Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Boy and the Heron’ launches with huge success in Japan – The Hollywood Reporter

Turns out, Hayao Miyazaki had nothing to worry about.

Ahead of the release of his highly anticipated latest feature film The boy and the heronIn Japan on Friday, the legendary animator reportedly voiced his concerns over Studio Ghibli’s unprecedented plan to do no marketing at all for the film — no trailers, no TV ads, not even an announced plot synopsis or cast. Two weeks before release, Ghibli co-founder and president Toshio Suzuki revealed At an event in Tokyo, Miyazaki was a little worried about the decision not to promote what is likely to be his final film. “I believe in you, Mr. Suzuki,” Miyazaki said. “But I’m worried…”

Suzuki reportedly defended his strategy by saying, “In my opinion, in this age of so much information, the lack of information is entertainment.” I don’t know if that will work. But I believe in it.”

Needless to say, Miyazaki probably feels reassured now.

The boy and the heron He earned $13.2 (1.83 billion yen) from Friday through Sunday, according to ComScore. In yen terms, this is the biggest opening in Studio Ghibli history Howl’s Moving CastleThe 1.48 billion yen debut in 2004 (The yen is currently trading at historical weakness against the dollar, so when converted to dollars, howling actually earned a little more, namely $14 million). in imax, The boy and the heron The film opened for $1.7 million across 44 screens and set a new three-day record for the big screen operator in Japan.

However, Japan is notoriously a slow-growing cinema market, so a film’s reach and word-of-mouth are usually far more important than its initial success. From its $14 million start Howl’s Moving Castlefor example, ended up growing to $190 million compared to a local release that lasted 407 days.

No major western outlets have posted a review The boy and the heron Nonetheless, Japan-based media have described the film as offering an experience of “truly amazing” visual beauty and deep philosophical messages. Overall, the film has been described as more mature and enigmatic than much of the Ghibli catalog – it may require repeated viewing to fully appreciate it.

The boy and the heron will be released by specialty distributor GKIDS in North America sometime this year. On the festival scene, insiders are already raving about a possible international premiere at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, where “Miyazaki” will be screened Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), Ponyo (2008) and The wind is getting stronger (2013) were all shown outside of Japan for the first time.

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