Alibaba Pictures will work with Tokyo-based animation company Studio Ghibli to hold exhibitions and develop animations for the Chinese market, the Hong Kong-listed movie producer announced in late January.
The strategic partnership formed on Jan. 5 includes Alibaba Picture’s intent to co-develop the latest Studio Ghibli film “The Boy and the Heron”, which is not yet available in Mainland Chinese cinemas.
Director Hayao Miyazaki, who co-founded Studio Ghibli in 1985, left retirement after a decade to work on the primarily hand-drawn animated film following the adventures of a talking heron and a young boy.
Miyazaki’s fantasy-laced filmography, including Academy Award-winner “Spirited Away”, “My Neighbor Totoro”, “Howl’s Moving Castle” and more, are the fruits of a five-decade-long career.
Many of these movies may feature in an immersive exhibition, scheduled to take place later this year in Shanghai, that is also part of the strategic partnership.
To bring the exhibition to life, Alibaba Pictures will leverage the expertise of offline entertainment platform Damai.
The production company acquired Damai last year to expand its range of live entertainment offerings as demand for movies, concerts and more swells in China.
This post-pandemic surge fueled an 83% year-on-year jump in the country’s box office in 2023, according to a report by the China Film Administration, buoyed by a series of summer blockbusters from Alibaba Pictures.
“The Boy and the Heron” has also proven to be a box office darling.
It became the first Japanese animation to top the North American box office after opening in early December, voiced by an all-star cast including Robert Pattinson, Mark Hamill and Christian Bale.
The film was recognized as the Best Motion Picture – Animated at the 81st Golden Globes in Los Angeles earlier this month.