Gkids has acquired the North American distribution rights and scheduled a winter release for the Japanese animated film “Mary and the Witch’s Flower,” the inaugural feature from Studio Ponoc.
The film is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and is produced by Studio Ponoc founder Yoshiaki Nishimura. Yonebayashi’s “The Secret World of Arrietty” is the highest-grossing Studio Ghibli title in the United States. The deal was negotiated by Mike Runagall for Altitude Film Sales, and Eric Beckman for Gkids. Altitude began selling the film at the Berlin Film Festival in February.
“Mary and the Witch’s Flower” is based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s book, “The Little Broomstick,” and features a script by Riko Sakaguchi. The story centers on an ordinary young girl named Mary, who discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night. As she is whisked into a new world, she must stay true to herself.
Gkids films have totaled nine Oscar nominations in the best animated feature category. Those lauded releases were “The Secret of Kells” in 2010, “A Cat in Paris” and “Chico & Rita” in 2012, “Ernest & Celestine” in 2014, “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya” and “Song of the Sea” in 2015, “Boy and the World” and “When Marnie Was There” in 2016, and “My Life as a Zucchini” in 2017.
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“Mary and the Witch’s Flower” opened at the Japanese box office on July 8. Watch the Japanese trailer below.