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Disney releases Fleischer’s “Mr. Bug” – in Japan!

In 2009, we reported on the Ghibli Museum exhibit devoted to Max Fleischer’s Mr. Bug Goes To Town (1941). I believe this was somewhat tied into Studio Ghibli’s Arrietty (2010). Ghibli and Disney have since teamed to release Mr. Bug (aka Hoppity Goes To Town) on home video in Japan.

Brew reader Rick Nodal sent us this report about the DVD (and supplied the images in this post):

“Hoppity Goes to Town (Mr. Bug Goes to Town) was released on DVD (region 2) in Japan back in 2010 by Studio Ghibli through Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Japan. I just received the copy I purchased online and it’s fantastic. The audio & video quality is excellent, and although the disc defaults to Japanese subtitles when it begins, you can change the setting to “no subtitles.” I’ve attached a few screen shots/grabs including the end title Paramount logo.”

As Mr. Bug is still protected by copyright, does this mean Ghibli, Disney or Pony Canyon (their Japanese video distributor) sub-licensed the film from Paramount Pictures? If so, that’s very interesting! Disney presenting a Fleischer cartoon?!

Click thumbnails below to see larger images of the box (with Disney castle logo clearly visible, lower left on the label) and several frame grabs. According to Rick, this is a transfer of an NTA Technicolor print, with NTA’s reissue opening titles. This is a shame as the UCLA Film Archive recently restored the film from the original Paramount three-strip negatives. Hopefully we will see that version released soon – from Disney or anyone.

In the meantime you can order the Japanese Ghibli/Disney release from CDI Japan for $46.43 (U.S. $).