Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu’s new Belle film (Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime, or The Dragon and the Freckled Princess) has grossed more than 890 million yen (about US$8.09 million) and sold more than 600,000 tickets three days after its opening on July 16.
A new key visual was released to celebrate the film’s ticket sales.
Belle premiered in France’s Cannes Film Festival as part of the Cannes Premiere section on July 15. The screening marks the first time a Hosoda-directed film was part of the Official Selection list at the festival.
The film’s staff includes Frozen character designer Jin Kim, British architect and designer Eric Wong, and Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart from Irish studio Cartoon Saloon, which produced the Oscar-nominated Song of the Sea, The Secret of the Kells, and Wolfwalkers. Studio Chizu is handling the animation production.
Other staff include illustrator Kageichi Akiya as the designer of the dragon, Takaaki Yamashita (Mirai screen designer) as the CG animation director in regards to the virtual world of “U,” Hiroyuki Aoyama (Mirai animation director) as the character designer and the real world’s animation director, Nobutaka Ike (Princess Principal) as art director, Anri Jōjō (Mirai production designer) as art designer, and Ryō Horibe (Mirai) and Digital Frontier’s Yohei Shimozawa (Doraemon: Nobita’s Treasure Island) as CG directors.
Meanwhile, the cast includes Ryō Narita as Shinobu Hisatake/Shinobu-kun, Shōta Sometani as Shinjirō Chikami/Kamishin, Tina Tamashiro as Ruka Watanabe/Ruka-chan, Rira Ikuta as Hiroka Betsuyaku/Hiro-chan, Toshiyuki Morikawa as Justin, Kenjiro Tsuda as Jelinek, Mami Koyama as Swan, and Mamoru Miyano as Tarō Hitokawamui and Maru Guttokorae.
North American distributor GKIDS will release the film in Japanese with English subtitles and a full English dub in 2021.
Studio Chizu describes the story as:
Our protagonist, Suzu, is a 17-year old high school girl, who lives in the countryside of Kochi Prefecture with her father, after losing her mother at a young age.
She loves singing with her mother more than anything else, but as a result of her mother’s death was no longer able to sing.
It wasn’t long before she and her father grew more and more distant from each other, and Suzu closed her heart to the rest of the world.
When Suzu felt that writing music was her only purpose left in life, she then discovers the massive online space known as “U,” where she takes on her persona, Belle.
We are no longer limited to a single world.
Suzu quickly realizes that when she is inside “U” as her avatar, Belle, she can sing quite naturally. As she continues to showcase her own music in the virtual world, she fast becomes the rising star of “U.”
Nonetheless, that surprise is short-lived. Suddenly, a mysterious dragon-shaped creature appears before her…