The entire streaming landscape is changing, quickly. Entertainment companies are trying to reclaim their rightful franchises so that they can stream it on their own services. NBC paid billions of dollars to rebuy the rights to The Office, and WB did the same so that Friends and The Big Bang Theory could be streamed on HBO Max, while Disney let the deal they had with Netflix expire so that they could get their content back so that it could be streamed on Disney+. And WB’s latest move only leaves fewer franchises left for mainstream streaming sites like Netflix.
WB has acquired the streaming rights to all of the Studio Ghibli films, which will now be added to their HBO Max streaming services. More on the report below.
The news was confirmed by THR. According to them, the entire Studio Ghibli library will be available to stream on the premium service starting spring 2020. Titles include, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo, Spirited Away, The Wind Rises, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, and more.
But the news also comes as a bit of a shock, considering GKids had no plans to bring Ghibli films to streaming. This was based on the wishes of the animation studio to preserve the theatrical experience. However, it looks like GKids is doing a bit of backpedaling, as they have expressed that that the sentiment was untrue.
“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,” said Koji Hoshino, Chairman of Studio Ghibli. “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.”
“Studio Ghibli films are visually breathtaking, completely immersive experiences,” Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max and president of TNT, TBS and truTV, said in a statement. “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.”
Now, it’s not all bad. Finding a theater that showed a Ghibli film was extremely hard and could only be seen if you lived in some of the bigger cities, if it was shown during a Fathom Event, or if you bought it on Blu-ray. Of course, now these films can be seen in the comfort of your own home, through HBO Max. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with the theatrical experience.