By Kristen Olson
Guess who’s coming to dinner? Assuming dinner is in the U.S., Mamoru Hosoda’s “The Boy And The Beast!” When French film studio Gaumont International was deciding which distributor would chaperone their latest sweetheart around the U.S., a distributor with loyalty and ambition was on the forefront of the agenda. And when it comes to upholding the Mamoru Hosoda flag, no distributor has been more invested than FUNimation Entertainment.
Dutiful from the beginning, FUNimation has distributed two other Hosoda works within the U.S. on VOD and home video (first in 2010 with “Summer Wars,” then in 2013 with Studio Chizu’s critically-acclaimed, award-winning “Wolf Children”). Commercial success helps, but more importantly, the loyalty is there.
While Gaumont received several offers for distribution, deputy head of sales Yohann Comte said Gaumont “chose to work with FUNimation because the company has been faithful to Hosoda’s work since the beginning, and they also have the ambition and commitment to screen the film to the widest possible audience.” This marks a significant exposure for Hosoda, as this will be his first-ever film to receive theatrical release in the U.S. FUNimation is not stopping there, for scheduled to come out this summer in the U.S. and Canada is “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F.”
The talk around Mike Duboise’s (FUNimation EVP & COO) table is that “The Boy and the Beast” has potential to be an Oscar candidate.
With one Ghibli-esque flick and one of the gateway drugs to anime (for Americans, at least) on the distribution slate, this isn’t a bad to time to invest stock in FUNimation… Albeit emotional stock.
The film will open in select U.S. theaters this fall with a wide release slated for early 2016, just in time for the academy.