A plain young hatter named Sophie has her life changed when an evil witch transforms her into an old woman. Unable to face her family in such a condition, Sophie runs away in search of a way to become young again. Along the way, Sophie helps a turnip headed scarecrow, who repays her by leading her to the moving castle owned by the dreaded wizard Howl. There she befriends Howl's apprentice Markl, Howl's fire demon Calcifer, and eventually, Howl himself. Sophie then becomes the castle's cleaning lady in an effort to not only find the solution to her problem but to save Howl from his own terrible secrets as well.
Howl's Moving Castle (ハウルの動く城 Hauru no Ugoku Shiro?, lit. Howl's Moving Castle) is a 2004 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli and based on Diana Wynne Jones' novel of the same name. Mamoru Hosoda, director of one season and two movies from the Digimon series, was originally selected to direct but abruptly left the project, leaving the then-retired Miyazaki to take up the director's role.
The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 5, 2004 and was released in Japanese theaters on November 20, 2004. It went on to gross $231,710,455 worldwide, making it one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history. The film was subsequently dubbed into English by Pixar's Peter Docter and distributed in North America by Walt Disney Pictures. It received a limited release in the United States and Canada beginning June 10, 2005 and was released nationwide in Australia on September 22 and in the UK the following September.