Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Boy And The Heron’ Lands UK Deal

Elysian Film Group, Anonymous Content, and Bleecker Street have jointly acquired UK rights to The Boy and the Heron, the latest animated feature from celebrated Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki that opened the Toronto Film Festival.

Elysian will release the film in UK cinemas later this year. The Boy and the Heron will have its UK premiere as a special presentation at the London Film Festival next month and had its international premiere at TIFF last week.

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The Boy and the Heron is Miyazaki’s first feature film in ten years and features a musical score from his long-time collaborator Joe Hisaishi. The film’s plot follows a teenage boy and his psychological development through encounters with his friends and uncle. He enters a magical world with a talking gray heron after finding an abandoned tower in his new town.

In a break with tradition, Studio Ghibli released The Boy and the Heron in Japan without any promotion, marketing materials or film description, allowing audiences to discover the film for themselves. Miyazaki hasn’t done any interviews or appearances for the pic, which opened in Japan to fantastic numbers and currently counts a running total box office of $48M.

The deal was negotiated by Nick Shumaker of Anonymous Content with Danny Perkins of Elysian Film Group, Kent Sanderson and Avy Eschenasy on behalf of Bleecker Street, and Vincent Maraval and Eva Diederix of Goodfellas on behalf of the filmmakers.

“Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are second-to-none as artists and innovators, and we could not be more proud to bring this beautiful, emotional film to audiences across the UK,” the companies jointly commented.

This deal marks the first time Bleecker Street has directly invested in UK distribution and is its first animated acquisition.

Early out the gates at this year’s TIFF market, Bleecker Street acquired the U.S. rights to British comedy Fackham Hall starring Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, Thomasin McKenzie, Katherine Waterston and Emma Laird, which will begin principal photography in early 2024. This is the company’s second collaboration in this market with Elysian Film Group, which will produce alongside Anonymous Content.

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