In a rare move amidst a world crammed full of marketing gimmicks, Japan's Studio Ghibli has revealed that it is not releasing any trailer or promotional materials for Hayao Miyazaki's final film, How Do You Live?
Since the film was first announced on Dec. 13, 2022, Studio Ghibli has not released any other details about it—no synopsis, characters, or voice actors—except for one vague poster that shows a bird's head and the movie's title.
The reason for this, according to Ghibli’s lead producer Toshio Suzuki, is that the renowned anime studio wants to pique people's interest by doing something different from the rest.
"As part of company operations, over the years Ghibli has wanted people to come see the movies we’ve made. So we’ve thought about that and done a lot of different things for that purpose—but this time we were like, ‘Eh, we don’t need to do that," Suzuki said in an interview with local magazine Bungei Shunji.
“Doing the same thing you’ve done before, over and over, you get tired of it. So we wanted to do something different," he added.
In the interview carried by Hollywood Reporter, Suzuki also compared Ghibli's approach to those conventionally done by animated studios in Hollywood.
He explained, "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," he continued.
Suzuki later revealed in the interview that the light-bulb moment happened when Miyazaki, who the producer has been working with for almost four decades, complimented his poster for the first time.
He recalled, “I’ve been involved with our movies since Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), but this was the first time Hayao Miyazaki genuinely praised me. ‘Suzuki-san, this is amazing. This is the best poster you’ve ever made,’ he said. I felt like that was a hint, so I decided ‘Let’s go with just this one poster for the marketing.’ So, no trailers or TV commercials at all … No newspaper ads either. Deep down, I think this is what moviegoers latently desire.”
How Do You Live? is "a grand fantasy film" inspired by Genzaburo Yoshino’s 1937 novel of the same title. The book features the story of a 15-year-old boy named Junichi Honda and his spiritual growth, poverty, and all other experiences following the death of his father.
The film is set to hit theaters in Japan on July 14, with no word yet on its international release.