GKIDS Acquires Takahata’s ‘The Tale of The Princess Kaguya’ for U.S. Distribution

GKIDS announced today that they have entered into a distribution agreement with Studio Ghibli for the North American rights to The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, the new film by 78-year-old director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko).

GKIDS will take all of Kaguya’s theatrical, non-theatrical, home video and television rights in North America. Last year GKIDS distributed Ghibli’s From Up on Poppy Hill, which became the distributor’s first million-dollar grossing animated feature.

Studio Ghibli is producing an English-language vesrion of the film. Ghibli’s Geoffrey Wexler will produce, with Frank Marshall of Kennedy/Marshall exec producing. This is the same team that handled English versions for the two previous Studio Ghibli films, The Wind Rises and From Up on Poppy Hill.

Kaguya, which is based on the folktake “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,” has been a modest success in its home country of Japan, grossing $22.7 million to date (or less than a fifth of the box office gross of Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises). The film will be released in the U.S. this fall and will be submitted for Oscar qualification.


  • Excited!!

    Hate to sound like a broken record, but I’m really excited about this one. I’m glad now that we have someone willing to take on the films that Disney is not willing to risk.

    • daniel thomas

      To be fair, we cannot criticize Disney for passing on Takahata’s film, considering the drubbing they took at the box office for The Wind Rises. If they couldn’t earn $4 million on a Miyazaki movie, what chance is there for Paku-san?

      This is good news for GKids, who are gaining a reputation for localizing quality animation from around the world. We desperately need folks like them in our conglomerate-dominated media world. Bravo!

      • cetrata

        I guess disney thought the animation would be a tougher sell and the lack of miyazaki didn’t help.

      • Matt Norcross

        Elitist much? Disney and Pixar make good movies too you know.

        • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

          Don’t really see how that’s being elitist. He’s just being honest. It’s simply the way marketing works here in the US. It’s hard to sell an animated feature that’s not squarely aimed at a general audience. And just because a film is made for a general audience it doesn’t necessarily make it bad either.

          • Matt Norcross

            Most of Studio Ghibli’s movies are aimed at general audiences aren’t they?

          • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

            Most, but not all. Totoro and Kiki are (G Rated), but the likes of Grave of Fireflies or Princess Mononoke are made for older audiences (PG-13 Rated). Part of the reason that some of the films are harder to sell in the US also has to due with how deeply invested in Japanese culture they are. It’s hard to market things that audiences aren’t as familiar with.

  • Steven Bowser

    I’m so excited for this film. But this is one I would much rather watch in Japanese with English subtitles, because a film so rooted in Japanese history is probably better watched in that language. I think the same goes for The Wind Rises, but not as much. With this film I think watching it in Japanese would immerse me in the story better.

  • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

    Oh good, I was beginning to worry this wouldn’t get distributed in the US at all. Now can GKIDS give us a DVD release of Only Yesterday please?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I often think of GKIDS as the Janus Films of animation personally, though on the home video front, they don’t really have their equivalent of a Criterion Collection-type outfit to release these films domestically.

  • http://nokeric.com/ NokEric

    I love the artistic direction they took with this film. It’s sort of like a mix between, My Neighbors the Yamadas and the traditional style. I’m so glad this one gets distributed in the west, and I agree with Natalie, i’d like to see Only Yesterday come over here too. I can’t wait to see this beautiful film!