In an odd new twist for the Studio Ghibli film library, Daily Variety is reporting that U.S. distributor GKids (The Secret of Kells) has acquired the U.S. theatrical and non-theatrical rights to thirteen Ghibli films – including Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away. Disney will retain the home video rights. Gkids is planning to distribute a series of Miyazaki film festivals to theatres nationwide.
Disney must have felt they no longer needed the theatrical rights. It’ll interesting to see how GKids will fare with these films – that company is certainly emerging as a leader in distributing worthy international animated features.