TOKYO &ndash Legendary anime production house Studio Ghibli may have made its last feature, and is taking stock of its situation in the aftermath of Hayao Miyazaki's retirement and the poor box office performance of its subsequent releases.
A Studio Ghibli spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter, saying the relevant person was at an event and wouldn't be able to confirm or deny the reports.
Studio co-founder Toshio Suzuki, head of the studio following the retirement of Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, spoke about Ghibli's future on the Jounetsu Tairiku program that was broadcast in Japan on TBS on Sunday. The program followed Suzuki for 180 days, during which time he made numerous comments about the future of the studio, including the possibility that it could withdraw from producing new films and just continue to manage the copyright of its existing properties.
"We're thinking about dissolving the production department and making major changes to the structure of Studio Ghibli. Of course, Miyazaki's retirement was quite significant," said Suzuki.
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Suzuki went on to say that continuing to create new productions was not impossible, but that the studio was planning to take stock of its options. Suzuki's sometimes vague pronouncements have previously caused confusion, including leading fans to believe that Miyazaki was coming out of retirement.
Miyazaki's last film The Wind Rises was a box office hit last summer, but The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Takahata's production swansong, reportedly failed to cover its production budget after its release in December.
When Marnie Was There, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, has failed to light up the box office since its release on July 19, opening behind Maleficent and the latest Pokemon film, Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, and dropping down the rankings since.
None of the major Japanese media or entertainment media is reporting the story.