Trivia / Princess Mononoke

  • Author Existence Failure: Princess Mononoke was the last film Yoshifumi Kondo worked on as an animator before his death from aortic dissection in 1998.
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, 2.1 billion Japanese Yen/$23.5 million. Box office, $2,298,191 (Eight weeks in the United States), $11 million (worldwide), 14,518,798,588.39 Japanese Yen/$148,000,000 (Japan), 14,487,325,138 Japanese Yen/$159,375,308. It was a great success in Japan and is a critically acclaimed film, but Miramax/Disney chose to screen it only in arthouse theaters such as the Landmark Theatres chain (which may have actually helped its reputation).
  • Casting Gag:
    • Akihiro Miwa is a male who voices the female Moro in the Japanese version. He also had a career as a female impersonator.
    • Gillian Anderson was famous for playing the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier of Agent Scully. So who does she voice in the English dub? A wolf spirit.
  • Celebrity Voice Actor:
    • The English dub of this film and all later Ghibli films featured well-known celebrities. Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Keith David, among others.
    • The original Japanese version is an interesting case: Princess Mononoke is the first Ghibli film that uses celebrities to provide the voice of the main characters of this film; since then, all of the Ghibli films used celebrities to voice the main characters. The only known professional with a named role in the movie is Sumi Shimamoto as Toki, Lady Eboshi's servant.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Moro is voiced by a man, in this case Akihiro Miwa, in the Japanese version. This comes from Japanese mythology which says that wolves are always male-voiced (and cats always female-voiced), regardless of sex.
  • Executive Meddling: Fortunately averted, as opposed to earlier efforts to adapt Miyazaki's films into English. Miramax (read: the Weinstein brothers) wanted to cut 20 minutes from the English release, which was explicitly forbidden by the Disney/Ghibli distribution agreement. When Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki found this out after a very successful screening for the New York Film Critics Circle, he allegedly sent the Miramax executives a katana with a note attached: "No cuts."
  • Extremely Lengthy Creation: Hayao Miyazaki took 16 years to fully develop the characters and plot of the film.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Disney's sale of Miramax was in the way of any possible re-release in America for several years. Miramax's rights lapsed at some point and Disney re-issued the film (officially re-printing the original DVD release from Buena Vista Home Entertainment re-badged in Disney's Ghibli package design and with almost every mention of Miramax removed) in 2012, with a Blu-ray release in 2014.
  • Last of Its Kind: This was Studio Ghibli's last cel-animated feature (the last feature to use cels in the world was Dougs First Movie), switching over to digital ink and paint shortly after once it became clear that painted cels were no longer cost-effective.
  • So My Kids Can Watch: Billy Bob Thornton explains on the DVD that this is part of the reason he took the part of Jigo. Unfortunately…
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The earliest concepts Miyazaki had that involved a Mononoke spirit was actually his re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.
    • Leonardo DiCaprio was considered to voice Ashitaka in the English dub. Possible Casting Gag since Claire Danes was the voice of San, which would have made this the second time they had been Star-Crossed Lovers.
    • Miyazaki intended for this film to be his last, but came out of retirement after conceiving the story for Spirited Away.
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