Miyazaki Hayao’s Oscar-Winning ‘The Boy and the Heron’ to Release in Mainland China Cinemas

“The Boy and the Heron,” the Oscar-winning animated feature film by iconic Japanese director Miyazaki Hayao, is finally to be given a release in cinemas in mainland China.

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The picture is scheduled to release in China on April 3, 2024, according to Alibaba Pictures. Tickets are already available on booking sites such as Maoyan and Alibaba’s Taopiaopiao.

The film was released in Japan in July last year. It opened across much of the rest of the world from October.

While most films release in China on Fridays, giving “The Boy and the Heron” a Wednesday outing will allow it to play to family audiences through the Qingming holiday period, which officially runs for three days April 4-6.

Alibaba Pictures, an Alibaba Group subsidiary, in January announced a strategic partnership with Studio Ghibli, the Japanese studio behind the Miyazaki movie.

The partnership is supposed to cover the development of animation content for the Chinese market as well as offline ventures and ticketing through another subsidiary Damai. Among the offline ventures is a planned Studio Ghibli immersive exhibition scheduled to be held in Shanghai later this year.

“The Boy and the Heron” grossed a global $168 million, according to Box Office Mojo, with some $46 million of that coming from North America.

Following its Oscar win, the film is to be re-released in both North America and Japan before moving to the Max streaming service.

The dubbed version in North America will feature a voice cast including Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, Gemma Chan, Willem Dafoe, Karen Fukuhara, Mark Hamill, Robert Pattinson and Florence Pugh and will play from March 22.

Mainland Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba last week announced that its Alibaba Pictures unit and streaming service Youku would come to the rescue of the Hong Kong film industry, through some $640 million of investments over a period of five years.

The announcement was made during the FilMart convention in Hong Kong, but journalists were barred from attending the on-stage event. Alibaba has not responded to Variety‘s requests for further information, though Alibaba Pictures executives have since spoken to state-controlled mainland Chinese media about the Hong Kong initiative.

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