GKids, best known as the "Home of the New York Int'l Childrens Film Festival," has announced that they have acquired the North American distribution rights to 13 Studio Ghibli films. This deal covers theatrical rights, and Disney will continue to hold the home video rights. "Non-theatrical rights" are mentioned but unspecified.
As soon as I heard of this deal, the first movie that came to my mind, naturally, is Isao Takahata's 1991 masterpiece, Omohide Poro Poro. Will this movie be included in the distribution deal? Well...this is where things get interesting. According to GKids, 13 studio films, 1984-2002, are included in the deal. However, when you count up the movies from Nausicaa to The Cat Returns, you find...14 films. One movie is being left out of the deal. Which one? I don't yet know. I'll have to investigate, and lobby hard for all of Ghibli's work to be shown.
GKids has done an excellent job in distributing animated films from around the world. Such films include The Secret of Kells, Sita Sings the Blues, Summer Wars,Asmur and Asmar, A Cat in Paris, Mia and the Migoo, and Eleanor's Secret.
Variety has more details on this new deal:
Eric Beckman, GKids founder and prexy, told Variety that the distrib is "excited and deeply honored to be working with Studio Ghibli." Beckman said "Nausicaa," "Castle in the Sky," "Spirited Away" and "Totoro" are among his favorite movies, "and they played an early role in my decision to launch GKids.
GKids will kick off the distribution with 10- and 25-year anni screenings of "Spirited Away" and "Castle in the Sky" respectively at the New York Film Fest. New York's IFC Center will also feature a Studio Ghibli retrospective Dec. 16-Jan. 12, with additional retrospectives to be held in the U.S. and Canada during the first half of 2012. Finally, GKids is planning limited releases of select Ghibli pics, some of which have never before seen U.S. theatrical distribution, beginning in late 2012.