On July 24th, 1985, Disney’s 25th animated feature, The Black Cauldron was released in theatres. Some “undead” scenes were cut from the film after the pre-screening, where children started crying and many people walked out of the theatre.
Studio Ghibli’s latest anime film When Marnie Was There directed by 41-year-old Hiromasa Yonebayashi opened in Japan with 461 screens on July 19 and earned a very disappointing 379,000,000 yen (about US$3,734,000) with 285,200 ticket sales in its first weekend. It took third place in the weekend box office following Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction in 1st and Maleficent in 2nd. The result was only 42% of his first feature film The Secret World of Arrietty, which made about 900,000,000 yen with 680,000 tickets in its opening weekend on July 17-18, 2010, in 447 screens.
For the past couple of weeks, it has been strongly rumored that Toshio Suzuki, Ghibli’s producer and co-founder, is now seriously considering the closure of the anime production division of the internationally acclaimed studio, after the retirement of his long-time colleague Hayao Miyazaki. In the latest episode of his “Ghibli Asemamire” podcast posted on June 27 before the release of the film, he actually said that the future of Ghibli depended on the results (both box office and critics) of When Marnie Was There.
Women In Animation, the professional, non-profit organization for women involved in all aspects of the animation industry, has announced the launch of a professional mentoring program. Designed to empower, educate and support mentees by increasing their industry knowledge and access to information through relationships with experienced animation talent, the WIA mentoring program is open to WIA members in the greater Los Angeles area for its initial run.
The WIA mentoring pilot program is scheduled to run for six months, from October 2014 through March 2015. Based on the outcome of the pilot program, WIA hopes to expand the program to offer mentorships in an ongoing basis in Los Angeles as well as within other participating WIA chapters around the world.
The actions of scummy venture capitalist John Textor, the disgraced former CEO of Digital Domain, are finally under investigation by the state of Florida. Textor, as you may recall from our coverage a few years back, was the ringleader of a fiasco that ruined hundreds of lives, scammed Florida citizens out of $130 million dollars, and tried to force animation students into illegal labor arrangements.
This summer, there’s a new Studio Ghibli movie. According to one reported insider, it could be Ghibli’s last.
The purported insider told Japanese site News Cafe that Ghibli’s latest release, When Marnie Was There, “seems like it will be the last [from Studio Ghibli].” The article appeared on Rakuten, one of Japan’s largest web portals. That being said, this is an unconfirmed rumor.
As the insider explained, there was scuttlebutt of the studio’s dissolution last year after Miyazaki retired once completing The Wind Rises. Then, this past spring, longtime Ghibli producer and studio co-founder Toshio Suzuki also stepped down from producing films. He is now Ghibli’s general manager.
Apes continued to rule at the box office, while DisneyToon Studios’ animated sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue opened in third place.
Fox’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes sold an estimated $36 million in tickets in the domestic market, bringing its total to $138 million. The movie has earned $101 million overseas for a total of $240 million worldwide in two weekends of release.
Planes: Fire & Rescue’s $18 million opening was down slightly from last year’s $22 million opening last year on Aug. 9 for the first Planes feature. The sequel also earned $9 million abroad for a $27 million worldwide total.