All Studio Ghibli Films to Make Their Streaming Debut on HBO Max

     October 17, 2019


Since 1996, Disney and GKIDS have handled the global distribution for Studio Ghibli, the revolutionary Japanese animation studio founded by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata that gave us acclaimed titles like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. It would thus make sense that Disney+ would nab the streaming rights for these films, right? WRONG. A GKIDS representative recently told Polygon that “Studio Ghibli does not make their films available digitally, whether for download or streaming, anywhere in the world.” Okay, so, Studio Ghibli movies just won’t stream anywhere, and we’ll be content with the handsome Blu-rays available. Right? WRONG AGAIN. In a startling turn of events, HBO Max has landed the exclusive streaming rights for all of Studio Ghibli’s output, starting in 2020.

Kevin Reilly, HBO Max’s Chief Content Officer, summed up the appeal of Studio Ghibli’s films in a succinctly lyrical press release, calling them “visually breathtaking, completely immersive experiences… Exciting, enchanting, and deeply humanistic, these wonderful films have captured people’s hearts around the world, and we are proud to showcase them in an accessible way for even more fans through HBO Max.”


Image via Toho

This is genuinely exciting news for film and animation fans across the globe, and we can’t wait to hear about the next great animator who’s inspired to make their own creation after checking out Kiki’s Delivery Service or Porco Rosso on the easily obtainable HBO Max. Hold on, though: why did Studio Ghibli make such a wild about face from their original statements about a purposeful lack of digital availability? You won’t be able to tell from Studio Ghibli chairman Koji Hoshino‘s effusive statement:

We are excited to be working with HBO Max to bring the complete collection of Studio Ghibli films to streaming audiences in the US. As a premium content brand, HBO Max is an ideal home for our films… Upon launch of the service this spring, existing Ghibli fans will be able enjoy their favorites and delve deeper into the library, while whole new audiences will be able to discover our films for the first time.

I guess we should, like a protagonist in a Ghibli film, accept the magic spiritualism present in the situation, and simply celebrate the fact that we’ll be able to stream some wonderful works of animation on HBO Max starting in 2020. For more on what HBO Max has to offer, check out our coverage of the upcoming Grease prequel. And here’s a list of some of the Studio Ghibli titles available:

Castle in the Sky
The Cat Returns
From Up On Poppy Hill
Howl’s Moving Castle
Kiki’s Delivery Service
My Neighbor Totoro
My Neighbors the Yamadas
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Ocean Waves
Only Yesterday
Pom Poko
Porco Rosso
Princess Mononoke
The Secret World of Arrietty
Spirited Away
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya
Tales From Earthsea
When Marnie Was There
Whisper of the Heart
The Wind Rises (launching Fall 2020)

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