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Hayao Miyazaki’s 'The Boy and The Heron' to premiere in PH cinemas soon

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Oct 20, 2023 9:01 pm Updated Nov 21, 2023 7:03 pm

The wait is almost over, Pinoy Studio Ghibli fans. Hayao Miyazaki's film The Boy and The Heron is finally landing in theaters nationwide soon.

In a press release sent to local media on Oct. 20, Encore Films initially announced that it is bringing The Boy and the Heron to the Philippines as part of its successive releases of Japanese animated and live-action films in the country in November.

According to the Singapore-based film distributor, The Boy and The Heron was initially planned for a nationwide premiere on Nov. 29, after the exclusive releases of The Tunnel to Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes (Nov. 1) and City Hunter The Movie: Angel Dust (Nov. 8) in SM Cinemas. It also follows the screening of Tokyo MER: Mobile Emergency Room on Nov. 22 in Ayala Malls.

However, the company announced in an email sent to PhilSTAR L!fe on Nov. 21 that the film's premiere is postponed "to a later date that is yet to be determined."

"Updates will be sent once the new playdate is finalized," it noted.

Miyazaki's The Boy and The Heron has been making rounds online for a number of reasons. For starters, it was planned to be the 82-year-old animation master's final film, which he produced after coming out of retirement.

Studio Ghibli, the renowned Japanese animation studio that Mayazki co-founded, also announced in June that the movie will launch in Japan's cinemas without any trailer or promotional materials. They said the reason for this is that they wanted to pique people's interest by "doing something different" from the rest.

True enough, the film not only became the talk of the town since it was announced in December 2022 but it also became the biggest opening in Studio Ghibli's history, grossing 1.83 billion Japanese yen (P693 million) in its opening weekend.

It premiered in Japan on July 14 of this year as Kimitachi wa Dō Ikiru ka (How Do You Live?), with its rights acquired by GKIDS for a North American release on Dec. 8.

The critically acclaimed film, now titled The Boy and The Heron, has big Hollywood stars voicing its English-dubbed edition. It features Christian Bale as Shoichi Maki; Dave Bautista as The Parakeet King; Gemma Chan as Natsuko; Willem Dafoe as Noble Pelican; Karen Fukuhara as Lady Himi; Mark Hamill as Granduncle; Robert Pattinson as The Gray Heron and Florence Pugh as Kiriko.

The Boy and The Heron follows a boy named Mahito who enters a magical world with a talking gray heron after finding an abandoned tower in his new town. Yearning for his mother, Mahito ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead where death comes to an end and life finds a new beginning.  

In a surprising turn of events, Studio Ghibli announced last September that this would not be Miyazaki's last film. In an interview with CBC at the Toronto International Film Festival, Studio Ghibli vice president Junichi Nishioka said that the animation master has been pitching them new movie ideas since The Boy and The Heron hit the big screen.

“Other people say that this might be [Miyazaki’s] last film, but he doesn’t feel that way at all,” Nishioka told the outlet. “He is currently working on ideas for a new film. He comes into his office every day and does that. This time, he’s not going to announce his retirement at all. He’s continuing working just as he has always done.”

Editor's note: This story was updated to include the postponement of The Boy and The Heron's local playdate.