Disney Will Release Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises”

UPDATED (2:35PM ET) Disney announced this afternoon that they will handle North American theatrical distribution for Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises). They released few other details, and indicated that an official release date will be announced at a later time.

While Kaze Tachinu won’t be released in American theaters for a while, attendees of the Venice International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival will get an opportunity to experience the film much sooner.

Kaze Tachinu, which opened in Japan on July 20th, is based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a World War II designer of Zero fighters, including the Mitsubishi A6M Zero which was used by the imperial Japanese navy for kamikaze missions and during the Pearl Harbor bombing.

“My wife and staff would ask me, ‘Why make a story about a man who made weapons of war?” Miyazaki told Japan’s Cut magazine in 2011. “And I thought they were right. But one day, I heard that Horikoshi had once murmured, ‘All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful.’ And then I knew I’d found my subject… Horikoshi was the most gifted man of his time in Japan. He wasn’t thinking about weapons… Really all he desired was to make exquisite planes.”

According to the South China Morning Post, this choice of subject matter, which lead to some veiled jabs at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has put Miyazaki in the crosshairs of conservative nationalists. He has also found himself defending the film to South Koreans offended of his glorification of a man so closely connected to a Japanese military that used forced laborers from the Korean peninsula. And, the Japan Society for Tobacco Control, has taken issue with the depictions of smoking presented in the film, especially in a scene where the lead character smokes a cigarette while sitting with his wife, who is bedridden and suffering from tuberculosis.

Despite the controversy (or perhaps because of it), Kaze Tachinu was Japan’s biggest opening of the year at ¥960M ($9M US) in its first two days, and has stayed at number for four consecutive weekends with a total box office gross of ¥7.2B ($74.1M US). Kaze Tachinu will screen in Venice from August 31-September 2, and at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 12 and 15. The film’s screening dates for the New York Film Festival haven’t been set yet.


  • jamal

    can’t wait to see this. currently trying to get tickets at tiff if not sold out.

  • jamal

    but looks like i’ll have to wait till september to get these tickets

  • Lorikeet

    Well, this is a bit of a surprise. Because of the film’s mature subject matter, I assumed that it would be snapped up by GKids rather than Disney. But, I think we can count on an eventual release either way!

    • http://animationanomaly.com/ Charles Kenny

      My thoughts exactly, but then they may have wanted to avoid the controversy that is sure to come from the usual sources.

      That said, I will be shocked if Disney gives it the widespread release it did for Ponyo.

    • bob

      the disney/ ghibli deal goes back quite a ways so it’s not that much of a surprise in that sense, but it is interesting that they’re putting, what seems to be, more effort into a theatrical release with advertised trailers etc…

  • z-k

    “…the Japan Society for Tobacco Control, has taken issue
    with the depictions of smoking presented in the film, especially in a
    scene where the lead character smokes a cigarette while sitting with his
    wife, who is bedridden and suffering from tuberculosis.”

    Offhand, given the character was oblivious that his “beautiful planes” would ultimately be used by the Imperial Navy for the purposes of war and conquest, it makes perfect sense.

    Shadows in every f*cking corner for some people.

    • AnthonyA

      *rolls eyes* It’s a period piece, of course there is smoking. Just because we don’t like something about the past is no reason that it shouldn’t be depicted as it actually was. From the trailer, this seems more ‘adult’ than many of the other Studio Ghibli films, so I would expect to see smoking in a work set in the 1930s, just as I expect to see it in the recently released “Gatsby”.

      • jmahon

        Pretending these things didn’t exist is as bad as being misleading about them. I don’t think people will be coerced into smoking after seeing a scene like this.

        I’m glad they are creating some media with this point of view, one rarely seen for fear of controversy. Besides, the controversy that IS there is flimsy at best. This movie will be beautiful and probably wind up being very touching and emotional, I can’t wait to see it.

  • z-k

    …He could have had an easier route, something that would have garnered him praise at home – Saburo Sakai’s story for instance. The fact that he didn’t says quite a bit.

  • Jim

    Wow, this is really great! I’m surprised that Disney is distributing such a non-fantastical film. This might be stretching, but maybe they’re testing out animated features with different subject matters now than strictly ‘animated comedy’; of course, without actually having to invest much into it in this case. Hope it does well.

  • Cheese

    And I thought GKids own all the rights in the U.S. for Studio Ghibli. Maybe Disney might reconsider, and buy them back.

    • D.Z.

      GKids has special arrangements with Ghibli and Disney for certain titles. That is all.

  • http://www.moviecappa.com/ Mike Caracappa

    Sounds wonderful. Now all we need is an American animation director to stir up that much controversy in a film. Then we’ll be in business.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      The story of a man whose job was to paint signs stating “No Colored Allowed”. There’s your movie right there! (yes, I probably went too far)

      • http://www.moviecappa.com/ Mike Caracappa

        If the story is good, I’m there. :)

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

    Excellent news! It’s somewhat surprising since Disney has always had trouble marketing Studio Ghibli’s films. Perhaps, they will release The Wind Rises under one of their other branches, like they did with Princess Mononoke. I’m still waiting for my copy of Only Yesterday though!

  • General Zhukov

    Leave it to the Japanese to make an animated biopic of an engineer in this day and age.

  • Tre

    I’m not gonna really bother getting excited by this yet. Takes longer to hit the UK, and even then, Vue Cinemas don’t play Ghibli films since they’re ‘niche’. Cause hell yeah, I’d rather see a Barbie film! ¬_¬

  • Mister Twister

    Definitely will watch.

  • D.Z.

    We still haven’t gotten Only Yesterday and Ocean Waves from Disney.

    • Keen Bean

      hopefully someday though

  • modernhorse

    What?! Not a very good “cartoon”? Okay, if you say so. It was also very popular in Japan with adults, being one of the top grossing films in Japan, so I think it brought in it’s fair share of adult fans as well.
    Princess M is one of my favorites, if not my favorite, animated films of all time. It’s themes are not typical cartoon-fare and unlike in the U.S. animation is respected as an expressive art form and not simply entertainment for kids. My hope is that Kaze Tachinu will get some respect here as well!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Well at least they still have that label (I suppose I miss the days of “Miramax” myself when they had a few noted titles under their belt).

  • TheGreatWormSpirit

    Disney doesn’t actually see a lot of money from these films since DVD sales go almost completely to Studio Ghibli. Lasseter is the only reason they picked this one up.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Great to hear! I look forward to seeing it!

  • Matt Sullivan

    It’s Miyazaki. It’ll be beautiful no matter what the subject is.

  • Oliver Zúñiga

    All Disney does is make sure Miyazaki’s films disappear in a sea of obscurity. this is not good news.

    • Gunny

      The fact that the films are “anime” is what makes them obscure, talk to anyone who knows about anime and they will know Miyazaki (or Ghibli … it’s an easier name to remember) But people who don’t watch anime for whatever reason wont have a clue.

  • Mikaela

    It’s funny, Jiro Horikoshi looks like a slightly younger version of the father from My Neighbor Totoro!

  • Funkybat

    I had thought the Disney/Ghibli distribution deal had been allowed to expire a couple of years back due to the box office not being what DIsney had hoped (never mind the DVD/Blu Ray sales.) I am glad this movie will get a (in all likelihood) wider release than “Poppy Hill” did, but I am worried that Disney go back to their recent practice of only releasing the English dubbed version.

    Personally, I find the English dubs distracting. When they released “Spirited Away”, they offered to theaters both the English and Japanese w/ English Subtitles versions. Later releases such as “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Ponyo” seemed to get no Japanese w/ English Subtitles release. That kind of ruined it for me and some of my friends, and after sitting through the English version of “Ponyo” I decided that I’d just wait for the DVD of they kept refusing to release the subtitled versions. There’s something more authentic about the delivery in the originals, and I like being given the choice as a customer. I was thrilled when GKids had both versions for “Poppy Hill” in theaters and made sure to go see it in theaters. C’mon Disney, at least give major media markets like NYC, LA and SF the choice.

  • Graeme Edgeler

    The long-awaited prequel to Victory Thru Air Power? How could Disney not release it :-)

  • Matthew Sample II

    Many of Miyazaki’s films tip the hat to Japan’s involvement in WWII. I believe the reason for his fascination with flying and with war/struggle for peace comes from his own family’s business. His father owned a company who supplied parts for the Japanese Air Force. Much of the Kaze Tachinu story may be more of a reflection of Katsuji Miyazaki’s life than of Jiro Horikoshi’s. I look forward to seeing this last Miyazaki film—his swan song.

  • Janice (juh-neece)

    “Exquisite planes.” Built to go one way. And assembled by colonized forced labor… But you know, how romantic.

    Where is Tottoro? I think we all need a hug.

    • Yuni

      Sorry I’m learning English as a second language, please understand me. I just tried to keep reading, but your clueless comment made me irritated. You said it “romantic”? Is the killing weapon seen as “romantic” to you? I don’t think you could say it’s ROMANTIC If your grandparents were conscripted into Japanese army and pushed to kill themselves as damaging the enemy or forced to assemble the planes, simply because they were the people of colony. The planes are Japan’s Zero fighter, which claimed innumerable lives of both Japanese and American. Even apart from this, the worse thing is that the truth is far from what Miyazaki has said. Actually, Zero fighter was custom-designed as fighter at the first place by Japanese navy, not devised from the real man Jiro’s dream of “Exquisite planes”. Jiro was the chief producer and said he could hardly align the navy’s commission with the technology at that time; the going-one-way fighter with no protection at all for its pilots came out from it. He had already knew what the planes were designed to be, and he had never rejected to the request. I’m a huge fan of Miyajaki as well, for me however, this movie is seen as a tool for beautifying and justifying Japan’s WWII aggression.

      • Janice (juh-neece)

        がんばって!I was being sarcastic – which is really hard to pick up when learning a second language. So I absolutely agree with you!

  • Kayla

    House Up On Poppy Hill didn’t have incest in it. If you watched the ending there were no relation..

  • Andrew Minturn

    I HOPE IT COMES TO A THEATER NEAR ME

  • http://twitter.com/coldmilk coldmilk

    Uh, are you sure we are talking about the same movie here? Princess Mononoke stands amount My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away as one of Miyazaki’s highest acclaimed films. Also it’s not a very good kids movie as people lose their head in and stuff.

    The content in it was so “extreme” (comparably to Disney’s brand) they released it as a PG-13 under the Miramax banner.

  • LiveALot

    Personally I believe Ghibli was bought out by Disney for the same reason Pixar was bought out by Disney, so Disney could control and suppress the competition. When I saw the later Miyazaki films I was reminded of what Disney used to be. Remember how visually gorgeous Pinocchio was? Now it’s all money making and mediocrity. Miyazaki’s films had that same lushness of artistry that Pinocchio once had. A big threat to formulaic Disney. Miyazaki is a Japanese national treasure and as such ought to be preserved by Japan. He’s too young to quit. Japan fund him and put him with a different studio and let him mentor other artists and produce the original films that Disney didn’t want to fund. For god’s sake don’t fall into that trap of the Ghibli museum. All they want to do is put you out of the way and out of competition. Japan has a unique talent that is admired by the world and it would be a shame to throw it away. The old boy has a few good years left. Don’t let them go to waste.

  • Cat Lutz

    i will not watch it if they let them do it. they have always done a poor job on english voices for his amazing films