New Hayao Miyazaki Anime is the Most Expensive Japanese Film Ever Made, Says Studio Ghibli Producer

Despite a lack of marketing, ‘The Boy and the Heron’ has been described by Studio Ghibli as having the largest budget of any Japanese film ever.


  • Studio Ghibli’s upcoming film, The Boy and the Heron, potentially has the highest budget of any Japanese film ever produced.
  • The exact budget for the film has not been revealed, but it is expected to exceed the previous title holder, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which cost ¥5 billion.
  • Despite the secrecy surrounding the film’s plot, audience reactions in Japan have been positive, and it has already surpassed ¥6 billion at the domestic box office.



Studio Ghibli has been surprisingly tight-lipped about its upcoming feature The Boy and the Heron. A top executive at the studio has given one impressive detail, asserting that the film has potentially the highest budget of any Japanese film, anime or live-action, ever.

In a Japanese-language article from Livedoor News, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki claims that the film is the most expensive ever produced in Japan. In a translation provided by World of Reel, Suzuki is credited as saying, “I think this movie probably cost the most to produce than any movie made in Japan so far.” As one of the co-founders of Studio Ghibli along with Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata in 1985, Suzuki can certainly be trusted to understand the production of this final film from its studio’s most legendary director.

While the exact budgetary number was not revealed for the film, the impressive figure wouldn’t be a huge surprise. Prior to The Boy and the Heron, the previous title holder for most expensive Japanese film was also another Ghibli anime. Isao Takahata’s 2013 Ghibli feature The Tale of Princess Kaguya, is reported to have cost ¥5 billion yen. With Kaguya’s budget roughly equating to a little over $64 million 2023 USD when converted and adjusted for inflation, it wouldn’t be surprising that the budget for The Boy and the Heron could go over that.

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Plot details for The Boy and the Heron have remained evasive outside of Japanese audience spoilers, as Ghibli management has encouraged audiences to go into the film with as few preconceptions as possible. Audience and critical reactions in Japan have so far regarded the film as one of Miyazaki’s most visually-striking and fantastical. The film’s original working English-language title prior to The Boy and the Heron was “How Do You Live?”, a name taken from a classic Japanese novel written in 1937 that Miyazaki has expressed a strong affinity for. The Boy and the Heron, however, is not intended as a direct adaptation of the novel.

Since its release in Japan earlier this month, the box office for The Boy and the Heron has already rocketed past ¥6 billion yen in its domestic office alone, as reported by Japan’s Mantan Web. While parsing out a movie’s profitability is a lot more complicated than simply subtracting the budget from the gross, the relative reliance on word-of-mouth marketing—a bold decision that Suzuki himself had a hand in—would also mean that there aren’t as many promotional campaigns added on top of the costs of the production itself. Although it has yet to cross the box-office milestones of previous Miyazaki films (Spirited Away earned a massive pull of over ¥31 billion yen), the Japanese domestic run is far from over—not to mention its success in international markets.

Described as the final movie from legendary director Hayao Miyazaki (though not the first film for which that claim has been made), Studio Ghibli has been intentionally secretive with details about The Boy and the Heron, releasing only one official marketing poster and foregoing large-scale press promotion or even a theatrical trailer. The film is currently set to be distributed in North American theaters by GKIDS later in 2023, although a firm release date has yet to be revealed.

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Categorías: Anime

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