The Nippon TV (NTV) television broadcasting company announced on Thursday that it has decided to acquire 42.3% of the shares of world-famous animation studio Ghibli. This transaction, once completed, would make NTV the largest shareholder of the Ghibli, and turn the studio into a subsidiary of Nippon TV.
Both companies called an urgent press conference on Thursday, with Nippon TV representative director and operating officer Yoshikuni Sugiyama and Ghibli president and co-founder Toshio Suzuki mutually announcing the planned acquisition. During the press conference, Suzuki admitted that a search for a “successor” for the studio’s co-founders, which include studio’s acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki, was what prompted the acquisition plans. Suzuki noted that Miyazaki is 82 years old, and Suzuki himself is 75. The studio did approach Miyazaki’s son Goro Miyazaki many times to become a successor to run the studio, but the younger Miyazaki has so far refused all offers, and Hayao Miyazaki also opposes his son becoming the studio’s head. NTV has been in talks with Ghibli for a possible acquisition since last year.
Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki have had a long relationship with NTV, dating back to the airing of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind on NTV‘s then-new “Kinyō Roadshow” movie programming block in 1985. Miyazaki’s films have since aired regularly on the block, to consistently high ratings. NTV once hosted Ghibli’s official website until Ghibli began using its own hostname.
Ghibli and Miyazaki have recently released The Boy and the Heron (Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka) anime film, which opened simultaneously on IMAX with its general release in Japan on July 14. The movie was notably not advertised or promoted, and little information was released to the public prior to its release date. The film has so far sold over 5.46 million tickets, and has earned a cumulative total of 8.16 billion yen (about US$55.25 million) as of Monday.