BOMBSHELL: GKids Acquires Theatrical Rights to Studio Ghibli Catalog

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.


I Make Comments said...

Thrilling news. I really hope Only Yesterday finally gets a good English dub. Redubbing Grave of the Fireflies might also be a good idea. I really hold contempt towards Disney. This is great.

Jay said...

So, will do English dubs as well? And if so, would Disney use the same dubs for their DVD/Blu-ray releases?

Gnickerson said...

@ I Make Comments

"Grave of the Fireflies" is the film from 1984 - 2002 that is not included in the 13 films.

Fortunately, "Only Yesterday" is.

Jeroen said...

Check .

It says Grave of the Fireflies is left out of the deal due to rights issues.

Clara Harrison said...

Here is the official press release. It includes both "Only Yesterday" and "Ocean Waves", which is rather interesting...

The Animation Cynic said...

A small correction here: it's "Azur and Asmar" not "Asmur and Asmar." Please excuse the nitpick; it's one of my favorite films!

I was both shocked and happy to hear this news. Ghibli's films couldn't possibly be in better hands. I'm very curious to know which film was left out of the deal, but having Miyazaki's earlier films shown in theaters is such an awesome prospect that I would forgive GKIDS if they left one film out.

This seriously makes me wonder if GKIDS will eventually acquire the rights to show the Ghibli shorts in the US. Their festival is known for its eclectic selection of animated shorts, so I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Gnickerson said...

For those that don't know, "Grave of the Fireflies" was never in the possession of Disney.

Disney made a deal with the production company Tokuma Shoten to acquire the Ghibli film rights back in 1996, which included current and future films. However, not included was Grave of the Fireflies, which instead had been produced by the company Shinchosha. This is why GotF had its DVD release done by Central Park Media (until they went bankrupt) and then ADV (who then sold off all their assets) and has now ended up with their successor in Section23 Films.

Hayley Harrison said...

I'm a little confused by what they mean by "theatrical rights." Does this mean they can distribute (as in DVDs/BDs), or that they can broadcast (TV), or screen (film festival/theater), or all of them?

And what's happened to the Disney deal?

Anonymous said...

Crunchyroll reports that GKIDS has scheduled the first dates for the Studio Ghibli Film Retrospective. The first dates are from Friday 16 December 2011 through Thursday 12 January 2012 at the IFC in New York City. The retrospective will then tour major US and Canadian markets during the first half of 2012.

With the exception of "Grave of the Fireflies" all theatrical titles from 1984 (Nausicaa) through 2008 (Ponyo) will be shown at the IFC. In addition, LACMA in Los Angeles will be showing brand new 35mm prints of "Castle in the Sky" (25th anniversary) and "Spirited Away" (10th anniversary) on Saturday 26 November 2011.

Links (may have to manually unwrap):

It's events like this that make me so happy to soon be moving back to SoCal!

Jaa ne,

Paul (Eishagishi)

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