Disney Picks Up Ponyo for Aug. Release

Disney will release Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea on August 14, 2009. Retitled as Ponyo for its U.S. theatrical run, the English-language version features the voices of Cate Blanchett, Noah Cyrus, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Frankie Jonas, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin and Betty White. John Lasseter, Brad Lewis and Peter Sohn are listed as English voice talent directors, and Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Steve Alpert are billed as producers of version. Melissa Mathison (ET, The Black Stallion) wrote the English screenplay.

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea was Japan’s biggest box office hit in 2008, earning 15.50 billion yen (over US $172 million), more than double the second highest-grossing film, Boys Over Flowers Final. The feature also won the Top Tokyo Anime Award and the Japanese Academy Award for Best Animation of the year a well as the Future Film Digital Award at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

Exec produced by Miyazaki and Lasseter, Ponyo is inspired in part by Hans Christian Andersen’s popular fairy tale The Little Mermaid. The plotline centers on the friendship between a five-year-old boy (voiced by Frankie Jonas) and an overeager goldfish (Noah Cyrus) who dreams of becoming human.