HBO Max Acquires U.S. Streaming Rights to Studio Ghibli Library

HBO Max Acquires U.S. Streaming Rights to Studio Ghibli Library

HBO has announced a new acquisition to add to their fledgling streaming channel titled HBO Max. The company now holds the right to stream the works of renowned animation house Studio Ghibli. Ghibli is an Oscar-winning Japanese studio, proving HBO is planning to go big when it comes to their streaming service and the quality of films available there.

Public Statements

Both parties have made public statements about the deal, stressing its importance.

“Studio Ghibli films are visually breathtaking, completely immersive experiences,” said Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer at HBO Max. “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.”

Ghibli has also issued a statement, expressing similar sentiment.

“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 to enjoy their favorites and delve deeper into the library, while whole new audiences will be able to discover our films for the first time.”

Ghibli

Studio Ghibli is world-renowned studio established more than 30 years ago. In that time they have won nearly every available award for animation, in both Japan and abroad. Animated features are spearheaded by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata: two of Japan’s most famous animation artists. The studio’s film Spirited Away won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and four additional nominations were received for Howl’s Moving Castle, The Wind Rises, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There. 

Additionally, Miyazaki was honored with an Oscar for his lifetime achievements. Miyazaki and his work are, for many westerners, the first introduction into Japanese animation. Miyazaki’s films often focus on themes of nature vs. man, anti-war and the bonds of family and friendship. The protagonists are often girls and young women who are portrayed as determined and self-sufficient. Many artists around the world site Miyazaki as their inspiration.

Finances

Throughout the course of this arrangement, finances were left seemingly undiscussed. This is strange, considering the purchase of streaming rights happens quite often these days, and the final costs are typically made public. Both parties have opted to keep things quiet, however, and it is not clear why that is the case. Most likely the decision rests with the studio itself, and not by WB: owner of the HBO streaming site. An interesting thing about this arrangement is that its financial side was not discussed as at all. That’s strange since purchasing streaming right is the thing that happens quite often these days and it’s usually done rather openly when it comes to how much it cost.

Both parties have decided to keep things close to their vests in here and it’s not clear why that is the case. Probably it’s a decision by the studio and not by WB who is the owner of the HBO streaming site. After all, WB has had no qualms about discussing such matters in the past.

Context

This deal comes at an interesting time for the film industry. Streaming was previously dominated by Netflix, but new companies are swiftly rising to compete in the market. WB is no exception, and this deal is bound to be monumental for their success.