’s Moving Castle on March 7 in a fantastic 2-disc bonus-filled DVD. An international box office sensation and critically-acclaimed masterpiece from one of the world’s great storytellers, Howl’s Moving Castle follows Miyazaki’s fantastic adventure Spirited Away, an overwhelming favorite with audiences of all ages and winner of the 2002 “Best Animated Feature” Academy® Award. Accompanying the Howl’s Moving Castle DVD, Walt Disney Home Entertainment and Studio Ghibli proudly also announce the new release of two additional DVDs- My Neighbor Totoro, one of the most beautiful and heartwarming family stories ever, and Whisper Of The Heart, the story of two star-crossed teenage soul-mates who were born to be together.

Unforgettable tales of adventure and imagination, each of these three superb films feature a fantastic array of distinguished voice talent including Jean Simmons, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Blythe Danner and Billy Crystal ( Howl’s Moving Castle ), Dakota and Elle Fanning, Tim Daly, Pat Carrol and Lea Salonga ( My Neighbor Totoro), and Brittany Snow and Cary Elwes ( Whisper of the Heart). Pete Docter, the director of Pixar/Disney’s Monsters, Inc., directed the English voice cast of Howl’s Moving Castle with Disney’s Rick Dempsey. All three of these animated treasures on DVD feature both the English language voice cast and the original Japanese version. Each is available as a superb 2-disc DVD set for $29.99 (S.R.P.).


An Academy Award® Nominee for Best Animated Feature of 2005, Howl’s Moving Castle is the story of Sophie (voiced by Emily Mortimer), a diligent teenage girl working in her family’s hat shop, who finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome-but-mysterious wizard named Howl (voiced by Christian Bale). The innocent encounter engages the vain and conniving “Witch of the Waste” (voiced by screen legend Lauren Bacall), who transforms Sophie into a 90-year old woman (voiced by screen legend Jean Simmons). Sophie’s efforts to break the curse bring her to Howl’s magical moving castle, where she befriends Markl (voiced by Josh Hutcherson), Howl’s apprentice, and the hot-headed fire demon Calcifer (voiced by Billy Crystal). Her love and support have a major impact on Howl, who can be maddeningly self-indulgent and singularly noble as he defies royal orders to participate in a meaningless war and risks his life to protect Sophie.

Accompanying the Howl’s Moving Castle feature debut on DVD, the release includes an exciting array of bonus materials, including:

“BEHIND THE MICROPHONE” WITH VOICE TALENT FROM THE FILM – an exciting glimpse at many of the film’s recording sessions, featuring Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall and Billy Crystal at work creating the English Language voices.

INTERVIEW WITH PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS DIRECTOR, PETE DOCTER - Pixar Animation Studios’ Pete Docter (director of “Monsters, Inc.”) directed the English-language vocal talent (with Disney’s Rick Dempsey) for Howl’s Moving Castle. In this fascinating feature, Docter explains his approach to directing the English script, his enthusiasm for Hayao Miyazaki’s latest masterpiece, and more.

HAYAO MIYAZAKI VISITS PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS (“Hello Mr. Lasseter”) – Pixar Animation Studios’ Executive Vice President of Creative, John Lasseter (director of “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2” and the upcoming “Cars”), serves as Executive Producer of the English-language production of Howl’s Moving Castle. In this exciting featurette, Lasseter explains why he believes Miyazaki is one of the world’s great storytellers, and why many of Miyazaki’s films are among his favorites.

COMPLETE STORYBOARDS – The entire feature is shown in storyboard form, allowing audiences to see the movie’s original concept.

ORIGINAL JAPANESE THEATRICAL TRAILERS

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, a journey beyond imagination, features Christian Bale (“Batman Begins”), Billy Crystal (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Analyze This”), Blythe Danner (“Meet The Parents”), Emily Mortimer (“Lovely & Amazing”), Josh Hutcherson (“The Polar Express”) and screen legends Jean Simmons (“How To Make An American Quilt,” “Elmer Gantry,” “Spartacus”) and Lauren Bacall (“The Mirror Has Two Faces,” “Dogville”).

Howl’s Moving Castle is from the novel by Diana Wynne Jones. Music by Joe Hisaishi. Screenplay and Japanese film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Overseeing the production of the English language version of the film for Walt Disney Pictures were two of the leading experts in the field of voice recording and dubbing – Disney Character Voices veterans Rick Dempsey and Ned Lott. Cindy Hewitt & Donald Hewitt, whose credits include screenplay English language adaptations of Spirited Away and numerous other Studio Ghibli films, wrote the English language screenplay adaptation for Howl’s Moving Castle.

Rated: “PG” For Frightening Images And Brief Mild Language
Bonus materials not rated.
Feature running time: Approximately 119 minutes
DVD aspect ratio: Widescreen
DVD Sound: Dolby® Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Languages: Original Japanese audio, English audio, French audio, English subtitles
© 2004 Nibariki • GNDDDT © Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.


Buy Howl's Moving Castle (2-Disc Set) on DVD from Amazon.com
.

Read our Howl's Moving Castle DVD Review.


Lauded as “one of the most beloved of all family films” by critic Roger Ebert, My Neighbor Totoro features an all-new English-language vocal track, including the fantastic voice talents of Dakota Fanning (“Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch,” “Dreamer,” “War of The Worlds”) and sister Elle Fanning (“Because of Winn-Dixie”)– sisters in real life, voicing animated sisters Satsuki and Mei. Much to their delight, when Satsuki (Dakota Fanning) and her four-year-old sister Mei (Elle Fanning) move into a new home in the countryside, they discover that their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit called Totoro—who can be seen only through the eyes of a child. Totoro introduces them to extraordinary characters—including a cat that doubles as a bus—and takes them on an incredible journey. Lea Salonga (“Mulan”) and Timothy Daly (TV’s “Wings”) also have starring vocal roles. Screenplay and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

The fantastic new My Neighbor Totoro DVD also contains great bonus features, including:

“BEHIND THE MICROPHONE” – featuring access inside some of the recording sessions with talented young actors Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning.

COMPLETE STORYBOARDS – this insightful feature offers an insider’s look into the artistry and design of the film, through complete storyboards.

OPENING AND CLOSING ANIMATION (without credits)– extends the film’s fun and imagination by offering the whimsical opening and closing credit sequence animation, without words and symbols, so that audiences can enjoy them further.

ORIGINAL JAPANESE THEATRICAL TRAILER

Rated: “G” Bonus materials not rated.
Feature running time: Approximately 86 minutes
DVD aspect ratio: 1.85:1, enhanced for 16x9 televisions
DVD Sound: 2.0 Dolby® Stereo
Languages: Original Japanese audio, English audio, French audio, English subtitles
© 1988 Nibariki • G © Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.


Buy My Neighbor Totoro (2-Disc Set) on DVD from Amazon.com
.

Read our My Neighbor Totoro DVD Review.


The inspiring Whisper of the Heart also features all-new English-language vocal talent, including Brittany Snow, Courtney Thorne-Smith, David Gallagher and Cary Elwes. It is the story that challenges audiences to listen and follow their dreams -- a fantastic tale of friendship, discovery and adventure based on the original manga by Aoi Hiiragi and the Hayao Miyazaki screenplay. During summer vacation, a schoolgirl named Shizuku (Brittany Snow), who longs to discover her true talents, observes an ordinary-looking cat riding by himself on the train. Intrigued, she decides to follow him. This chance encounter leads her to the mysterious Seiji (David Gallagher), a boy who is determined to follow his dreams, and The Baron (Cary Elwes), a magical cat who helps her listen to the whispers in her heart. Soon, Shizuku’s exciting adventures carry her far beyond the boundaries of her imagination. Featuring extraordinary storytelling, enchanting animation and an all-star voice cast, this 2- Disc Set will inspire dreams and hearts of all ages.

The fantastic new Whisper of the Heart DVD also contains great bonus features, including:

Behind The Microphone - With voice talent including Brittany Snow, Courtney Thorne-Smith, David Gallagher and Cary Elwes

Complete Storyboards - A great look inside the film’s original vision and look at the film’s beautiful artistry

Original Japanese Theatrical Trailer

WHISPER OF THE HEART features Brittany Snow (“The Pacifier”) Courtney Thorne-Smith (TV’s “Ally McBeal”), David Gallagher (TV’s “7th Heaven”) and Cary Elwes (“Porco Rosso,” “The Cat Returns”). Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki. Directed by Yoshifumi Kondo.

Rated: “G” Bonus materials not rated.
Feature running time: Approximately 111 minutes
DVD aspect ratio: 1.85:1, enhanced for 16x9 televisions
DVD Sound: Dolby® Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Languages: Original Japanese audio, English audio,
English subtitles
© 1995 Aoi Hiiragi/Shueisha • Nibariki • GNH ©Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.


Buy Whisper of the Heart (2-Disc Set) on DVD from Amazon.com
.

Read our Whisper of the Heart DVD Review.


Internationally revered filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki has been named one of “the most influential people” by Time Magazine (April 2005) and is the first animation director to receive the Golden Lion Award for Career Achievement at the Venice Film Festival. Studio Ghibli, founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, is the premiere animation studio in Japan. Their films have become a beloved part of Japanese popular culture, in much the same way that Walt Disney’s work has been embraced by Americans. Cultivating a creative force of many talented directors, animators and storytellers under the revered brilliance of Miyazaki and Takahata, Studio Ghibli’s films are praised for their originality, dazzling animation and epic storytelling. Walt Disney Home Entertainment is proud to partner with Studio Ghibli to introduce these unique masterpieces to the North American audience.

Walt Disney Home Entertainment is distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc., a recognized industry leader. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. is the marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax, Dimension and Buena Vista videocassettes and DVDs.

STREET DATE: MARCH 7, 2006
Direct prebook: January 10, 2006
Distributor prebook: January 24, 2006
Suggested retail price: Each title: $29.99 (2-disc DVD)

Discuss these upcoming Disney DVDs on the UltimateDisney.com forum

Announcements for other Disney DVDs coming Early 2006:
Lady and the Tramp: Platinum Edition (February 28, 2006)
The Shaggy Dog and The Shaggy D.A. (March 7, 2006)
Bambi II (February 7, 2006)
"Goof Troop" and "Quack Pack": Volume 1 DVDs (February 14, 2006)
Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (April 11, 2006)
The Greatest Game Ever Played (April 11, 2006)

Related Reviews at UltimateDisney.com:
Howl's Moving Castle (2005 Film Review)
Spirited Away (2002)
Pom Poko (1994)
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
Porco Rosso (1992)
The Cat Returns (2002)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

### Full Upcoming Disney DVD Release Schedule ###
/// Complete Guide to Studio Ghibli Films on Disney DVD \\\

Walt Disney Home Entertainment is distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc., a recognized industry leader. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. is the marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax, Dimension and Buena Vista videocassettes and DVDs.

Posted December 23, 2005 / Updated March 21, 2006.