Not even 24 hours after we reported that Studio Ghibli’s library of legendary anime classics might never be available on American streaming platforms (presumably due to North American distributor GKids’ fondness for DVD sales), HBO Max has stepped in and made us all look like fools. As announced today in a press release, the WarnerMedia streaming platform has just picked up the streaming rights to the entire Studio Ghibli library in what we can only assume was a deal that involved a great deal of money. This will mark the first time that Studio Ghibli movies have been available on a streaming platform, and at least some of them—specifically Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo, Castle In The Sky, and The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya—will be available at launch.
Ghibli fans will recognize that the aforementioned list includes most of the good movies, but it is certainly not all of the good movies. The press release has a longer list of general Studio Ghibli movies that may or may not be available at launch, but even that list doesn’t seem complete. It includes 2014's When Marie Was There and promises Hayao Miyazaki’s WWII movie The Wind Rises for fall 2020, but there’s no mention of the devastating Grave Of The Fireflies (which might actually be good news, who knows). HBO Max is promising “the entire Studio Ghibli film library,” though, so we might have to wait until we get closer to the launch of HBO Max to see what that means.
Either way, the Ghibli movies are joining a stacked lineup on HBO Max, which also includes high-profile content like Doctor Who, The Big Bang Theory, Sesame Street, a Grease reboot, Friends, a new season of Search Party, a new take on Gossip Girl, and some of the content that you could be watching on the DC Universe app.