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Wow! Studio Ghibli Movies Will Stream on the Upcoming HBO Max

Same, Porco. Same.
Same, Porco. Same.
Image: Studio Ghibli

The streaming rights to the works of Studio Ghibli have long been a complicated and arcane thing. It has seemed like an impossibility to have anything even remotely near a complete archive of the beloved animation house’s work available to stream. We’re in the age of the streaming wars, however, and the impossible is possible...for the right amount.

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HBO has just announced that in a landmark deal with GKids, Studio Ghibli’s “complete library” of films will stream exclusively on its upcoming service HBO Max—the first time ever that distribution rights in the U.S. have been licensed for streaming. The announcement comes just days after GKids told Polygon that the collection would never be made available to stream as a commitment to the theatrical experience. Funny how things change!

The deal covers all 21 current Ghibli films (including The Wind Rises, which is set to release stateside Fall 2020)—one of the most revered collections of animated films around. The 20 released films so far, including icons like Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, and more, will be made available upon HBO Max’s launch in Spring 2020.

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The move comes as Warner Bros. shores up its launch catalog for the service in the hopes of competing with the likes of Netflix and the rapidly-incoming Disney+.

Aside from planning original content and shuffling around shows like Doom Patrol from its DC-centric streaming platform DC Universe, the studio had already announced other exclusive streaming deals for Max like access to the entirety of modern Doctor Who or Sesame Street.

We’ll bring you more on Warner’s plans for HBO Max as and when we learn them.

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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

For those slightly confused, Disney dropped the Ghibli license several years ago, picked up by GKIDS starting with From Up on Poppy Hill and eventually migrating completely from Disney to GKIDS back in 2017.

For those wondering, the GKIDS release of Castle of the Sky includes both the original Disney dub (with the orchestral score) and the revamped one (with the original score), though it remains to be seen if both will be available on HBO Max. Kiki, however, only includes the revamped dub Disney released in 2010. The original Streamline dub and original Disney dub (with Phil Hartman’s improv lines) are still only on those original releases and will likely not be on HBO Max.