Belle, the latest feature from Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda, will come out in North America courtesy of GKIDS. The distributor is planning a winter theatrical release, in both subbed and dubbed versions.
Due to come out in Japan on July 16, Belle tells the story of a teenage girl who joins the vast virtual world of U, where she assumes the identity of a pop star. It is produced by Tokyo-based Studio Chizu. The all-star creative team includes veteran Disney character designer Jin Kim and Wolfwalkers directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart.
GKIDS has released the following trailer:
The acquisition isn’t a big surprise: GKIDS also distributed Hosoda’s previous feature Mirai, which went on to earn an Academy Award nomination. A winter release would position Belle for an Oscar run next year. GKIDS has scored 12 Oscar nominations for best animated feature, most recently this year for Wolfwalkers, which it distributed in partnership with Apple TV+.
The Belle deal was negotiated between GKIDS and Charades, which is handling sales in international markets (Nippon Television is selling the film in Asia).