New York, NY – GKIDS has entered into a distribution agreement with Japan’s Toho Co. for North American theatrical rights to the 1988 feature Grave of the Fireflies. Written and directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, the film is considered a masterpiece and a landmark in animation. Told in flashback, it is an emotionally powerful film about the devastation of Japan during the final months of World War II as seen through the eyes of two children.
Film critic Roger Ebert said, “Grave of the Fireflies is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation. It belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made.” The film is on Ebert’s Great Movies List, along with two other Studio Ghibli titles, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. Film review site Rotten Tomatoes rates Grave of the Fireflies 96 percent, and calls the film “one of Studio Ghibli's most profoundly beautiful, haunting works.”
Despite its subject matter, Grave of the Fireflies was originally released in Japan as a double feature with Studio Ghibli’s more child-friendly My Neighbor Totoro. GKIDS is planning a 25th anniversary release for the film in 2013 and will also include the film in their Studio Ghibli Retrospective, which is currently touring throughout North America.
GKIDS head, Eric Beckman said, “This deal finally reunites a great Isao Takahata masterwork with the rest of the Studio Ghibli films. It is a profoundly moving film and an essential part of the Ghibli legacy.”
The deal for Grave of the Fireflies follows on the September 2011 pact between GKIDS and Studio Ghibli for North American theatrical rights to 13 Studio Ghibli titles, including Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award® winning Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in The Sky, and Princess Mononoke. That deal has since been extended to include Howl’s Moving Castle.
In August 2012 GKIDS announced an agreement to release Studio Ghibli’s newest film, From Up on Poppy Hill, including theatrical, non-theatrical, home video and television rights. The film will be released on March 15, 2013, following a qualifying run this year for the upcoming Best Animated Feature Oscar and the Annie Awards. From Up on Poppy Hill was directed by Goro Miyazaki from a screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki and was the top-grossing Japanese film of 2011.