Studio Ghibli's First Full CG Movie Will Come to the U.S. Next Year

You won’t have to wait long to see what Studio Ghibli can do in the realm of CG animation.
You won’t have to wait long to see what Studio Ghibli can do in the realm of CG animation.
Image: Studio Ghibli/GKids

You won’t have to wait all that long to see Studio Ghibli’s first crack at an entirely 3D CG feature. Shortly after its debut in Japan later this year, GKids will be bringing Earwig and the Witch to American theaters in early 2021—well, if they’re open, hopefully.

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GKids formally announced that it had acquired the distribution rights to Earwig and the Witch today, confirming that the film would receive a theatrical release in the U.S. in early 2021. No further details were announced, presumably as announcing movie release dates right now, even for 2021, is fraught with uncertainty thanks to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, but Earwig will make its debut in Japan this winter, broadcasting on the NHK TV network, before coming stateside early next year.

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Directed by From Up on Poppy Hill’s Goro Miyazaki, produced by Toshio Suzuki, and featuring input from Ghibli legend Hayao Miyazaki—who is hard at work on coming out of retirement (again) to direct one more feature for the animation studio—Earwig and the Witch is an adaptation of the 2011 children’s novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones, whose work has been previously adapted by Ghibli in 2004's Howl’s Moving Castle. Following the titular orphan Earwig, the story sees the young girl—unaware that she, like her birth mother, has vast magical powers—taken in by a selfish witch, and forced to confront both her strange new living situation and her magical heritage.

While Earwig is not the first time Ghibli has dabbled with CG animation entirely—Miyazaki himself famously delved into the medium to create the short film Kemushi no Boro, or Boro the Caterpillar—it marks the first time that the studio, renowned for its focus on traditional animation, has produced a feature-length product entirely in 3D CG. We’ll bring you more on GKids plans for Earwig and the Witch as and when we learn them.


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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

https://www.polygon.com/animation-cartoons/2020/5/27/21272224/disney-studio-ghibli-partnership-dubs-history

I probably wasn’t following the news enough as it came to be a bit of a surprise to me that Disney wasn’t handling distro for this, but it probably explains why Studio Ghibli is on Netflix and not on Disney+. TL;DR: They did a good enough job with the localization work, but botched the marketing.