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‘Lupin the 3rd: The First’ Anime Film Based on Monkey Punch Franchise Gets US Release From GKIDS

First CGI animated version of Lupin III character will open theatrically in Japanese and English language dub

GKIDS has acquired the North American distribution rights to the film “Lupin the 3rd: The First,” a Japanese anime film based on the long-running character and franchise from the Monkey Punch manga books and many animated films.

“Lupin the 3rd: The First” opened in Japan last December and will get a 2020 theatrical release from GKIDS in both its original Japanese and in a new English language dub. It’s notable as the first film in the “Lupin III” franchise to be animated in 3D CGI rather than hand-drawn.

Lupin III is a “gentleman thief” character who dates back to 1967 and has spawned manga books, TV shows, video games, a theme park ride, musical adaptations and feature films. American audiences might recognize the character as the subject of the debut film from animation master Hayao Miyazaki, 1979’s “The Castle of Cagliostro.”

“Lupin the 3rd: The First” is directed by Takashi Yamazaki (“Stand By Me Doraemon,” “Dragon Quest: Your Story”) and follows Lupin III and his colorful underworld companions as they race to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Bresson Diary. They need to recover it before it falls into the hands of a dark cabal with an aim of resurrecting the Nazi Third Reich.

“As someone who has been a fan of Lupin III since ‘The Castle of Cagliostro,’ I was blown away by the quality of animation and storytelling in ‘Lupin the 3rd: The First,'” GKIDS president David Jesteadt said in a statement. “Director Takashi Yamazaki has taken such incredible care and detail in creating Lupin’s first adventure in CG, and I am hopeful that audiences fall in love with the film as much as I have.”

“Lupin III has been stealing hearts of audiences of all ages for over 50 years, and we’re proud to be able to present the latest evolution of the world’s greatest thief,” TMS Entertainment vice president Masami Tokunaga said in a statement. “We are truly excited to be collaborating with GKIDS to bring this amazing film to our fans in North America.”

The deal for the North American rights was negotiated by GKIDS president David Jesteadt and Sam Maseba, director of licensing for TMS Entertainment.

GKIDS in 2020 released the anime “Weathering With You” from director Makoto Shinkai and the Oscar-nominated “Mirai” in 2019. It also handles the distribution for all of Miyazaki’s films in the Studio Ghibli library.

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