Your memories of anime theatrical release?

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Fireminer
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Your memories of anime theatrical release?

Post by Fireminer »

When was the first time you came to a theater to watch an anime movie? Do you remember how big the audience was, and what was their reaction? Do you have any pet peeves about the way anime was shown in theaters at the time?

runesaint
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Re: Your memories of anime theatrical release?

Post by runesaint »

Actual theater? Hmmm... not at a convention but an actual movie theater? It would almost certainly be Mononoke-hime. It was a sold out theater, but actually theater sized, and we had to go a ways for a theater that showed it..
Off the top of my head, I would think that most anime I have seen in an actual movie theater would have to be Miyazaki. I am almost certain that we saw Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, and Ponyo on their american release days. Ghibli-fest has also been something we tried to see at least some of each year (family went to see Nausicaa almost a year ago today..)

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Re: Your memories of anime theatrical release?

Post by davemerrill »

I'm just going to say "Akira" during its first theatrical run in the US. The audience was excited, the theater was mostly full (Phipps Plaza in Atlanta, I believe they had four screens at the time) and apart from some nitpicking about the dub, the movie knocked everybody out, even those of us who'd seen it on bootleg VHS fan subs. I believe I wound up seeing Akira four or five times in different theaters, it became a regular fixture on the art-cinema circuit.

My university screened most of the subsequent Streamline theatrical releases and I saw pretty much everything that came to the theater. Fist Of The North Star, Castle Of Cagliostro, Silent Mobieus, Manie Manie/Labyrinth Tales. I can't remember who released Jin-roh but I saw that there as well. For some reason the university also screened a print of "Little Prince And The Eight Headed Dragon" on a Saturday morning, for an audience of myself and one mom and her two kids. Occasionally the UGA campus theater would screen Akira or Twilight of The Cockroaches and we'd road-trip out to Athens to see that.

There was a good crowd for opening night of Princess Mononoke at I think Garden Hills, next door to La Fonda Latina (Cuban Food) and Fellini's Pizza (owned by the guy that ran La Fonda) and Fantasyland Records, your home for R.E.M. bootlegs (one of the employees was a roadie for R.E.M.) Unfortunately the print didn't arrive and we all had to come back the next week, except for those in our party who'd come all the way from Rome GA.

Prior to Akira, anime features really didn't make it to American theaters. "Robotech The Movie" screened for about a week in Texas, and earlier New Line had some success with "Warriors Of The Wind" (1985) and "Galaxy Express" (1980), but those were exceptions. Before that, you'd have to go to 1974 and the Gisaburo Sugii "Jack And The Beanstalk" and the 1960s releases of things like "Gulliver's Travels Beyond The Moon," the aforementioned "Little Prince & The 8 Headed Dragon", and other features, that probably saw a lot of screen time in summer kiddie film festivals and drive-in double bills.

Man, I miss Fellini's Pizza.

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labsenpai
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Re: Your memories of anime theatrical release?

Post by labsenpai »

Miraculously, my second college roomie volunteered to drive to the Cleveland Cinematheque so I could catch a double feature of LAPUTA and AKIRA. While both films enthralled the full audience, the latter delivered some squeamish shocks to the average viewer. I can imagine the eyeball dynamite that the uninitiated experienced when UROTSUKIDOJI had its turn in the film festival. In retrospect that my lucky attendance was one of the "roads taken" to the otaku lifestyle.

Years later, I believe I saw the first TENCHI MUYO movie and ESCAFLOWNE film at convention related events.

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mbanu
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Re: Your memories of anime theatrical release?

Post by mbanu »

As a teen I worked for a theater, and there were a lot of closeted fans working there who would lust after Ghibli movie theatrical posters and 35mm film trailers. Like the other posters and trailers, these usually went to the management. (^_^;)

As an anime "middle-schooler" rather than an old-schooler, the novelty of anime had worn off but the modern popularity hadn't really gotten there yet, so my memories of non-Ghibli films were mostly, "Oh wow, an actual theatrical screening! I hope people show up, or they won't do it anymore..." Results were usually mixed; it was rare for the theater to be packed, but these were usually shown during off-days in off-seasons, so the threshold for "packed" was a lot lower.
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llj
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Re: Your memories of anime theatrical release?

Post by llj »

This one's a toughie. While I have dim memories of watching an anime in a rep theatre back in the late 80s, I couldn't really tell you for sure what anime it was. It may not even have been in Japanese or english, but some other language dubbed over it (either Cantonese or something else).

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Drew_Sutton
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Re: Your memories of anime theatrical release?

Post by Drew_Sutton »

The first anime I saw in a cinema was Princess Mononoke when it did some limited runs here (probably about the same time Dave saw it, though definitely a different theater). We went to The Tara, which is an art-house joint in North Atlanta and I remember it being an afternoon matinee. Myself and a couple of friends went; I don't know that there were too many more people in the cinema with us which was probably more indicative of us going on an off-hour than necessarily the popularity of the film. After that it was a while before I had/took a chance to watch another anime in the cinema, Sword of the Stranger in the late 2000s. That one was really different - packed house and tons of fun.

I've only done a handful since then and have probably missed/forgotten about the same number. I really like it but I'm not a cinema regular, so I have to try and remember to find the showings.
davemerrill wrote:There was a good crowd for opening night of Princess Mononoke at I think Garden Hills, next door to La Fonda Latina (Cuban Food) and Fellini's Pizza (owned by the guy that ran La Fonda) and Fantasyland Records, your home for R.E.M. bootlegs (one of the employees was a roadie for R.E.M.)
That's wild - that looks like it is/was Buckhead? I had to google Fantasyland and Garden Hills; there's a La Fonda across the street from a Fellini's in Poncey-Highland/O4W/"Midtown" and I wondered if I'd been missing another cool little cinema (like Plaza or Midtown Art Cinema) and record store in all the times I've been around that area. BTW yes, Fellini's is still delicious; maybe next time you're in town?
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davemerrill
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Re: Your memories of anime theatrical release?

Post by davemerrill »

I saw METROPOLIS at the Tara, which was kind of the go-to first-run art house theater for us for a while - that's where I saw AMADEUS and THE LAST EMPEROR and at least one Coen brothers film. I see the Tara is now a Regal Cinema. I guess the Lefont family got out of the theater business - they owned Garden Hills and Tara and the Screening Room, which was a teeny tiny theater in the old Lindberg Plaza shopping center, which has since been completely demolished. I saw LIGHT YEARS and ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL and WINGS OF HONNEAMISE and a bunch of other movies at the Screening Room.

There are several Fellini's and La Fonda Latinas in Atlanta - the one on Ponce might be their first location, it's certainly been there as long as I can remember. Usually when I'm in town for AWA I'll hit the Fellini's on Northside Drive, it's reasonably close to the Galleria. I see the Fellini's there on Peachtree is still open, but Fantasyland Records moved to a new location on Pharr Rd. in one of the new blocks they've put up in Buckhead. I keep meaning to drop in whenever I'm in town but I haven't managed to so far.

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Drew_Sutton
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Re: Your memories of anime theatrical release?

Post by Drew_Sutton »

Yep, knew about the multiple locations for La Fonda and Fellini's; when I think of Fellini's, I always think Decatur/North DeKalb or Poncey, so "as far west as Buckhead" surprises me :lol:. Anyway, this isn't the Atlanta Restaurant Guide.

With a lot of anime screenings being run through larger networks like Fathom Events (thus larger, non-art-house cinemas), I wonder if there is room/space or a market for more anime showings in art house cinemas? Like, more niche films? Would one need a very active film community and fan community? Something that would only have it's places in colleges and universities that have anime clubs (ignoring that anime clubs are a dying beast, too).

For a screening like Wings of Honneamise at The Screening Room, Dave, was there an independent group that partnered with them for the showing, or your anime club (Anime X?) or was it something that The Screening Room themselves pursued?
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DKop
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Re: Your memories of anime theatrical release?

Post by DKop »

I've kinda had the opposite in seeing anime in theaters to you guys, as in I saw whatever came out which is newer and ive gone back to see older films at a Regal in Greenville SC i'll drive up too to see whatever they got. I want to say my first anime film was Pokémon the Movie in middle school, and my brother and I put my mom through HELL because she thought it was stupid and we thought it was awesome. There were chances to see Cowboy Bebop the Movie at a local theater when I was in high school that I didn't know was there till later, which it's kinda like "oh well then." I lived near Raleigh NC at the time, and they still got their Alamo Drafthouse in North Raleigh (last one I went to was in New Braunfelds TX with my cousin and bro to see Last Skywalker, which we reeked of tobacco, but that's another story :lol: ).

It wasn't until 2017 with me getting over a breakup that I went and saw Castle of Cagliostro at the Regal Hollywood off I385 in Greenville. That movie looked fantastic on the big screen, and enjoyed the old Streamline dub. My only issue with that was the pan shots that made the film look like it was skipping (which is an aspect ratio issue) but it was nice to see. I've gone back since then with a buddy to see the Dragonball Super movies, that stupid Gundam NT Narrative film, and seeing all the master issues of the Char's Counterattack film. I wish the film was dubbed, but it was nice to look at the art when the picture wasn't so damn blurry in certain scenes (and that's the issue with the masters that RightStuf got I believe). I haven't bothered to look at the schedule there in a while, but at this point whats the...point, theres that darn CrononaVirus about that kinda put a monkey in the gears to go see movies.

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