Studio Ghibli's New Movie Will Stream on HBO Max as It Hits Theaters

Earwig’s magical journey is taking her to some strange places next month.
Earwig’s magical journey is taking her to some strange places next month.
Screenshot: GKids

It’s not quite the day-and-date drop that Warner Bros. is doing for its entire theatrical slate this year, but next month you’ll be able to see beloved animation house Studio Ghibli’s first feature-length CG movie from the comfort of your own home just days after it hits theaters.

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GKids confirmed today that Goro Miyazaki’s Earwig and the Witch will hit theaters on February 3, in a limited run of its English-dub and subtitled versions with Fathom Events. But the distributor also confirmed that just two days later, on February 5, the film will be made available for streaming on HBO Max—the current U.S. streaming home for every title in the Studio Ghibli back catalogue—at no extra cost.

It’s a move that makes sense, given the current state of the movie theater industry and the coronavirus pandemic that has thrown movie distribution into a tailspin for the last 10 months (and many more months to come). GKids had previously pivoted to small theatrical runs where it could and simultaneous releases on digital for movies like Lupin III: The First last year—so doing something similar for Earwig, especially with Warner’s deal for the Ghibli streaming catalogue, makes sense.

How the film will be distributed digitally outside of the U.S., where HBO Max isn’t available, remains to be seen. But at this point in the coronavirus pandemic, we probably shouldn’t be too surprised to hear more announcements like this for the foreseeable future.


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DISCUSSION

By
Jubal Harshaw

Is box office revenue that significant for anime in the US? I assumed they made the lion’s share from DVD/Blu-ray and streaming.