Will Studio Ghibli Stop Making Animated Features?
End of an era?
To us, Ghibli is best known for classics like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle. The latest film to reach the States was The Wind Rises, which got a limited release earlier this year. Over the weekend Studio Ghibli’s latest animated feature, When Marnie Was There, released in theaters across Japan. And according to Japanese website News Cafe, an insider has said that it may be the studio’s last.
According to the insider, there were rumors going around concerning a possible dissolution of Ghibli sometime after Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement. Then over the spring, Ghibli’s longtime producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki stepped down from his position, becoming a general manager of the studio instead. In other words, it’s possible that Ghibli could stop producing animated features but still be around to manage its copyrights.
The other clincher is that Miyazaki had expressed some thought about breaking up Studio Ghibli back in 2010.
But wait! There’s more. Another factor for the possible closure is that animated films cost a lot of money. The insider added that the studio is under constant pressure to turn a profit from each film they produce, requiring roughly 10 billion yen ($100 million) just to cover the costs and maybe even stay afloat. Last fall, it was reported that Ghibli hired full-time animators in-house rather than take the cheaper option of shipping the animating jobs overseas. This, as we all know, automatically makes the films way more expensive to make. The Wind Rises reportedly only took home 9.21 billion yen ($91 million), and still has yet to turn a profit. The latest Ghibli release, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, was a flop, and it cost even more to create.
“There’s no choice but to dissolve the studio,” the source told News Cafe. “It’s unable cross the high hurdle of announcing a new film on an annual basis.”
All this being said, please keep in mind that it’s is all hearsay until there’s official confirmation from Ghibli itself. Still…the thought of an animation giant — that brought us Kiki’s Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke — like Ghibli closing down is rather unsettling. It’s like saying Disney’s going to stop all productions for good.
Probably the last hope the studio has is Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, Ghibli’s first animated television series directed by Goro Miyazaki, Hayao’s son.