If the ability to stream mindless hours of Friends or The Big Bang Theory or The West Wing wasn't enough to convince you to hand over your money to the new streaming service HBO Max, maybe Studio Ghibli will do the trick. HBO Max is the exclusive streaming home of the iconic Japanese animation studio's magical flims, and Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and almost all other Studio Ghibli movies will be available on the streaming service when it launches on May 27, with the notable exception of Grave of the Fireflies, which Studio Ghibli does not own the rights to.
"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, in a statement when HBO Max's acquisition of the Studio Ghibli library was announced last October. "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."
Studio Ghibli is one of the most influential and critically acclaimed animation houses in the entire world. Besides the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away, the collection includes revered favorites such as Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Ponyo, and The Tale of The Princess Kaguya. HBO Max is making every Studio Ghibli film available at launch, except for one, 1988's excellent and depressing World War II film Grave of the Fireflies, which was produced by Studio Ghibli for Japanese publisher Shinchosha. Studio Ghibli has never held the rights to Grave of the Fireflies, which is currently available to stream on Hulu.
Here's the list of Studio Ghibli films available on HBO Max at launch:
Castle in the Sky
The Cat Returns
From Up On Poppy Hill
Howl's Moving Castle
Kiki's Delivery Service
My Neighbor Totoro
My Neighbors the Yamadas
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
The Secret World of Arrietty
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya
Tales From Earthsea
When Marnie Was There
Whisper of the Heart
The Wind Rises
The impressive acquisition helps HBO Max to diversify its offerings as we head into the "Streaming Wars" era of television. Along with the broadcast favorites mentioned above, the streaming service will also have the HBO library, DC Universe series like Doom Patrol, and original series from J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele, and Stephen King, among others.
HBO Max debuts Wednesday, May 27.