Miyazaki Animated Films End Streaming Holdout With HBO Max Deal

(Bloomberg) -- The lyrical animated films of director Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli have never been available on a streaming service, but that will change next year when they arrive on WarnerMedia’s coming HBO Max.

Almost the entire library of Studio Ghibli’s 21 movies, including “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Princess Mononoke” and the Academy Award winner “Spirited Away,” will be on HBO Max when it launches in the spring, WarnerMedia and North American distributor GKids said Thursday. “The Wind Rises” will be added in the fall.

Miyazaki Animated Films End Streaming Holdout With HBO Max Deal

Studio Ghibli had resolutely resisted offering its films for streaming, favoring theatrical releases and for-purchase physical media. The website Polygon just ran a story on Tuesday headlined, “Why you may never see Studio Ghibli’s movies on streaming services.”

Polygon cited an email from earlier this year in which a GKids representative explained the holdout, saying that Studio Ghibli’s executives “continue to believe that presentation is vital and particularly appreciate opportunities for audiences to experience the films together in a theatrical setting.”

Miyazaki Animated Films End Streaming Holdout With HBO Max Deal

There was no sign of that reticence Thursday. “As a premium content brand, HBO Max is an ideal home for our films,” Studio Ghibli Chairman Koji Hoshino said in the statement.

WarnerMedia is shoring up children’s programming as a key element of HBO Max, which will be taking on Netflix Inc. and an array of competitors in the crowded streaming marketplace. The AT&T Inc. unit announced earlier this month an expanded deal for “Sesame Street” shows.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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