Japanese director Hayao Miyakazi smiles during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Sep. 6, 2013. EFE FILE/Franck Robichon

New Miyazaki film nets Studio Ghibli’s best opening in Japan

Tokyo, Jul 21 (EFE).- The new and possibly last film by renowned Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, “Kimitachi wa Do Ikiru ka” (How do you live?) has become Studio Ghibli’s best-ever Japanese box-office debut, even beating the Oscar-winning “Spirited Away” in its first week.

A man stretches after watching Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki's animated film "Howl's Moving Castle" in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov. 23, 2023. EFE FILE/Franck Robichon

The film, in English titled “The Boy and the Heron,” opened on July 14 in some 400 Japanese cinemas and took 2.14 billion yen (almost $15.3 million) in its first four days of release, ahead of “Spirited Away” (2001), which grossed some 12 million yen in the same period, according to data from the specialized agency Kogyo.

This figure is also around 50 percent more than what Miyazaki’s previous film, “The Wind Rises” (2013), achieved in the same timeframe at the box office, and despite the fact that both this film and “Spirited Away” had strong advertising campaigns in the country.

Unlike previous releases, “How do you live?” opened in cinemas without any kind of synopsis or trailer with only the title known, as well as a poster showing one of the characters in the film: a blue heron.

This unusual strategy on the part of its producer, Toshio Suzuki, prompted Japanese fans flocked to see the film to find out what it was about.

The movie follows Mahito Maki, a 12-year-old boy who, after losing his mother, moves to rural Japan during World War II and has to cope with his new reality.

Despite this realist beginning, and similarities to “The Wind Rises,” Miyazaki abandons this route and incorporates magical and fantasy elements in an allusion to his entire filmography through which we follow Mahito and a blue heron that guides him in a parallel world. EFE