ANNECY, FRANCE -- New York-based indie animation distributor GKids has acquired North American rights to From Up On Poppy Hill, the latest release from Japan's Studio Ghibli.
According to a report by Daily Variety , GKids President Eric Beckman announced at the Annecy Animation Film Festival that GKids will release the film next March, with plans to qualify the film for the 2013 Academy Awards before then.
Poppy Hill builds on a September deal that gave GKids North American rights to 13 Studio Ghibli library titles. The retrospective has been touring major North American markets throughout 2012.
Studio Ghibli is producing an English-language version of the film, and Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are co-executive producing the English version. Hayao Miyazaki (Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away) wrote the screenplay, with his son, Goro Miyazaki, directing.
Set in 1963 Yokohama, Poppy Hill features a pair of high school students battling the demolition of a historic building as they deal with their own families' past secrets. Poppy Hill was the highest-grossing Japanese film of 2011, bringing in over $56 million.
The deal is GKids' first release of a first-run Studio Ghibli film. Disney has been Ghibli's longterm U.S. distributor.
It follows a spate of toon acquisitions by GKids, including Chico & Rita and A Cat in Paris, both of which received best animated feature Oscar nominations this year.