'Weathering With You' From 'Your Name' Director Makoto Shinkai Gets U.S. Distribution

In 2017, Your Name helped put anime back on the global map as acclaimed, prestigious films worthy of awards recognition. Three years later, director Makoto Shinkai's highly anticipated follow-up will finally be making its way to the States. Weathering With You, Shinkai's latest visually stunning and cerebral sci-fi drama, will be released in Japan this summer, but has already been picked up for U.S. distribution by the animation distributor GKIDS.

GKIDS picked up Weathering With You for U.S. distribution at the Cannes Film Festival this year, setting its release date for 2020. But U.S. fans won't have to wait too long to see what looks to be another breathtaking film from Shinkai: Weathering With You will have an awards-qualifying release in select theaters in 2019.

"GKIDS is thrilled to be working with Makoto Shinkai and Genki Kawamura on Weathering With You, following their blockbuster hit Your Name," said GKIDS founder and CEO Eric Beckman, who negotiated the deal with Toho's Akihiro Takeda. "We have been huge fans of Makoto Shinkai since his breathtaking 5 Centimeters Per Second, and he is unquestionably one of the top animation filmmakers working today. Weathering With You combines Shinkai's unparalleled visually beautiful and detailed animation with a riveting emotional story that will be sure to connect with audiences worldwide."

Your Name was one of the best films of 2017 — animated or not — and positioned Shinkai as the next anime filmmaker after Hayao Miyazaki to earn worldwide recognition. While it was unfairly deprived of an Academy Award nomination, perhaps Shinkai could have a better shot with Weathering With You, which follows a high school boy as he runs into a girl with the ability to control the weather. With Shinkai's signature gorgeous photorealistic animation, Weathering With You seems like another cerebral sci-fi film told through a universal love story — a formula that he's been honing since his breakout film, 5 Centimeters Per Second. While comparisons between Shinkai and Miyazaki are faulty, it's true that Shinkai is the anime filmmaker who has the most potential to become a household name like the Spirited Away director, especially with Your Name currently being developed into a live-action Hollywood remake.

Here's the synopsis for Weathering With You:

GKIDS proudly presents the highly-anticipated new film from director Makoto Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura, the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed, global smash hit Your Name. The summer of his high school freshman year, Hokoda runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hokoda meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky...

GKIDS has set an awards qualifying run for 2019 with a theatrical release in early 2020 in both the original Japanese and a new English language version.