Gkids has acquired North American distribution rights to Belle, the latest animated film from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda and Japan’s Studio Chizu. A winter theatrical release is in the works for the pic, which represents a re-team of the distributor, Hosoda and Studio Chizo after 2018’s Mirai, which scored an Oscar nomination.
Hosoda, whose credits also include The Boy and the Beast, Wolf Children, Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time wrote and directed Belle. It centers on Suzu, a 17-year-old high school student living in a rural village with her father. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself until one day she enters “U,” a virtual world of 5 billion members on the Internet. There, she is not Suzu anymore but Belle, a world-famous singer. She soon meets with a mysterious creature and they embark on a journey of adventures, challenges and love in their quest to become who they truly are.
Here’s a teaser:
The pic is set to release in Japan this week. Gkids will release it theatrically in both its original Japanese language and a new English dubbed version. Casting for that is still to be announced.
Hosoda and Studio Chizu co-founder Yuichiro Saito are producers.
“Belle expands on the threads and themes of [Hosoda’s] previous works in an epic tour-de-force that is visually stunning, emotionally stirring, and deeply profound,” said Gkids CEO and founder Eric Beckman. “Hosoda is a master at exploring humans’ relationship with technology in a changing world.
Beckman negotiated the rights deal with Carole Baraton of Charades on behalf of Studio Chizu.