News of Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement last year left many wondering if Studio Ghibli would ever be the same. However, no one may have expected that Studio Ghibli could cease to make feature films. According to a reported Insider with Japan’s News Cafe, When Marnie Was There could be the last feature film that Studio Ghibli Releases.
Many speculated that Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Gorō Miyazaki, would take over the reigns and keep the company up and running. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. Gorō Miyazaki has shown that his vision is quite similar to his father’s and just as impressive, as evident by his work on Tales from the Earthsea and Up on Poppy Hill.
The rumors are a result of an issue with the studio’s dissolution last year and long time producer and co-founder, Toshio Suzuki’s departure from producing feature films. For the time being, Suzuki has taken the position of general manager for Studio Ghibli. The insider reportedly stated:
“From here on, it appears as though this won’t be a studio that makes new works, but instead, manages its copyrights.”
According to the nameless insider, the unconfirmed rumors state that each film that is produced needs to make at least $100 million U.S. Dollars to cover all production costs and result in a profit. The reported annual operating costs for labor alone is approximately $19.7 Million U.S. Dollars. Last year’s release, The Wind Rises, took in approximately $91 million U.S. Dollars and has not yet returned a profit, according to the insider. He was also quoted saying the following.
“The Tale of Princess Kaguya from director Isao Takahata made 5.1 billion yen ($50 million), and for the studio, it was a flop. There’s no choice but to dissolve the studio, because it’s unable cross the high hurdle of announcing a new film on an annual basis.”
Miyazaki seems to have confirmed the current rumors back in 2010 when he spoke to Cut Magazine:
“Suzuki-san is making a dissolution program for Ghibli. No joke, we talked about it the other day. For example, Ghibli should be able to continue with about five staff members as a copyright management company even if we smash the studio. So, Ghibli can say ‘We stop film production. Goodbye’. I do not have to be there.”
Despite the devastating news, there is a ray of light at the end of the dark tunnel. Goro Miyazaki is currently working on an animated television series, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, in conjunction with Polygon Pictures. The small staff of approximately five individuals will be able to handle the computer animated project without issue.
Photo Courtesy: Den Of Geek