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Feature Film

GKIDS Will Release ‘Mary And The Witch’s Flower’ In North America

GKIDS has acquired North American distribution rights to Mary and the Witch’s Flower, the inaugural feature from Studio Ponoc.

The film is directed by former Studio Ghibli director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty, When Marnie Was There) and produced by Studio Ponoc founder Yoshiaki Nishimura (The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, When Marnie Was There). GKIDS distributed Kaguya and Marnie in North America, both of which were nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature.

GKIDS plans to release Mary and the Witch’s Flower in North American theaters this winter. The film, based on the 1971 children’s book The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart, centers on a young girl named Mary who discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower opened in Japanese theaters last month. It launched in second place, and has gone on to gross a solid $13.9 million in its first three weeks of release, placing it among Japan’s top ten local releases of 2017 so far.

  • SisypheanPellinore

    I love the animation but I wish he’d break away from the Studio Ghibli look. When Hayao Miyazaki was told his work was similar to Osamu Tezuka’s, out of spite he reinvented his style into the one we know today. I hope Hiromasa Yonebayashi eventually does the same.

    • Marc Hendry

      What did Miyazaki do that was similar to Tezuka’s work? Panda Kopanda is probably the simplest design style he used, but I don’t think it’s too much like Tezuka

      • SisypheanPellinore

        Miyazaki talks about it in the collection Starting Point, article “I Parted Ways with Osamu Tezuka When I Saw the ‘Hand of God’ in Him”:

        “So when I was finally forced to admit that my drawings actually *did* look like Tezuka’s, I took out the sketches I had stored in the drawer of our dresser and burned them all. I burned them and resolved to start over from scratch, and in the belief that I needed to study the basics first, I went back to practicing drawing and draftsmanship. Yet it still wasn’t easy to rid myself of Tezuka’s influence.”

        He goes on to explain that he was able to shake off Tezuka by the time he entered Toei Animation in his early 20s. As far as I know, all of the early noticeable animation work that Tezuka did would be at Toei, so unfortunately I’m not aware of any examples besides taking Miyazaki at his own word.

        • Marc Hendry

          oh, ok, so it was way early. I’ve read that book, but forgot about that bit.

  • Marc Hendry

    This isn’t surprising, but it is good news!

  • Ghibli Fan

    Nice! I’m looking forward to seeing this. It’s quite fitting that Mary and the Witch’s Flower is being released by GKIDS, since they now own the distribution rights to most of the Ghibli films in North America.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    This looks good,reminiscent of both Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away. From what I recall,Disney nearly made a movie of The Little Broomstick in the 80s.

  • Cameron Ward

    i’m super excited and not surprised at all this happened. GKids’ relationship with Ghibli was going to have some benefits.

  • Mister Twister

    And… what is it about?

    • Inkan1969

      It’s about a little girl and a magic flower….

  • Alex Hartsell

    I knew this was going to happen, but it’s still good news and I hope the Academy Awards has it nominated for Best Animated Feature by looking in their hearts and audience. Also for Best Animated Feature 2017 I have:
    1. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
    2. Coco
    3. The Girl Without Hands (If it still has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes)
    4. The Lego Batman Movie
    5. Mary and the Witch’s Flower

    • Cameron Ward

      to me it’s this

      1. Coco
      2. The Breadwinner
      3. The Girl Without Hands
      4. The LEGO Batman Movie
      5. Mary and the Witch’s Flower

      • Alex Hartsell

        Good picks and for me I would hold on to The Breadwinner just in case I need to change my predictions and if that get’s more awards and famous audience attention than The Girl Without Hands. Who knows, we will have to see who makes it to the list for the nominations for Best Animated Feature this November. I just hope the new voters for Best Animated Feature would look into their hearts and brains to pick the right and best animated films of 2017.

        • Cameron Ward

          honestly, this is an amazing year for smaller releases.

          The Girl Without Hands, Loving Vincent, A Silent Voice, The Breadwinner, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, and Birdboy: The Forgotten Children.

          • Alex Hartsell

            Yes it is but I just hope this new voting system for Best Animated Feature for the Oscars will still chose foreign and independent animated films along with some American animated films, cause there is not a lot of good American animation in today’s world of USA.