Studio Ghibli, one of the most famous animation companies in the world, is going to shut down the renowned animation feature film department that has brought to life a number of popular movies over the years–but the shut down may be only temporarily.
The department, led for years by Hayao Miyazaki, is responsible for a number of compelling films, including Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Arrietty.
Toshio Suzuki, Studio Ghibli’s general manager, announced on Japanese television that the company might shut down the animation feature film department. However, an updated translation indicates that he says that it will be a “brief pause” to consider what to do in the future with no definite plans yet.
“On what to do with Studio Ghibli’s future, it is by no means impossible to keep producing [movies] forever,” Suzuki said. “However, we will take a brief pause to consider where to go from here.”
Rumors had been circulating about a possible closure for years. The studio has been struggling financially in recent years despite its strong slate of films.
Miyazaki, a co-founder, retired last summer. Suzuki took over but gave up producing films to become general manager.
When Marnie Was There, a film based on the novel by the same name, will be the last feature film for the time being. It was released in July 19 in Japan with no U.S. release date announced yet.
Miyazaki’s last film was The Wind Rises, which hit Japan theaters last year and ones in the U.S. earlier this year.
The company’s other films include Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Kiki’s Delivery Service.