Hayao Miyazaki’s latest Ghibli film, The Boy and the Heron (Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka, or literally “How Do You Live?”), continues to soar at the box office in Japan. With over 5.46 million tickets sold and a cumulative total of 8.16 Billion Yen (around US$55.25 million), it has secured its place as the #79 highest-grossing film in Japan, surpassing famed pieces like Deep Impact, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Last Message: Umizaru, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Among anime films, The Boy and the Heron still holds strong at the #20 spot in terms of highest-grossing films in Japan. It recently surpassed Tales from Earthsea, directed by Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro Miyazaki.
The film made an impressive debut, selling 1.003 million tickets and earning about US$13.2 million in its first three days in Japan. During its Friday-Monday long weekend release (with July 17 being a holiday), it sold 1.353 million tickets and raked in 2.149 billion Yen (around US$15.53 million).
What’s particularly impressive is that The Boy and the Heron opened simultaneously on IMAX screens alongside its general release on July 14. It even outperformed Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning masterpiece, Spirited Away, in its first four days and surpassed his 2013 film The Wind Rises by 50%.
The film achieved a new three-day opening record for IMAX, bringing in over US$1.7 million from 44 screens, making it the first Studio Ghibli film to receive a simultaneous IMAX release. The film was successful all around the globe. GKIDS will distribute the film in NA sometime later this year.
The film will also have a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 7, opening the event at Roy Thomson Hall. This marks a historic moment for both TIFF, as it showcases its first animated opening film, and for Japanese cinema in general.
The Plot of The Boy and the Heron
‘The Boy and the Heron’ is set in World War II. The story follows Mahito, who tragically loses his mother in the devastating firebombings in Tokyo. To find peace, he and his father relocate to the countryside, where a new chapter unfolds.
His father’s remarriage to his late mother’s pregnant sister births emotional challenges for Mahito. One day, he encounters a talking heron. He is drawn by the promise of reuniting with his beloved mother, and Mahito ventures into an otherworldly place where a profoundly transformative journey awaits him.
The Cast and Staff
The cast includes Masaki Suda, Kou Shibasaki, Aimyon, Yoshino Kimura, Keiko Takeshita, Jun Fubuki, Sawako Agawa, Karen Takizawa, Shinobu Ōtake, Jun Kunimura, Kaoru Kobayashi, and Shohei Hino. The main character, Mahito Maki, is voiced by Soma Santoki.
Hayao Miyazaki, the iconic filmmaker, is the creative force behind the original concept, direction, and script of the film. Working alongside him, Takeshi Honda acts as the animation director. Joe Hisaishi, known for his works in “Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke,” and “My Neighbor Totoro,” composed the music.
Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki takes up the role of producer. The theme song, Chikyūgi (Globe), is performed by Kenshi Yonezu.
Studio Ghibli producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki shared that the film will not receive any marketing; no trailers, TV spots, newspaper ads, or revealed information regarding the plot, voice cast, or most of the film’s staff.
A “no marketing” decision was implemented to ensure people enjoyed the movie to its fullest. So, no trailers, visuals, or videos were released before the film’s release. The movie was in the works for seven years, and Miyazaki claimed it was his audience’s choice whether they wanted to watch the movie or not.
Have you watched his latest masterpiece? Let us know what you think about the film!
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