Hayao Miyazaki’s production company, Studio Ghibli, will become a subsidiary of Nippon Television Network Corporation, both companies announced on Thursday.
As part of the deal, Nippon Television would acquire 42.3 percent of voting rights to become the prime shareholder in the studio. The transaction will be finalized on October 6. It was not disclosed how much money would be involved.
According to a statement by Studio Ghibli: “[D]irector Miyazaki Hayao is now 82 years old, and producer Suzuki Toshio is also 75 years old, and the issue of succession has been a problem for a long time. Miyazaki Goro, the eldest son of founder Miyazaki Hayao and an animation film director himself, has been mentioned several times as the successor to Studio Ghibli. However, Miyazaki Goro himself firmly declined, believing that it would be difficult to carry Ghibli alone, and that it would be better to leave the future of the company to others.”
Hiroyuki Fukuda, the senior operating officer of Nippon Television, is slated to be the new president of the studio, with Suzuki Toshio becoming the chair of the board. In announcing the transition, Suzuki said at a press conference: “Managing (a company) is tough. We want to concentrate on production.” Fukuda was also quoted as saying, “I know there are expectations to make something new so I want to help bring it about.”
In its joint statement, the two companies said: “Because Nippon Television has maintained a long-standing relationship with Studio Ghibli while respecting its values, we were confident that we could permanently protect Studio Ghibli’s ‘manufacturing’ and brand value.”
Nippon Television began broadcasting Studio Ghibli productions via its “Friday Road Show” programming. The network had invested in Miyazaki’s 1989 film Kiki’s Delivery Service, and was also instrumental in establishing the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, which opened its doors in 2001.
Studio Ghibli’s latest production, The Boy and the Heron, was released in Japan on July 14. It was recently selected as the opening film of the Toronto International Film Festival and will next play at the San Sebastian Film Festival and at similar fests in New York, Chicago, and London. It will be released commercially in the U.S. on December 8, via Gkids.
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