Hosoda Mamoru’s Belle, the most awaited animated feature, was picked up by Gkids for its release in North America.
Hosoda is a well-established director who holds Academy Award and Golden Globes award nominations for his previous film Mirai. He also won the Annie Award for Best Feature Animation.
The story follows Suzu, a 17-year-old high school student living in a rural village with her father. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself until one day she enters “U,” a virtual world of 5 billion members on the Internet. There, she is not Suzu anymore but Belle, a world-famous singer. She soon meets with a mysterious creature and they embark on a journey of adventures, challenges and love in their quest to become who they truly are.
The creative team of the film includes top Japanese and international artists like Jin Kim (Frozen, Tangled, Big Hero 6, Moana) who is doing the character design and created the look of Belle, the concept artist Eric Wong, as well as Oscar-nominated Wolfwalkers directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart of Cartoon Saloon (Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells).
Belle will premiere in Japan on 16 July; Gkids will release it theatrically in both its original Japanese language and a new English dubbed version.
The deal for North America was negotiated by founder and CEO of GKIDS Eric Beckman, and Carole Baraton of Charades, on behalf of Studio Chizu.