Studio Ghibli Closing Update: Small ‘Pause’ Could Cause Co-Founder Hayao Miyazaki to Return From Retirement

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
August 7, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Studio Ghibli–which is taking a “brief pause” from making films as opposed to definitively closing the department–may get back its greatest asset.

The length of the pause hasn’t been announced, but it’s to ponder the direction the animated feature film department should go in to return to profitability.

That process may be sped up by the return of Studio Ghibli and filmmaking legend Hayao Miyazaki from retirement, according to the studio’s co-founder Toshio Suzuki.

Variety reported that Suzuki clarified his original comments on Asa Ichi on Thursday morning after being misquoted by many Western news sources, emphasizing that there will be only a “brief pause” in film production and not a complete shutdown of the feature film department.

Suzuki also said that Miyazaki may come out of retirement to “make something again.”

He said that something may be a short film for Tokyo’s Ghibli museum.

Miyazaki told the Telegraph last year that he wanted to create three new animated shorts for the museum, which typically exclusively broadcasts Ghibli shorts.

If Miyazaki returns to making full length films, that would likely be the best way for Studio Ghibli’s feature film department to stay open and make money. His last film The Wind Rises has made over $91 million (9.23 billion yen), though it has yet to turn a profit. And one of the newest movies from the studio, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, cost even more to make and has made even less money.

Even if the films stop, though, Goro Miyazaki, Hayao Miyazaki’s son, is directing the studio’s first animated TV series, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, which will debut this fall.

However, Miyazaki did tell Cut Magazine back in 2010 that Suzuki was making a plan to break up the studio.

No joke, we talked about it the other day. For example, Ghibli should be able to continue with about five staff members as a copyright management company even if we smash the studio,” he said. “So, Ghibli can say ‘We stop film production. Goodbye.’ I do not have to be there.”

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.