In an unprecedented move that has shocked and intrigued cinephiles around the globe, Studio Ghibli, the cherished animation house behind iconic films such as My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away, has announced that its latest production will be launched with no trailer.
This unconventional strategy is a bold step in a world where trailers are seen as a crucial marketing tool to drum up anticipation and curiosity amongst audiences.
Hayao Miyazaki’s Final Act
The film in question, How Do You Live?, is said to be the final offering from legendary director Hayao Miyazaki. Despite his previous declarations of retirement, Miyazaki has evidently returned to the director’s chair one last time. This film, based on a renowned Japanese novel of the same name, follows the poignant journey of a young boy coming of age after the death of his father.
A Groundbreaking Decision
With the release date looming in just over a month, details about the film have been surprisingly sparse. There’s been no announcement regarding the voice cast, no official plot synopsis, and no word on a U.S. release date.
What’s most shocking, however, is the absence of a trailer, especially considering that the film is just six weeks away from its debut. This is an unprecedented move in the world of international cinema, where even much smaller films than How Do You Live? typically release at least one trailer a month prior to hitting the big screen.
In a recent interview, the film’s producer, Toshio Suzuki, confirmed that this decision was entirely by design. He criticised the contemporary practice of releasing multiple trailers, arguing that they reveal too much about the film’s plot and can potentially dissuade potential viewers from watching the full feature. As a result, he expressed a desire to do “the opposite” and maintain the film’s mystique by foregoing a trailer entirely.
A Deliberate Change of Pace
Studio Ghibli first announced the release date of How Do You Live? in December 2022, unveiling a poster for the movie and its tentative title, which has remained unchanged since then (via Screen Crush).
Suzuki revealed that this groundbreaking approach marked a deliberate shift from the studio’s traditional practices, explaining, “Doing the same thing you’ve done before, over and over, you get tired of it. So we wanted to do something different.” This intriguing statement suggests a desire to challenge the status quo and breathe new life into the industry’s standard promotional practices.
Anticipation and Concerns
The decision has sparked a range of reactions. While some have praised Studio Ghibli’s innovative strategy, others have expressed concern that the film might struggle to gain traction without a trailer to pique audiences’ interest.
However, given the enduring popularity of Studio Ghibli’s films and the legendary status of Hayao Miyazaki, it seems likely that animation fans and moviegoers will eagerly flock to the cinema regardless. Indeed, a Miyazaki film has always been an event in itself, proving that the magic and allure of his storytelling could well transcend the need for traditional promotional methods.
Only time will tell whether this bold move will pay off, and whether it might signal a shift in how films are marketed in the future. As we anticipate the release of How Do You Live?, one thing is certain: Studio Ghibli continues to pioneer new pathways, challenging conventions and pushing the boundaries of the cinematic world.
A Bold Gamble or a New Trend?
It’s impossible to predict whether other studios will follow suit. The film industry is, after all, a business, and the commercial implications of such a move cannot be ignored. But in the grand scheme of things, How Do You Live? could become a game-changer, setting a precedent for a more minimalist and enigmatic approach to film promotion.
Even if this strategy remains an exception rather than the rule, it serves as a testament to Studio Ghibli’s commitment to preserving the artistry and mystery of cinema. It suggests a desire to let the film speak for itself, without the need for a promotional preamble.
As we await the release of How Do You Live?, one thing is clear: Studio Ghibli is not just a producer of extraordinary animations, but also a trailblazer that is not afraid to defy convention in pursuit of artistic integrity.
The Miyazaki Legacy
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Regardless of the success or failure of this no-trailer strategy, How Do You Live? will always have a special place in the annals of cinema as potentially the last film from the genius that is Hayao Miyazaki. Over the years, Miyazaki has given the world a rich legacy of animation that has touched millions of hearts across generations.
From Castle in the Sky to Princess Mononoke, and from Spirited Away to Ponyo, Miyazaki’s films have consistently embodied a profound respect for nature, a deep understanding of human emotions, and an extraordinary ability to bring fantasy to life. If How Do You Live? truly is his final directorial venture, it will be the closing chapter in a remarkable career, and we can only hope that it lives up to the exceptionally high standards set by its predecessors.
While the absence of a trailer means that we go into this film blind, perhaps it’s only fitting. After all, with a Miyazaki film, you can always expect the unexpected. And as we step into the unknown with How Do You Live?, it’s with the knowledge that we’re in the hands of a master storyteller, one who has never failed to enchant, inspire and move us in the most profound ways.
And so, as the curtain rises on this trail-less premiere, let us sit back, let go of our preconceptions and prepare to be transported to another world – the world of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. For in that world, magic is real, dreams come true, and the spirit of adventure always awaits.
What do you make of this news? Are you looking forward to watching this upcoming Studio Ghibli movie? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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