ANNECY— “Ghost in the Shell: the Movie,” a new feature adaptation of the hit manga comic book, has just closed major territory sales deals with France (Anime Ltd.), Italy (Dynit Srl) and Spain/Portugal (Selecta Vision).

Produced by I. G., “Ghost in the Shell: The Movie” world premieres simultaneously today Saturday June 20 at Annecy on the last day of the world biggest animation fest/mart, and in Japan, where it is distributed by Toho Company.
International sales are handled by publishing company Kodansha Ltd., who also informed Variety that it is in advanced talks to sell U.S., Germany and Asia country rights.

Manga book “Ghost in the Shell” is a reference work that rapidly became an keystone for cyberpunk sci-fiction universe. Shirow Masamune was the author of the original manga comic book that started off en endless saga of novels, TV skeins, vidgames and features.

Directed by Kazuchika Kise (“Ghost in the Shell Arise” feature collection) and Kazuyna Nomura (“Sengoku Basara Samurai Kings: The Last Party”), “Ghost in the Shell: The Movie” is a prequel to the original “Ghost in the Shell,” helmed in 1995 by Mamoru Oshii. Kise worked on the first –and now cult- movie “Ghost” as key animation supervisor. Tow Ubutaka penned the script.

The action of “Ghost in the Shell: The Movie” is set in 2029, after the end of the non-nuclear World War IV, when a country’s prime minister is assassinated. One of the collateral victims is a former manager of a full cyber prosthesis Motoko Kusanagi, a hacker in the film, who initiates an investigation.

As in the other iterations of saga, “Ghost in the Shell” recreates an action-packed universe combined with metaphysical ruminations about A.I., where technological crime fuses with thriller elements, told via an intrincate plot.

Eagerly awaited by genre followers worldwide, “’Ghost in the Shell’ has been revered by its fans as one of the most iconic, sci-fi franchises of all-time.

“’Ghost in the Shell: Arise’ gave fans the opportunity to dig into the origin stories of these characters they know and love so much,” said Yuko Ogawa, at Kodansha International Business Division.

“With 2015’s ‘Ghost in the Shell: The Movie,’ they are hoping this film will have an impact similar to the original film from over two decades ago. We’re expecting the new film to be a hit that leaves its mark on the sci-fi/action genre,” Ogawa concluded.

Hollywood is preparing its own version of “Ghost in the shell,” starring Scarlett Johansson, directed by Rupert Sanders and produced by DreamWorks and Paramount. It is scheduled for release in March 2017.

Haunted by “Ghost in the Shell,” the Wachowsky brothers informed their producer that they wanted to direct a live action makeover. The final result: “Matrix.”