GKIDS acquires Studio Ghibli’s Earwig and the Witch
GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, has announced that it has acquired the North American distribution rights for legendary animation house Studio Ghibli’s latest feature Earwig and the Witch (alternatively titled Aya and the Witch)!
Directed by Goro Miyazaki (From Up on Poppy Hill), son of Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro), who’s also credited with planning the project, the film marks Studio Ghibli’s first entirely 3D CG-animated feature and is an official selection for this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It’s slated to debut on NHK in Japan this winter followed by a theatrical release in North America in early 2021!
“Nowadays, in our country, there are many adults and few children. It must be tough for these children, so few of them having to deal with so many adults,” Goro Miyazaki said in a previous statement. “It was while I was thinking about this that I got to know Earwig. And I realized, ‘That’s it!’ How does Earwig deal with the annoying adults? Please watch Earwig and The Witch to find out. She may be cheeky, but I sincerely hope that our adorable Earwig will encourage children and cheer up adults.”
Earwig and the Witch is based on the 2011 children’s novel of the same name which was written by the late British author Diana Wynne Jones, who also wrote the source novel for Studio Ghibli’s popular fantasy film Howl’s Moving Castle. The novel follows the story of a smart orphan girl named Earwig as she gets adopted by a woman named Bella Yaga, who turns out to be a cruel witch that takes her to live in a haunted house.
The novel’s official synopsis reads: “In this enchanting introduction to Diana Wynne Jones’s magical and funny work, Earwig is a fearless young orphan. When she finds herself in a house of dark magic, she does whatever she can to adapt—especially if it means that she’ll learn a little magic herself! A young middle grade novel by World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement‒winner Diana Wynne Jones, beautifully illustrated in black and white by Caldecott Medalist Paul O. Zelinsky.
Not every orphan would love living at St. Morwald’s Home for Children, but Earwig does. She gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, and it’s been that way since she was dropped on the orphanage doorstep as a baby. But all that changes the day Bella Yaga and the Mandrake come to St. Morwald’s, disguised as foster parents. Earwig is whisked off to their mysterious house full of invisible rooms, potions, and spell books, with magic around every corner. Most children would run in terror from a house like that . . . but not Earwig. Using her own cleverness—with a lot of help from a talking cat—she decides to show the witch who’s boss.”
Earwig and the Witch is a co-production by Studio Ghibli, NHK and NEP.