The Japanese Animation Studio, Studio Ghibli, has announced that the animated film “How Do You Live?” will be released with no advertising or preview videos. The upcoming movie, which will premiere in Japanese theatres on July 14, 2023, is undoubtedly the most awaited movie to hit Japanese theatres in years; however, barely anything is known about the film except for the poster and the title.
Previously, Ghibli explained the film as a ‘great fantasy’ and is inspired by the prominent Japanese author Genzaburo Yoshino’s 1937 novel How Do You Live?; the novel’s storyline focuses on a boy growing up in the 1937’s and his experience and how they apply to us. Along with a short description, the animation studio released a poster of the movie; however, after the poster’s release, they said nothing about the film, no promotions, no plot summary, and no voice cast. During an interview on Friday, the Ghibli’s lead producer, Bungei Sunji, talked about the forthcoming film and said nothing more will be revealed about the movie before it gets premiered in the theatres. Bungei said,
Oh, yeah, we decided not to do any. I mean, how should I put this?” As part of company operations, Ghibli has wanted people to see the movies we’ve made. So we’ve thought about that and done many different things for that purpose, but this time we were like ‘Eh, we don’t need to do that.
Further, in the same interview, Bungie explained the reason for his no marketing strategy in contrast to an upcoming Hollywood film’s marketing method. Bungie said,
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?],” he said. “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.
Suzuki said that Miyazaki’s praise of the animated film’s initial poster was what eventually influenced him to choose such a daring and minimal strategy for its release. In the interview, he talked about the same and said,
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.
It is a daring and novel marketing strategy. Studio Ghibli is the most prestigious animation studio in Japan as well as in the world. For years, Ghibli has decreased the amount of promotion and film marketing in fear that they might be over-exposed and lose the sorcery in the audience.
The Japanese-awaited movie, How Do You Live?, will premiere in Japan on July 14, 2023; however, the studio hasn’t announced the release dates in the United States and internationally yet. Guess we have to wait a bit more to watch this fascinating film by Ghibli Studios.