Miyazaki in Studio Ghibli Purchase

Acclaimed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service), is set to own a good chunk of the studio that has been releasing his hit animated films over the past couple of decades. Daily Variety reports that he is involved in a plan to purchase Studio Ghibli from financially troubled Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co.

Miyazaki hand banded with Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki and director Isao Takahata to establish a Tokyo-based independent company and are hoping to raise around $100 million to complete the transaction. The trio also hopes to secure rights to titles in Ghibli’s film catalog. Some of the money is expected to come from usual Ghibli investors such as Toho Co., Nippon Television Network and advertising company Dentsu.

Miyazaki’s latest animated film, Howl’s Moving Castle, has been a big moneymaker for Studio Ghibli, earning more than $100 million overseas since its release in Japan late last year. Disney plans to release the critically lauded pic in the U.S. in June of this year. To find out more about the project, go to www.howlthemovie.com.

Three earlier titles directed by Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli will be released on DVD on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso and The Cat Returns will be priced to own at $29.99 each.