Walt Disney Studios has announced that it will be handling North American theatrical distribution of Studio Ghibli’s latest animated film, The Wind Rises, directed by toon legend Hayao Miyazaki. The film will be released under the studio’s Touchstone Pictures banner.
The film, based on an original manga by Miyazaki, blends WWII aircraft engineer Jiro Horikoshi and his biographer Tatsuo Hori to create the film’s hero, Jiro. The invented character is at the center of a tale of love, perseverance and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world.
The film has proven very strong during its Japanese release, The Hollywood Reporter notes it has marked its sixth weekend in the No. 1 box office slot and raking in another $3.25 million to bring its total past $80 million–beating Pixar’s Monsters University to the milestone in the country.
Disney has not announced an official release date for The Wind Rises as yet. Nor have they mentioned whether they will address the film’s cigarette scandal–tobacco watch dogs in Japan have bridled at the numerous scenes that show a character smoking, noting that even though the film centers on adult themes, Studio Ghibli’s audience includes a large chunk of kids. (i.e., will this be a repeat of the much-criticized E.T. flashlight fiasco?)
Disney has previously released several Ghibli films in North America, including The Secret World of Arrietty, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away, for which Disney provided English language script, direction and voice dub.