Beloved Studio Ghibli films are streaming now on Netflix, coming soon to HBO MAX
At a stage event on March 7 for an exhibition based on The Story of Ghibli Museum photobook that is scheduled to be released soon, Studio Ghibli producer and previous president, Toshio Suzuki held a panel session talking about the museum and the studio as a whole. At the end of the panel, Suzuki answered questions from attendees and the topic came up of Studio Ghibli films on digital services, and why the “ban” was lifted for Netflix and HBO MAX to stream Studio Ghibli films.
Suzuki, who is more on the business side of the Studio Ghibli, was frank and explained that the “digital distribution ban” was lifted to “make money for film production.” Hayao Miyazaki, who said he retired when The Wind Rises completed productions, is once again directing a film at the anime studio. Titled How Do You Live?, as of December, around 15% of the film was completed. Suzuki stated that “Hayao Miyazaki is currently making a movie, but that takes a lot of time. And, of course, money.”
Continuing on, Suzuki explained that “Hayao Miyazaki doesn’t know what streaming services are. He doesn’t use computers or smartphones.” Using that point, Suzuki was able to convince him to lift the digital ban and sell off the streaming rights to the back catalog of anime films to outside companies.
On the topic of why Suzuki chose Netflix for international streaming rights outside of North America and Japan – with HBO MAX securing the rights for the films in North America, partnering with GKIDS –, Suzuki explained that even though he’s an old man, he’s an old man that likes technology and is “interested in the new movies that are being made on Netflix. It’s more likely that new films will be created for Netflix’s service. As a film creator, even though I think that cinemas and DVD’s are important (for a film release), I also think that (digital distribution) is important.”
Netflix starting launching Studio Ghibli anime films on February 1 and March 1, with the last batch, featuring Hayao Miyazaki’s last film, The Wind Rises, and fan-favorite Howl's Moving Castle on April 1. HBO MAX will launch a collection of Studio Ghibli films when the service launches in North American in May 2020, with the rest hitting the service eventually.
© 2001 Studio Ghibli - NDDTM
© 2004 Studio Ghibli - NDDMT
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs the YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.