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GKIDS Licenses Mary and the Witch's Flower Film

posted on by Karen Ressler
Winter theatrical release planned for N. America

GKIDS announced on Tuesday that it has acquired the North American distribution rights to Studio Ponoc and Hiromasa Yonebayashi's Mary and The Witch's Flower (Mary to Majo no Hana) anime film and is planning a theatrical release this winter.

Oricon previously reported that an English-dubbed version of the film is already planned, and will feature "big-name actors." The film will open in 155 countries and territories worldwide.

U.K.-based company Altitude Film Sales announced in February that it has acquired the worldwide rights to the film. Altitude Film Entertainment will release the film in the U.K., and Madman Entertainment will release the film in Australia and New Zealand. The company shopped the film to other distributors at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.

The film opened in Japan on Saturday and sold 324,000 tickets to earn 428 million yen (about US$3.75 million) on 458 screens on Saturday and Sunday, ranking at #2 in the box office.

Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who directed Studio Ghibli's Arrietty and When Marnie Was There, directed Mary and The Witch's Flower, and also penned the script for the film alongside Riko Sakaguchi, who wrote the screenplay for Isao Takahata's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Takatsugu Muramatsu (When Marnie Was There) composed the music. Yoshiaki Nishimura is credited as producer. The staff page on the film's website further noted that many former staff from Studio Ghibli joined Ponoc in the film's production.

The film is based on Mary Stewart's book The Little Broomstick. Studio Ponoc scouted locations in Shropshire, U.K., the setting of the original novel. The film stars Hana Sugisaki (When Marnie Was There, live-action Blade of the Immortal) as Mary and Ryunosuke Kamiki (The Secret World of Arrietty's Sho, your name.'s Taki) as Peter.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter (Carolyn Giardina), Deadline (Dino-Ray Ramos)

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