HBO Max announced the acquisition of exclusive U.S. streaming rights to the Studio Ghibli film library, giving films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbor Totoro an on-demand digital home for the first time.
In an announcement today (h/t Deadline), HBO Max confirmed a deal that secured 21 Studio Ghibli films for viewing on HBO Max, a streaming service planned to launch in the spring of 2020. The deal is huge not only for the sheer volume of films but because Ghibli films have been notoriously hard to view publicly in North America, where they had been limited to fan festivals and limited theatrical runs. Although many films are available for private purchase, they’ve never been on modern streaming services. This includes historically relevant films like Spirited Away, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003, and films like Howl’s Moving Castle.
HBO Max’s price at launch is currently unknown, although it may cost close to $15 if it follows a similar model to current HBO subscriptions. The service includes shows such as Aaron McGruder’s The Boondocks and Sesame Street. Yes, that Sesame Street. This fresh acquisition means it will also be the place to go to if you want to watch some of the best and most culturally relevant Japanese animation of the last few decades.