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Studio Ghibli movies are headed to HBO Max as the streaming wars heat up

(Image credit: Ghibli)

For the first time ever, movies by the Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli are coming to a streaming service. And no, it's not Netflix, Amazon Prime or even Disney Plus – it's HBO Max which has bagged the rights.

The much-loved catalogue, which includes animated classics such as Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, will be available to stream on HBO Max when the service launches in spring of 2020.

The entire Studio Ghibli back catalogue will be coming to HBO Max – interesting considering that Spirited Away, the animation house's most successful film, was original distributed in the US by Disney.

A big win for HBO

"We are excited to be working with HBO Max to bring the complete collection of Studio Ghibli films to streaming audiences in the U.S. As a premium content brand, HBO Max is an ideal home for our films," said Koji Hoshino, chairman of Studio Ghibli, in a statement to Variety

"Upon launch of the service this spring, existing Ghibli fans will be able enjoy their favorites and delve deeper into the library, while whole new audiences will be able to discover our films for the first time."

It's a day many thought would never come – as Hayao Miyazaki, founder of the studio and leading creative force behind many of the films, has been outspoken of his dislike for streaming services previously.