Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all rights in North America and Latin America to Dutch-born animator Michael Dudok de Wit’s feature “The Red Turtle,” the company announced Thursday.
The wordless animated film, which follows a man shipwrecked on a tropical island inhabited by turtles, crabs and birds, premiered Wednesday in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival to strong reviews.
The film is produced by Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli in association with Why Not Productions. It’s the first international co-production for the Japanese anime giant Studio Ghibli, which is best known for classic features by Hayao Miyazaki such as “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away.”
The deal was negotiated by Carole Baraton on behalf of Wild Bunch and Sony Pictures Classics.
“‘The Red Turtle’ takes you on an ultimate journey through life. It sweeps you up in fantasy, poetry, and awesome visual beauty. Artistically and commercially it is a major movie for all ages,” Sony Classics said in a statement. “It is a privilege to collaborate with Studio Ghibli, Pascal Cauchetaux, and Wild Bunch in bringing ‘The Red Turtle’ to American audiences.”
New York-based Sony Classics has been busy at Cannes this year. The indie powerhouse has already acquired two competition entries, Paul Verhoeven‘s “Elle” and Maren Ade’s “Toni Ermann.”