Studio Ghibli and producer Toshio Suzuki have announced that there will be no commercials or trailers for “How Do You Live?” in Japan ahead of its July 14 release, according to a recent interview with Japanese magazine Bungei Shunji (translated by The Hollywood Reporter). All we’ve seen so far is a hand-drawn poster (below).
While the U.S. and overseas release dates have yet to be announced, producer and Studio Ghibli general manager Suzuki said the distribution company was trying to “do something different” with the release of “How Do You live?”
“As part of the company’s operations, Ghibli has wanted people to come and see the films we’ve made over the years,” Suzuki said. “So we thought about it and did a lot of different things for that purpose, but this time we were like, ‘Eh, we don’t need to do that.’ By doing the same things you did before, over and over again, you get tired. So we wanted to do something different.
Suzuki added, “There’s an American film – ah, I almost said the title out loud! — due out this summer around the same time (as “How Do You Live?”). They made three trailers for it and released them one at a time. If you watch all three, you know everything that’s going to happen in that movie. So how do viewers feel about it? There must be people who, after seeing all the trailers, don’t want to go see the movie. So, I wanted to do the opposite of that.
The highly anticipated new film from Studio Ghibli is Miyazaki’s first directorial effort since 2013’s “The Wind Rises.” The director came out of retirement in 2016 to announce “How Do You Live?” which is among the best animated releases of this summer. No international release date has been set, though a fall release is planned for the film in the United States
IndieWire has reached out to Studio Ghibli’s US representatives for comment.
“How do you live?” is an adaptation of Yoshino Genzaburo’s 1937 story about a boy who comes of age while living with his uncle after his father’s death. Miyazaki dedicates the film to his nephew.
“I’ve been involved in our films since Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (in 1984), but this was the first time Hayao Miyazaki sincerely praised me,” Suzuki recalled. “’Suzuki-san, that’s amazing. This is the best poster you’ve ever made,” he said. I felt like it was a suggestion, so I decided ‘Let’s just go with this poster for marketing.’ So, no trailers or TV ads…not even newspaper ads. Deep down, I think this is what viewers crave.
Suzuki previously provided an update on “How Do You Live?” in 2020, citing that while production continued during the COVID-19 lockdown, the film was still at least three years away from completion due to Miyazaki’s determination to draw each frame by hand.
“We’re still drawing everything by hand, but it takes longer to complete a film because we’re drawing more frames,” Suzuki said at the time. “So, there are more drawings to draw than before. Back when we were making My Neighbor Totoro, we only had eight animators. ‘Totoro’ we did it in eight months. (For) the current film Miyazaki is working on, we have 60 animators, but we are only able to make one minute of animation in a month. That means 12 months out of the year, you get 12 minutes of movie. We’ve actually been working on this movie for three years, so that means we’ve completed 36 minutes so far. Let’s hope it ends in the next three years.”
Suzuki admitted he was initially skeptical of signing on for another Miyazaki film after the director failed to back down.
“Many directors make films over and over and over again throughout their careers as they get older,” Suzuki said. “When Miyazaki came back and said I wanted to make a film again, I actually said it wasn’t a great idea because he’s already achieved so much. You can’t go back and do something you’ve done before, you have to do something different. One of the ideas that came up was, why not spend more time and money (to make a film)? So this is one of the new approaches.