Earlier this week, GKids, which owned the North American distribution rights to Studio Ghibli’s films including animated classics like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, declared that the films of Hayao Miyazaki will probably never appear on a streaming service. (Miyazaki describes himself as a “man of the 20th century” who doesn’t “want to deal with the 21st.” Same.) “Studio Ghibli does not make their films available digitally, whether for download or streaming, anywhere in the world,” a representative told Polygon. “They continue to believe that presentation is vital and particularly appreciate opportunities for audiences to experience the films together in a theatrical setting.”
A lot can change in a week.
HBO Max will be the U.S. streaming home to the entire Studio Ghibli film library, “one of the world’s most coveted and revered animation catalogues,” according to a press release. “The landmark deal with North American distributor GKIDS for the twenty-one Studio Ghibli feature films marks the first time these beloved films have been licensed to a streaming platform.” The titles, including Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Kiki’s Delivery Service, will be available when HBO Max launches in 2020.
Previously, Studio Ghibli movies were only available through home media and Ghibli Fest screenings, but now My Neighbor Totoro — which should be required viewing for every child — will only be a click (and subscription to HBO Max) away.