Japan's Studio Ghibli May Have Made Its Last Animated Film

Spirited Away Poster Piece - H 2013

Spirited Away Poster Piece - H 2013

The animation powerhouse's current head says it is considering the end of movie productions following the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki and the underperformance of its latest releases.

TOKYO — Legendary anime production house Studio Ghibli may have made its last animated feature as it takes stock of its situation in the aftermath of Hayao Miyazaki's retirement and the poor box-office performance of its subsequent releases.

A Studio Ghibli spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter, saying the relevant person was at an event and wouldn't be able to confirm or deny future plans.

Studio co-founder Toshio Suzuki, head of the studio following the retirement of Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, spoke about Ghibli's future on the Jounetsu Tairiku program that aired in Japan on TBS on Sunday. The project followed Suzuki for 180 days during which he made numerous comments about the future of the studio, including the possibility that it could withdraw from producing new films and just continue to manage the copyright of its existing properties.

"We're thinking about dissolving the production department and making major changes to the structure of Studio Ghibli. Of course, Miyazaki's retirement was quite significant," said Suzuki.

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Suzuki went on to say that continuing to make new productions was not impossible but that the studio was planning to review its options. Suzuki's sometimes vague pronouncements have previously caused confusion, including leading fans to believe that Miyazaki was coming out of retirement.

Miyazaki's last film, The Wind Rises, was a box-office hit last summer, but The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Takahata's production swansong, reportedly did not cover its production budget after its release in December.

When Marnie Was There, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, has failed to light up the box office since its release on July 19, opening behind Maleficent and the latest Pokemon film, Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, and dropping down the rankings since.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair