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Disney has released the theatrical poster for the American release of Legendary Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki‘s latest movie Ponyo (retitled for the domestic release). The film was released last July in Japan, and has since grossed over ¥15.0 billion ($153.1 million). Head on over to AICN to see the poster in high resolution. I love the bright blue color, and the logo looks like something branded by Pixar.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid, the film tells the story of a baby goldfish named Ponyo (voiced by Noah Cyrus) who desires to be a human, and gets her wish. She runs away from her home in the sea and befriends a five-year-old human boy named Sosuke (Frankie Jonas). Other cast members include Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin and Betty White. Ponyo will hit theaters on August 14th 2009.

I would hope that /Film readers have seen some of Miyazaki’s films, but for those of you who haven’t, here are the cliff notes: Miyazaki is the Japanese equivalent of Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg combined. His films aren’t just commercial successes but also internationally critically acclaimed.

Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke have won Picture of the Year at the Japan Academy Prize (basically the equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards). Spirited Away also holds the honor of being the only anime film to ever win an American Academy Award. If you haven’t seen any of his movies, I recommend that you run (not walk) to the store right now and buy (not rent) Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Tororo and Howl’s Moving Castle.

I’ve embedded the Japanese trailer for Ponya below.

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