GKIDS Acquires Rights to ‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower’


NEW YORK, NY (August 1, 2017) – GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, announced that it is has acquired the North American distribution rights to “Mary and the Witch’s Flower,” the inaugural feature from Studio Ponoc. The film is directed by Academy Award®-nominee Hiromasa Yonebayashi (“The Secret World of Arrietty,” “When Marnie Was There”) and is produced by Studio Ponoc founder and two-time Academy Award®-nominee Yoshiaki Nishimura (“The Tale of The Princess Kaguya,” “When Marnie Was There”). GKIDS distributed “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya” and “When Marnie Was There,” both of which were nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature.  Yonebayashi’s “The Secret World of Arrietty” remains the highest-grossing Studio Ghibli title in the United States to date.  “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” will be released in theaters this winter. The deal was negotiated by Mike Runagall for Altitude Film Sales, and Eric Beckman for GKIDS.

“Mary and the Witch’s Flower” is based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s book, “The Little Broomstick,” and features a script by Riko Sakaguchi.  The story centers on an ordinary young girl named Mary, who discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night. As she is whisked into an exciting new world beyond belief, she must learn to stay true to herself.

STUDIO PONOC has previously released the following Japanese trailer for the film, which opened at the Japanese box office on July 8.


Founded by two-time Oscar®-nominated Yoshiaki Nishimura, Japan’s Studio Ponoc unites the talents of former Studio Ghibli animators, artists and storytellers to create a new animation studio dedicated to breathtaking hand-drawn and hand-painted animated works for audiences young and old. The Studio’s first film is “Mary and ‪The Witch’s Flower,” directed by Oscar®-nominated director Hiromasa “Maro” Yonebayashi, based on the classic 1971 novel “The Little Broomstick” by British author Mary Stewart. The film is already a critical and box office hit in Japan, and will be bringing Studio Ponoc’s stunning artistry to audiences worldwide starting Fall 2017.


The Altitude Film Entertainment group comprises Altitude Film Production led by Will Clarke, chairman and joint-CEO with Andy Mayson; Altitude Film Sales with Managing Director Mike Runagall; and Altitude Film Distribution with Head of Distribution Hamish Moseley.

The Altitude sales slate includes Beats directed by Brian Welsh and executive produced by Academy Award®-winning director Steven Soderbergh; Sophie Brooks’ Tribeca Film Festival hit “The Boy Downstairs” starring Zosia Mamet and Matthew Shear; “My Friend Dahmer” directed by Marc Meyers starring Ross Lynch, Anne Heche and Alex Wolff; “Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars” directed by Academy Award® winner Lili Fini Zanuck, BAFTA Award nominated producer John Battsek and BAFTA Award nominated editor Chris King; “Mary and The Witch’s Flower” from director Hiromasa Yonebayashi  and producer Yoshiaki Nishimura, the filmmaking team behind the 2015 Oscar®-nominated “When Marnie Was There”; writer/director/producer/actor Noel Clarke’s 10X10 starring Luke Evans and Kelly Reilly; “Dead in a Week (Or Your Money Back)” directed by Tom Edmunds and starring Tom Wilkinson and Aneurin Barnard; “Black 47,” directed by Lance Daly and starring Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddie Fox, Barry Keoghan, Moe Dunford and Sarah Greene; “Untitled Whitney Houston Documentary” from Academy Award®-winning director Kevin Macdonald and Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn; “Maradona” from the Academy Award-winning team behind Amy and Senna; “Ghost Stories,” directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman based on their international smash hit play and “47 Meters Down” directed by Johannes Roberts, starring Claire Holt, Mandy Moore and Matthew Modine.


GKIDS is a producer and distributor of award-winning feature animation for both adult and family audiences. Since 2010, the company has scored an astounding nine Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations – with “The Secret of Kells” in 2010, “A Cat in Paris” and “Chico & Rita” in 2012, “Ernest & Celestine” in 2014, “The Tale of The Princess Kaguyaand Song of the Sea” in 2015, “Boy and the World” and “When Marnie Was There” in 2016, and “My Life as a Zucchini” in 2017.  GKIDS also handles North American distribution for the famed Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles “Spirited Away,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Princess Mononoke” and others.  This fall, GKIDS is launching Animation is Film, an annual LA-based film festival produced in partnership with Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Variety Magazine.  The first edition unspools October 20-22 at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.