The Walt Disney Company, which holds the distribution rights to the films of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki but has never put much marketing effort behind them, is set to give Miyazaki's latest film, Ponyo , a first-rate push. While previous Miyazaki films have opened in limited release in only a handful of theaters, Ponyo will debut in more than 800 theaters. Reuters on Tuesday indicated that John Lasseter, Disney's chief creative officer, has been behind the latest effort on behalf of the Japanese animator, whose films are generally enormous hits overseas.Lasseter has hired Tina Fey, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett to provide some of the voices, while Frankie Jonas, the younger brother of the three Jonas Brothers, and Noah Cyrus, the sister of Miley Cyrus, provide the voices of the leading characters. The film employs hand-drawn animation, not the CGI kind that is associated with Pixar films. No matter, Lasseter told Reuters. "I've never, ever agreed that audiences are tired of watching hand-drawn animation, that they only want to watch computer animation. ... Because it's not the medium that makes a movie entertaining, it's what you do with it."

12/08/2009