THE BOY AND THE HERON: Best Animated Feature Winner Returns to Theaters This Month

The Academy Award-winning film from Hayao Miyazaki 'THE BOY AND THE HERON' returns to theaters nationwide starting on March 22!
The Boy and the Heron

On Sunday, Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. This win has been one of the many impactful moments during the 96th Annual Academy Awards and in celebration of this iconic win, GKIDS, the North American distributor for the Studio Ghibli library of films, will be bringing the feature back into theaters nationwide, starting on March 22.


The screenings will include exclusive bonus content featuring an introduction from the film’s composer Joe Hisaishi, who received a Golden Globe nod for his work on the film. It will also feature a recorded drawing session with supervising animator Takeshi Honda, who was honored at this year’s Annie Awards with a win for Best Character Animation.

The Boy and the Heron Still - 4 - Top 10 Movies of 2023
Courtesy of GKids and Studio Ghibli.

Both the original Japanese language as well as the English-language version will be included in these screenings featuring the voices of Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, Gemma Chan, Willem Dafoe, Karen Fukuhara, Mark Hamill, Robert Pattinson, and Florence Pugh.


This weekend’s achievement became a second Oscar win for the legendary director. He previously earned four nominations and won his first Oscar for Spirited Away (released in 2002). In 2014, he was recognized at the 2014 Governors Awards with the Academy’s Honorary Award for his exceptional contributions to cinema.

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Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and The Boy and The Heron are the only two hand-drawn films to win in the history of this category. It has also been additionally became the first Oscar win for producer Toshio Suzuki, who earned three nominations previously.

The Boy and the Heron is GKIDS’ highest-grossing release of its 16-year history and Studio Ghibli’s highest-grossing film in North America. As of right now, it has earned $46 million at the North American box office, also hitting the milestone of highest-grossing original Japanese animated film of all time.

The Boy and the Heron
Courtesy of GKids and Studio Ghibli.

The film made its international premiere at the Opening Night Gala of the 48th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). tickets immediately sold out and the film received positive reviews, making it in the top three for the TIFF People’s Choice Awards. For Best Animated Feature, the film has won the BAFTA Award and several other prestigious critics awards including the New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association honors.

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GKIDS released the film in cinemas and IMAX nationwide on December 8, 2023, marking the first title in the Studio Ghibli catalog to be released in IMAX premium formats and opening at No. 1. You can check out our full thoughts on the film here.

About The Boy and the Heron

The Boy and the Heron - Domestic Release Poster

Release: December 8, 2023
Original Story and Screenplay Written and Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki
Producer: Toshio Suzuki
Music: Joe Hisaishi
Sound Designer/Re-Recording Mixer: Koji Kasamatsu
Supervising Animator: Takeshi Honda
Art Director: Yoji Takeshige
Production: Studio Ghibli
Distribution: GKIDS
Cast: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki, AIMYON, Yoshino Kimura, Takuya Kimura, Jun Kunimura, Shohei Hino

Synopsis: After losing his mother during the war, young Mahito moves to his family’s estate in the countryside. There, a series of mysterious events lead him to a secluded and ancient tower, home to a mischievous gray heron. When Mahito’s new stepmother disappears, he follows the gray heron into the tower and enters a fantastic world shared by the living and the dead. As he embarks on an epic journey with the heron as his guide, Mahito must uncover the secrets of this world and the truth about himself.

What do you guys think? Are you a fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s work? What’s your favorite Studio Ghibli film? Will you be planning to see The Boy and the Heron in theaters when it re-releases? Let us know and don’t forget to check out our socials and Discord! If you like this article, make sure to follow us for more content.


KEEP READING: THE BOY AND THE HERON English vs. Japanese Dub Comparison of This Animated Masterpiece


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Stephanie Ramirez

A film/tv enthusiast who loves everything nerdy including: Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, Comics and Books.