'The Boy And The Heron'

Source: San Sebastián film festival

‘The Boy And The Heron’

Front Row Filmed Entertainment has acquired Middle East and North Africa rights to The Boy And The Heron, by Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki, from sales agent Goodfellas.

The Dubai-based distributor will theatrically release the film in all key MENA territories from December 14 and will mark the first time a Miyazaki film has been released in Saudi Arabia, where cinemas re-opened in 2018.

The Studio Ghibli production opened in Japan on July 14, proving a major box office success with $53.8m to date despite virtually no marketing, and received its international premiere as opening film of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) earlier this month. It will also open the 71st San Sebastian International Film Festival on September 22.

The film follows the story of a young boy named Mahito yearning for his mother as he ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead.

It marks the first feature from Miyazaki in a decade, since The Wind Rises in 2013, and is also likely the last from the revered director of Spirited Away, Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle.

The hand-drawn animation is based on an original story written by Miyazaki and is produced by Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki, with a musical score from Miyazaki’s long-time collaborator Joe Hisaishi.

Pan-Arab distributor Front Row has represented the entire Studio Ghibli library in MENA territories for more than two decades. It has also pioneered the release of Japanese animation across the region, with the Studio Ghibli titles followed by the popular Dragonball features and One Piece: Red, which proved a major success at the MENA box office last year.

Further distributors set to release The Boy And The Heron include GKIDS for North America, Elysian Film Group for the UK, Wild Bunch Distribution for France and Lucky Red for Italy.