Visionary director Hayao Miyazaki is at last returning to Australian cinemas, with Crunchyroll and Sony acquiring AU and NZ rights to the Studio Ghibli film The Boy and the Heron.
The Boy and the Heron (previously titled How Do You Live?) will hit Australian cinemas on 7 December, with both Japanese and English versions to choose from. The original Japanese version will also have English subtitles.
The official synopsis is as follows: A young boy named Mahito, yearning for his mother, ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead. There, death comes to an end, and life finds a new beginning. A semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death, and creation, in tribute to friendship, from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki.
An official trailer has also been released, walking back previous claims that the film would not be marketed.
Produced by Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki, The Boy and the Heron is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s Miyazaki’s first hand-drawn, original animated film in ten years, during which period he has announced and recalled his retirement a handful of times.
The film also features a musical score from Miyazaki’s long-time collaborator Joe Hisaishi, and the theme song for the film ‘Spinning Globe’ was written and performed by J-pop superstar Kenshi Yonezu.
The Japanese cast is led by Soma Santoki as Mahito Maki and Masaki Suda as The Gray Heron. Additional casting includes Ko Shibaski (Kiriko), AIMYON (Lady Himi), Yoshino Kimura (Natsuko), and Takuya Kimura (Shoichi Maki).
The English language dubbed version of the film will feature the voices of Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, Gemma Chan, Willem Dafoe, Karen Fukuhara, Mark Hamill, Robert Pattinson, and Florence Pugh.
GKIDS handled casting and produced the English version in close consultation with Studio Ghibli, with ADR direction by Michael Sinterniklaas at NYAV Post, and English script adaptation by Stephanie Sheh. The English language dub was produced in accordance with the SAG-AFTRA Foreign Dubbing Agreement.
The Boy and the Heron debuted in Japan on July 14, where it surpassed Spirited Away’s opening four-day box office. The film made its international premiere at the Opening Night Gala of the 48th Toronto International Film Festival on September 7. Tickets to all five TIFF screenings sold out in record time, and the film received glowing reviews and placed top three for the TIFF People’s Choice Awards.
The film’s run time is 124 Minutes.
The Boy and the Heron is out in Australian cinemas from 7 December 2023.