Belle tells a fantastical, heartfelt story about the experience of growing up in the age of social media. Its protagonist, Suzu, is a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters “U”, a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a gorgeous and globally-beloved singer. One day, her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu embarks on an emotional and epic quest to uncover the identity of this mysterious “beast” and to discover her true self in a world where you can be anyone.
Chizu co-founder Yuichiro Saito is producer on the animated film, with Jin Kim (Moana, Tangled, Frozen) designing the titular Belle. Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart (Wolfwalkers) also were amongst the creative team, contributing world-building artwork for various virtual fantasy settings, with Hosoda’s longtime collaborator Eric Wong designing the virtual world of “U”, and Ludvig Forssell scoring the film.
Belle made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival. The film has also played in competition at the London Film Festival, as well as at Fantastic Fest. Gkids will qualify the film for 2021 awards consideration and release it theatrically in both its original Japanese language and a new English-dubbed version. Belle was released in theaters in Japan starting July 16, and has become Hosoda’s highest-grossing film ever, beating the lifetime gross of Boy and the Beast.
Gkids is the producer and distributor of award-winning feature animation for both adult and family audiences. Since 2010, the company has scored an astounding 12 Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations.
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