Disney altered parts of Kiki’s Delivery Service without permission from Studio Ghibli, according to former executive Steve Alpert.
Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli has produced numerous acclaimed films, including Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro. However, that level of praise didn’t stop American distributor Disney from implementing significant changes to the English translations of several Ghibli titles without the Japanese animation studio’s permission.
Steve Alpert, a Studio Ghibli international executive from 1996-2011, explained in an interview with Cartoon Brew how Disney went back on its contract with Ghibli by altering the studio’s movies. This included implementing extensive changes to the 1989 film Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Alpert noted that Disney’s changes to Kiki’s Delivery Service included added music, sound effects and dialogue. When he discovered this, he brought it to the attention of a Disney executive and gave the producer “the kind of verbal lashing that makes grown men cry.”
Kiki’s Delivery Service centers on a 13-year-old witch named Kiki who moves to a seaside town with her talking cat Jiji. While training to be a witch, she starts up a courier service and becomes a helpful addition to her new home. However, problems arise once Kiki suddenly begins to lose her magical powers.