Hayao Miyazaki’s next (and supposedly final — although he’s said that before) movie is supposed to be released in Japan in a little over a month. To date, though, there’s almost nothing known about the movie beyond a title — How Do You Live? — and the fact that it is based on a famous Japanese novel of the same name about a boy coming of age after his father dies. There’s been no announced voice cast, there’s no official plot synopsis, there’s no U.S. release date. Nothing.
Most unusually and surprisingly, there isn’t a single trailer — even though the movie is barely six weeks out from its debut, something that is almost unheard of in the world of international cinema. Every single movie, including films that are far smaller than How Do You Live?, have at least one trailer a month prior to its release. So what is going on?
In a new interview (via The Hollywood Reporter), Miyazaki’s producer, Toshio Suzuki, said that this was entirely by design: No trailer was coming before the movie is released in Japan. As he put it,
There’s an American movie — ah, I almost said the title out loud! — coming out this summer around the same time [as How Do You Live?] … They’ve 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 moviegoers feel about that? There must be people, who, after watching all the trailers, don’t want to actually go see the movie. So, I wanted to do the opposite of that.
Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli first announced the film’s release date in December of 2022, tweeting a poster for the movie, along with its “tentative” title, which hasn’t changed so far.
Suzuki noted that this was a deliberate change of pace for Ghibli, noting “Doing the same thing you’ve done before, over and over, you get tired of it. So we wanted to do something different.”
We’ll have to see whether the studio (and whoever it partners with to distribute the film in the U.S.) takes the same approach whenever How Do You Live? makes its release in America. I would worry that the movie will get completely lost without some kind of trailer to promote it. Then again, Miyazaki movies are always events; at the very least, animation fans are going to show up for this one, whether they hype it or not.