The highly anticipated film was released in Japanese theaters earlier on Friday as “Kimitachi wa Do Ikiruka” (“How Do You Live”). In an unprecedented decision by the producer Studio Ghibli no images, trailers, synopses, advertisements or other information about the film were made available to the public ahead of its theatrical release in Japan.
“How Do You Live” was the film’s informal English title throughout its production phase, but Gkids says “The Boy and the Heron” is now the official international title. In keeping with Ghibli’s Japanese omerta, Gkids says it won’t release any further details or marketing materials at this time.
The film is believed to be based on the 1937 YA book of the same name by Genzaburo Yoshino which tells the story of a 15-year-old boy as he sets out on a journey of spiritual growth, poverty, and the meaning of life with the help of his uncle, whose advice is communicated to him by a newspaper. The proximity to this story is not discovered by the theatrical public until Friday.
Gkids said it would give “The Boy and the Heron” a theatrical release in North America “later this year.” The pic is also expected to make appearances at various fall festivals. And a theatrical release in North America at the end of 2023 means it has a significant chance of making it to the Oscars.
The hand-drawn film is written and directed by Miyazaki, produced by Academy Award-winning Studio Ghibli co-founder Suzuki Toshio, and features a musical score by longtime Miyazaki collaborator Joe Hisaishi.
“Miyazaki is a living legend of cinema, as evidenced by his Oscar win for ‘Spirited Away’ and his two Oscar nominations for ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ and ‘The Wind Rises’,” said David Jesteadt, President of Gkids. “It’s been ten years since the world has seen a new Miyazaki-san film, and Gkids is so proud and honored to unveil its latest, highly anticipated masterpiece in North America.”
Gkids handled the North American releases of Studio Ghibli’s Oscar-nominated “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya”, “When Marnie Was There” and “From Up on Poppy Hill”. Since 2017, it has produced the annual Studio Ghibli Fest, a monthly North American theatrical program of Ghibli film screenings at over 800 venues.
Miyazaki separately received an honorary award at the Governors Awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2014. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures honored his works with a special exhibition when the museum opened in September 2021.
Studio Ghibli last year opened a theme park based on the works of Miyazaki, which features rides and attractions inspired by movies like “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Princess Mononoke.” A “My Neighbor Totoro” stage adaptation by the Royal Shakespeare Company also opened in London, UK