The newest film in ten years by beloved Academy Award-winning Hayao Miyazaki has been acquired for North American distribution rights by Gkids. Miyazaki, who co-founded Studio Ghibli, wrote and directed the new film The Boy And The Heron. The film has been produced by fellow Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki, with musical score from Miyazaki’s long-time collaborator Joe Hisaishi.
The film was released in Japan under the title Kimitachi wa Do Ikiruka, which translates to How Do You Live? It has been clarified that it is not an adaptation of the 1937 Japanese novel of the same name. Internationally, it is known as The Boy And The Heron.
The Boy And Heron opened in theaters in Japan on July 14th, also making it the first Studio Ghibli film to be available to watch in IMAX. During its’ opening weekend box office in Japan, the movie earned about $13.2 million USD. According to Deadline, IMAX said the movie set a new three-day opening record with $1.7 million USD from 44 IMAX screens. In the US, the movie will be theatrically released later this year.
In a highly unusual move for a hand-drawn, animated feature (or any feature), it received barely any campaign ads. No images, trailers, synopses, advertisements, or other information about the film was given to the public leading up to the release of the movie in theaters. Gkids intends to honor the spirit of Studio Ghibli’s intent of very little advertising, and will not release any further details or marketing materials at this time.
The only artistic sneak peek Studio Ghibli has released so far are some drawings of this mysterious heron. The drawing at the top of this page was the only visual shared for nearly a year until the day before the theatrical release date in Japan.
See the tweets of the latest drawings here. The texts say:
-Feel free to use it within the bounds of common sense.
-It’s too hot, so in the studio, “Kahe~ (hot~)” I decided to talk to you. Feel free to use the icon within the limits of common sense.
— スタジオジブリ STUDIO GHIBLI (@JP_GHIBLI) July 13, 2023
— スタジオジブリ STUDIO GHIBLI (@JP_GHIBLI) July 18, 2023
Gkids president David Jedeadt gave a statement, which reads: “Hayao Miyazaki is a living legend in film-making, as evidenced by his Academy Award win for Spirited Away and his two Oscar nominations for Howl’s Moving Castle and The Wind Rises. It’s been ten years since the world has seen a new film from Miyazaki-san, and GKIDS is so proud and honored to unveil his latest, highly anticipated masterpiece in North America.”
Gkids has the US distribution rights to all Studio Ghibli library of films. Every year since 2017, Gkids has their annual Ghibli Fest, a monthly nationwide theatrical program of Ghibli film screenings in over 800 theaters across the country. The theme for this year is a focus on the films by Hayao Miyazaki.
What do you think of the strategy to not have any sort of advertising, except for a few artworks and theater dates? Will you see Hayao Miyazaki’s possible last film he’s directed when it hits theaters later this year? Let us know what you think!
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