Report claims Studio Ghibli may stop making feature films

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AN UNCONFIRMED rumour claims that Studio Ghibli, the studio responsible for such iconic films as My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away, may be making their upcoming movie When Marnie Was There their final feature length movie.

An insider’s report told News Cafe that When Marnie Was There “seems like it will be the last [from Studio Ghibli]”.  The article appeared in Rakuten, one of Japan’s largest web portals. 

This news comes just a year after Miyazaki’s retirement and Toshio Suzuki (A Ghibli co-founder) stepping down as a producer to general manager.

Though the Studio won’t be making feature films if this is true, they have signed off for Goro Miyazaki to direct Studio Ghibli’s first animated TV series, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, which will be a co-production with Polygon Pictures and is set to debut this autumn. The insider also stated that the Studio will still exist to manage their copyrighting claims:
“From here on, it appears as though this won’t be a studio that makes new works, but instead, manages its copyrights.”

The reason for Ghibli’s film production to stop seems to be down to economic purposes. Asahi Shimbun had reported last year that while other animated studio were shipping productions to other countries as a cheaper means of production, Ghibli had hired more full-time employees in Japan, making costs even more expensive. It’s estimated that each film would have to generate at least 10 billion yen (£57 million/$91 million) to cover costs and make profit. Asahi had reported that The Wind Rises, with an estimated gross of 9.23 billion yen, just shy of the profit margin (it’s worth pointing out that this comes before international DVD release, so it should be expected to turn a profit). The largest setback for Ghibli is their latest release The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which has allegedly only made 5.1 billion yen.

“For the studio, it was a flop,” says the source to News Cafe. “There’s no choice but to dissolve the studio, because it’s unable to cross the high hurdle of announcing a new film on an annual basis.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Ghibli closing their film production; back in 2010, Hayao Miyazaki had previously mentioned this as a possibility.

“Suzuki-san is making a dissolution program for Ghibli,” Miyazaki told Cut Magazine (via Bleeding Cool and Nausicaa.net). “No joke, we talked about it the other day. For example, Ghibli should be able to continue with about five staff members as a copyright management company even if we smash the studio. So, Ghibli can say ‘We stop film production. Goodbye’. I do not have to be there.” (via Kotaku)

The Wind Rises is released on DVD in the UK September 29th. The Tale of Princess Kaguya is expected for international cinema release at the end of 2014 and When Marnie Was There hit Japanese theatres July 19th.

Source: Kotaku

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