GKids to release Miyazaki toons in U.S.

Studio Ghibli pact for distrib of 13 animated titles

GKids has struck a deal with Studio Ghibli to handle North American theatrical and non-theatrical distribution of the studio’s 13 animated titles, including Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Castle in the Sky” and “Spirited Away.”

Library of pics from the Japanese studio span 1984 to 2002 and will be distributed with both subtitled and English dubbed versions. Disney will retain homevid rights.

Though this will not be the first U.S. distribution for some of the animated pics, Ghibli’s pact with the toon distrib is a considerable step forward for helmer Miyazaki, whose “Totoro” was originally released in the U.S. during the ’90s by Troma.

Eric Beckman, GKids founder and prexy, told Variety that the distrib is “excited and deeply honored to be working with Studio Ghibli.” Beckman said “Nausicaa,” “Castle in the Sky,” “Spirited Away” and “Totoro” are among his favorite movies, “and they played an early role in my decision to launch GKids.”

GKids will kick off the distribution with 10- and 25-year anni screenings of “Spirited Away” and “Castle in the Sky” respectively at the New York Film Fest. New York’s IFC Center will also feature a Studio Ghibli retrospective Dec. 16-Jan. 12, with additional retrospectives to be held in the U.S. and Canada during the first half of 2012. Finally, GKids is planning limited releases of select Ghibli pics, some of which have never before seen U.S. theatrical distribution, beginning in late 2012.

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