Hayao Miyazaki's 'My Neighbor Totoro' Gets China Release Date

'My Neighbor Totoro' - Screengrab - H 2017

If the theatrical release, the first for Studio Ghibli, is a success, other films from the anime hit factory are set to follow suit.

Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro) will be the first Studio Ghibli film to get a theatrical release in China, on Dec. 14, the 30th anniversary of the much-loved anime's debut.

The digitally restored anime will have a subtitled Japanese original and a Chinese dubbed version for its China release, according to Chinese movie website Mtime, which reported in September that a local distributor was also negotiating the release of other Studio Ghibli productions.

Set in postwar rural Japan, My Neighbor Totoro is the story of two young daughters of a professor who encounter woodland spirits.

The film, released on a double bill with Isao Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies, took only $5 million at the Japanese box office on its bow in 1998. It would go on to garner fans and acclaim, pulling in more than $250 million from its home entertainment releases around the world. The Totoro character has become one of Japan's favorite and merchandising sales have totaled more than $1.1 billion.

The biggest grossing Japanese anime in China to date is Stand by Me Doraemon, which earned around $87 million on its release in 2015.

The restored version of My Neighbor Totoro was released in North America in 2014 and in the U.K. the following year.