Yes, the rumors are true: Studio Ghibli will stop making movies for now. The people behind everything from Grave of the Fireflies to Princess Mononoke--essentially, the kings of modern anime--are considering shutting down their feature film department.

The news came via Toshio Suzuki, the studio’s co-founder and their current general manager, on TBS’s Jōnetsu Tairiku last Sunday.

"We're thinking about dissolving the production department and making major changes to the structure of Studio Ghibli. Of course, [Hayao] Miyazaki's retirement was quite significant," said Suzuki.

Miyazaki, one of the studio’s co-founders and its most famous member, retired from film making after 2011’s The Wind Rises, which was--perhaps tellingly--Ghibli’s most recent success.
Afterwards, the studio’s other most frequent director, Isao Takahata, also retired from production after making the critically-acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

Since then, the newly released When Marnie Was There also failed to make an impact, opening behind Pokemon and Maleficent while steadily dropping in the ranks thereafter. Considering how Studio Ghibli’s members are full-time employees collecting salaries even when not directly working on films, the impact of even one unsuccessful release is considerable.

Although it may not be enough for some fans, Suzuki squashed any rumors of the studio completely dissolving. Instead, they will restructure the company to focus more squarely on maintaining trademarks for older franchises, running the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, and continuing freelance work on advertisements, video games, and music videos like the one below.

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However, Suzuki is still open to the idea of making more feature films in the future.

“On what to do with Studio Ghibli's future, it is by no means impossible to keep producing [movies] forever,” claimed Suzuki. “However, we will take a brief pause to consider where to go from here.”

So, for now, let’s just hope a break is all Ghibli needs to start seeing a profit again. But it is a sad day indeed when Guardians of the Galaxy is breaking box office records while the studio that forever changed how we view animation is struggling to survive.