Gkids anounced today that Oscar nominated director Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai, The Boy and the Beast) and Studio Chizu’s newest film Belle is set to debut in American cinemas on January 14, 2022.
Belle tells a fantastical, heartfelt story about the experience of growing up in the age of social media. Its protagonist, Suzu, is a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters “U”, a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a gorgeous and globally-beloved singer. One day, her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu embarks on an emotional and epic quest to uncover the identity of this mysterious “beast” and to discover her true self in a world where you can be anyone.
Chizu co-founder Yuichiro Saito is producer on the animated film, with Jin Kim (Moana, Tangled, Frozen) designing the titular Belle. Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart (Wolfwalkers) also were amongst the creative team, contributing world-building artwork for various virtual fantasy settings, with Hosoda’s longtime collaborator Eric Wong designing the virtual world of “U”, and Ludvig Forssell scoring the film.
Belle made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival. The film has also played in competition at the London Film Festival, as well as at Fantastic Fest. Gkids will qualify the film for 2021 awards consideration and release it theatrically in both its original Japanese language and a new English-dubbed version. Belle Movie was released in theaters in Japan starting July 16, and has become Hosoda’s highest-grossing film ever, beating the lifetime gross of Boy and the Beast.
Gkids is the producer and distributor of award-winning feature animation for both adult and family audiences. Since 2010, the company has scored an astounding 12 Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations.
Cannes Adds Mamoru Hosoda’s Animation ‘Belle’ To Premiere Section
Ahead of raising the curtain on its 74th edition on Tuesday (July 6), Cannes has made a late addition to its program in the form of Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda’s feature animation Belle.
The pic marks the director’s return to Cannes following Mirai, which screened in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar in 2018. This marks his first time in official selection.
Belle Movie Online is the third animation film presented this year at the festival following Ari Folman’s Where is Anne Frank and The Summit of the Gods by Patrick Imbert.
Belle tells the story of Suzu, an insecure teenager living in a small town in the mountains with her father, in real life. But in the virtual world of U, Suzu becomes Belle, a musical icon followed by more than 5 billion followers.
Pic will screen on July 15 and is scheduled for release in France on December 29.
“Belle is the film that I’ve always dreamt to create,” said Mamoru Hosoda, “And that I can make today thanks to the culmination of my previous films. In this one, I explore romance, action, and suspense as well as deeper themes such as life and death. I hope that it will be a big entertaining show.”
‘Mirai’ Director Mamoru Hosoda’s Latest ‘Belle’ Acquired By Gkids In U.S. Deal; Watch Teaser
Gkids has acquired North American distribution rights to Belle, the latest animated film from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda and Japan’s Studio Chizu. A winter theatrical release is in the works for the pic, which represents a re-team of the distributor, Hosoda and Studio Chizo after 2018’s Mirai, which scored an Oscar nomination.
Hosoda, whose credits also include The Boy and the Beast, Wolf Children, Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time wrote and directed Belle. It centers on 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 pic is set to release in Japan this week. Gkids will release it theatrically in both its original Japanese language and a new English dubbed version. Casting for that is still to be announced.
Hosoda and Studio Chizu co-founder Yuichiro Saito are producers.
“Belle expands on the threads and themes of [Hosoda’s] previous works in an epic tour-de-force that is visually stunning, emotionally stirring, and deeply profound,” said Gkids CEO and founder Eric Beckman. “Hosoda is a master at exploring humans’ relationship with technology in a changing world.
Beckman negotiated the rights deal with Carole Baraton of Charades on behalf of Studio Chizu.