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Netflix to stream Studio Ghibli films... but not in the US

Over the next three months, Netflix subscribers in select countries will be able to watch acclaimed classics including Spirited Away and Howl's Castle.

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Studio Ghibli films will be available on Netflix in select countries.

Netflix

Netflix has snapped up the rights to stream Studio Ghibli's library of acclaimed animated films, but only in countries outside of the US, Canada and Japan. Starting Feb.1, 21 movies from the Japanese film studio will come to Netflix, according to the streaming service's regional Twitter accounts.

The first wave of films will include My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service, with a second group including Princess Mononoke and the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away arriving one month later on March 1. The final set of films, which includes Howl's Moving Castle, will hit Netflix on April 1. The films will be subtitled in 28 languages and dubbed in up to 20.

It's great news for fans of the films living in countries including the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, as those with a Netflix subscription will soon be able to stream the catalog at no additional cost. But fans living in the North America will have to go elsewhere for their Ghibli fix.

That's because HBO bought the rights to stream films in the US in 2019. It announced in October that the same 21 movies will be available on its own streaming service HBO Max when it launches this May. Some existing HBO subscribers will get HBO Max for free, but others will have to pay $15 per month for the Netflix rival.

It's already common for movies and shows to be available on different services in different countries, but as streaming wars heat up both in the US and internationally, the fight to offer popular classics alongside new original series is likely to become increasingly fraught.

For Ghibli fans, having the option to stream the films at all this year will be a novelty -- even if it means subscribing to a different service. Until recently, Studio Ghibli did not offer its movies in any digital format, including for download, but it's taking steps this decade to make them available beyond DVD releases.

"In this day and age, there are various great ways a film can reach audiences," said Studio Ghibli Producer Toshio Suzuki in a press release. "We've listened to our fans and have made the definitive decision to stream our film catalogue. We hope people around the world will discover the world of Studio Ghibli through this experience."

"This is a dream come true for Netflix and millions of our members," added Aram Yacoubian, Netflix's director of original animation.

Here's the full list of Studio Ghibli films with the dates they'll arrive on Netflix over the next three months.

Arriving Feb. 1

  • Castle in the Sky (1986) 
  • My Neighbor Totoro (1988) 
  • Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) 
  • Only Yesterday (1991) 
  • Porco Rosso (1992) 
  • Ocean Waves (1993) 
  • Tales from Earthsea (2006)

Arriving March 1

  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) 
  • Princess Mononoke (1997) 
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999) 
  • Spirited Away (2001) 
  • The Cat Returns (2002) 
  • Arrietty (2010) 
  • The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

Arriving April 1

  • Pom Poko (1994) 
  • Whisper of the Heart (1995) 
  • Howl's Moving Castle (2004) 
  • Ponyo (2008) 
  • From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) 
  • The Wind Rises (2013) 
  • When Marnie Was There (2014)