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Belle UK Release Date Announced, Opening Sequence Released

2022 is getting off to an impressive start for animation fans with the new much-anticipated feature from Mamoru Hosoda. The acclaimed auteur follows up his Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated previous feature Mirai with Belle. Returning to similar territory he explored in his earlier Summer Wars and his Digimon movie Our War Game, the new film is a sci-fi spin on Beauty and The Beast set in a virtual world. The US and Canadian theatrical release is just around the corner when GKIDS Films releases the film on Friday, January 14. Now we have also found out the release date for viewers in the UK.

UK distributor Anime Limited will release Belle in cinemas across the UK and Ireland from February 4- so they won't have much longer than their North American cousins. The film will screen in both English dubbed versions and in original language with Japanese subtitles.

Belle tells the story of a shy high school girl named Suzu who lives a double-life as a popular idol singer named Belle in the virtual world of U. When her avatar attracts a fearsome but mysterious user known as Dragon, she is about to discover "where the line between the online and offline self really lies."

The film has already been attracting much acclaim, screening in competition at last year's BFI London Film Festival, as well as Cannes and Animation Is Film Festival and being nominated for the Best Feature, Independent at the 2022 Annie Awards. It opened in cinemas in Japan last July and went on to take more than 6 billion Yen and became Hosoda's most successful film to date.

For the first time, Hosoda collaborated with artists from around the world, including Disney character designer Jin Kim, British architect and designer Eric WongCartoon Saloon's Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart and composer Ludvig Forssell.

You can get your tickets for the UK screenings here and the US screenings here.

GKIDS Films has also released the full opening scene online- so if you can't wait, get a little teaser, below.