GKIDS, the acclaimed distributor of multiple Academy Award®-nominated animated features, announced today it has added exclusive IMAX preview shows of Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda’s latest feature BELLE. Previews begin Wednesday, January 12th in select markets, ahead of the film’s nationwide theatrical opening on January 14th. Tickets for IMAX showings and select markets are on sale now at BelleFilm.com.
BELLE is an original story written and helmed by celebrated director Mamoru Hosoda, whose previous films include Mirai, The Boy and the Beast, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and others. Hosoda is joined by long time producing partner and Studio Chizu co-founder Yuichiro Saito, as producer on the title.
BELLE made its critically acclaimed 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, Fantastic Fest, and Los Angeles’ Animation is Film festival, where the film was awarded the Special Jury Prize. 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.
On BELLE, the Japanese creative team worked in collaboration with a roster of international talents. Character designer Jin Kim, the artist behind several iconic Disney features including Moana, Tangled, and Frozen, designed the titular Belle. Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar®-nominated Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart (Wolfwalkers, Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells) also join the team, contributing artwork for the various virtual fantasy worlds within the film.
Hosoda continues his film collaborations with architects, and is joined by up-and-coming British architect and designer Eric Wong, who designed the virtual world of “U.” Rounding out the team, composer Ludvig Forssell, best known for his collaborations with video game auteur Hideo Kojima (Death Stranding, Metal Gear Solid V), joined the score team for the film.
BELLE was released in theatres including IMAX screens in Japan starting July 16, and topped the box office for three consecutive weekends. The film marks Hosoda’s first title to have IMAX screenings, and played in 38 IMAX theatres throughout Japan. BELLE has crossed 6.52 billion yen (approx. 59.2 million USD) in box office to date, and has become Hosoda’s highest-grossing film ever, beating the lifetime gross of Boy and the Beast.
From the celebrated Academy Award®-nominated director Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu, creators of Mirai, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, and more, comes a fantastical, heartfelt story of growing up in the age of social media.
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.