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Alibaba Pictures and Studio Ghibli Forge Strategic Partnership

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HONG KONG SAR  24 January 2024 – On January 5, 2024, Alibaba Pictures Group Limited (“Alibaba Pictures” or the “Company”, HKEX: 1060), a leading Internet film and television company in China, had a meeting with Studio Ghibli, a world-renowned top animation studio, where they successfully forged a strategic partnership encompassing various fields, such as animation and the development of immersive exhibitions. This auspicious occasion not only marked Studio Ghibli’s first working day of the new year but also celebrated the 83rd birthday of the legendary animation master, Director Hayao Miyazaki. Mr. Jie Li, President of Alibaba Pictures, conveyed the blessings and messages from Chinese fans to Director Hayao Miyazaki. The two parties exchanged gifts and warm wishes for the new year ahead.

Alibaba Pictures and Studio Ghibli Forge Strategic Partnership

Alibaba Pictures and Studio Ghibli sign agreement of intent for the co-development of the “The Boy and the Heron”

As a top-tier animation studio, Studio Ghibli has its own unique creative style and strives for exceptional production quality. It has created numerous classic films that have gained an incredible reputation worldwide, with its representative works including classic animated films such as “My Neighbor Totoro”, “Castle in the Sky”, “Spirited Away”, “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” and “Princess Mononoke”.

During the event, Toshio Suzuki, Director and Producer of Studio Ghibli, and Mr. Jie Li, President of Alibaba Pictures, officially signed an agreement of intent for the co-development of Hayao Miyazaki’s anticipated new film, “The Boy and the Heron”.

“The Boy and the Heron” is a highly anticipated new animation by Director Hayao Miyazaki, marking his return to filmmaking after a decade. The story revolves around a young man who tragically loses his mother during a war and embarks on a remarkable adventure accompanied by a talking heron. The film has garnered significant attention as the opening film at prestigious film festivals and has received numerous accolades, including being named one of the “Top 10 Films” at the National Board of Review Awards in 2023 and winning the “Best Animation” award at the 49th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards and “Best Motion Pictures – Animated” at the 81st Golden Globe Awards. Currently, the film holds a Tomatometer score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an exceptional score of 92 on Metacritic. Since its release in Japan and overseas in 2023, “The Boy and the Heron”, which is mainly a hand-drawn animation like director Hayao Miyazaki’s previous works, has not only earned tremendous reviews and box office, but has also won critical acclaim around the world for his wonderful hand-drawing techniques, which again aroused wide discussions on the art of hand-drawn animation.

Before its release in Japan, “The Boy and the Heron” had published only one movie poster. But Ghibli’s appeal, coupled with the film’s mystery due to its zero publicity, still made it a hot topic. The film’s current box office in Japan has reached JPY8.7 billion. On December 8, 2023, after the film landed in the North American market, it took in a box office of USD12.97 million in the first weekend, becoming the first Japanese animation to top the North American box office. The film has currently grossed more than USD40 million at the North American box office.

According to data, the Chinese film market experienced the success of 14 Chinese and foreign animated films in 2023, each surpassing RMB100 million in box office revenue. As China’s film market continues to thrive and audiences increasingly demand high-quality cultural content, the opportunities for the development of animation art are expanding. At the beginning of the new year, the strategic partnership between Alibaba Pictures and Studio Ghibli creates an even broader platform for sustained exchange and mutual learning between Chinese and foreign animated films.

Technology and Art Integration: Alibaba Pictures and Studio Ghibli Collaborate to Develop an Immersive Exhibition of Hayao Miyazaki’s Works

During the meeting, Alibaba Pictures and Studio Ghibli, along with Creative Corporation, reached a strategic partnership agreement to develop an immersive exhibition featuring the works of renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki. This groundbreaking venture represents Studio Ghibli’s first foray into the realm of immersive exhibitions. Creative Corporation, acting as the authorized representative, will undertake the responsibility of executing the exhibition. As a gesture of gratitude, Toshio Suzuki presented Mr. Jie Li with a personally handwritten note entitled “The Story of Studio Ghibli” during the event. Anticipated to take place in Shanghai in 2024, this exhibition will provide audiences with an extraordinary experience centered around the theme of Studio Ghibli’s world.

Leveraging Alibaba Pictures’ extensive experience in the live entertainment industry through its platform Damai, the immersive exhibition plan, centered around the renowned works of Studio Ghibli, will establish a fresh connection between these classic masterpieces and the audience. Enthusiastic fans and viewers will be treated to a captivating and immersive journey, submerging themselves in the enchanting realm of Hayao Miyazaki’s animation, thereby reliving the profound emotions and inspiring bravery brought by the master animator.

In the growing trend of integrating technology and art, immersive exhibitions have emerged as a highly popular cultural consumption experience among young people worldwide. By embracing innovative cultural activities, the collaborative development of an immersive exhibition by Alibaba Pictures and Studio Ghibli represents a significant endeavor to deepen cultural exchanges and foster mutual learning.

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