Miyazaki tunes up new toon pic

Release is skedded for summer 2008

TOKYO — Hayao Miyazaki has started production on his latest as-yet-untitled toon, according to Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli.

Release is skedded for summer 2008 — four years after the bow of his last feature, 2004’s “Howl’s Moving Castle,” which grossed $170 million in Japan alone.

International sales company and local distrib have yet to be announced, though Toho has handled all of Miyazaki’s recent toons.

Studio Ghibli, which has produced every Miyazaki toon since 1985, is releasing only the odd tidbit about the new pic, such as the July excursion of Miyazaki and his main staff to scout locations in Kobe, a port on Japan’s Inland Sea, and Miyazaki’s use of watercolors for his storyboards — a departure from his B&W norm.

Miyazaki holds the Japanese B.O. record for his 2001 toon “Spirited Away,” which scored $258 million. Pic won the animated feature Oscar as well as a slew of other awards, including a Berlin Golden Bear.

In 2005, Miyazaki received a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival.

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