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Altitude Films Pick Up Global 'Mary And The Witch's Flower' Rights

We were all caught unaware late last year by the announcement of Mary And The Witch's Flower. Directed by ex-Studio Ghibli director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (of When Marnie Was There) at Studio Ponoc, the film is set for release in Japan this summer.  News out of the Berlinale Film Festival has revealed that the UK company Altitude Film has picked up the global rights to the film.

Altitude will release the film themselves in the UK, and a cinema release has been confirmed. Madman Entertainment have acquired the rights for Australia and New Zealand. Currently, these are the only other territories outside Japan to be confirmed, but Altitude will no doubt be shopping it around to distributors in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

Mary and The Witch's Flower is based on the 1971 novel The Little Broomstick by late English novelist Mary Stewart. The story features a lonely girl who is whisked away to Endor College- a school of witchcraft.  It's pretty easy to see why the story would appeal- it's basically Kiki's Delivery Service meets Harry Potter- although of course, the source material predates both by some time.

Studio Ponoc was founded by ex-Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura in 2015, As well as Nishimura and Yonebayashi, several other ex-Ghibli staff also worked on the film. This is the studio's first feature.

Will Clarke, Altitude's CEO said of the acquisition "We could not be more excited to bring Studio Ponoc’s debut feature to international markets as well as release in cinemas right here in the UK. Mary And The Witch’s Flower marks the beginning of a new, exciting age of animation and the start of an exciting new relationship between Altitude and Studio Ponoc."

No further details on the release are available at this time.