[media-credit name="Credit:Studio Ghibli" align="alignright" width="240"][/media-credit]In separate emails to each respective company, both Disney (through their Buena Vista Home Video Entertainment division) and Echo Bridge distribution, the former distributor for the defunct Miramax label have confirmed that the US license for Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke is no longer held by either company and has not been renewed, greatly reducing the chances of a domestic home video re-release.
Thank you for your interest in the Miramax product distributed by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment.
At this time we do not have the rights to the title you reference in your email.
EBHE Customer Service
The response from Disney.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding PRINCESS MONONOKE. This title is no longer a BVHE title.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Consumer Relations
US and Canada
The film was licensed and distributed by Miramax Entertainment in 1999 and given an extremely limited theatrical run, which prompted Disney executives to complain about its “poor” box office performance despite the limited run in arthouse theaters and larger markets.
The home video release was also not without controversy, as celebrated fantasy writer Neil Gaiman was hired to provide a Westernized English dub script that essentially removed the references to Japanese folklore at the cost of its fidelity to the overall narrative along with initial plans to release the film without the original Japanese track, which forced the delay of the home video release after outcry from fans.
Despite the initial hurdles. the film was a success on home video for Disney/Miramax as it was the best selling anime DVD in January of 2001 owing to the distributor’s massive retail presence. The current probability for the film to be rescued for a new release on DVD/Blu-Ray is low, even for a Miyazaki film as Miramax is dead, with core assets transferred to the successor Weinstein Bros. production company while Disney has shown no interest in renewing the license itself and Echo Bridge is considered a poor choice due to its often criticized treatment of home video releases.
[via Mania Anime/Manga]