It’s an exciting day for Studio Ghibli fans — fans in the United States and Canada, that is. The majority of Studio Ghibli's film catalog has just been released to major digital rental platforms, such as Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft and Vudu, a report by Variety confirms. For the first time, Studio Ghibli’s films can finally be rented digitally in North America.
Critically acclaimed titles like “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and the award-winning “Spirited Away” will be available to rent for as low as $3.99. However, although Google Play lists the titles at a $5.99 price point, it has a sale where the titles are available to rent for just $3.99 at present.
All films will be available in HD, and customers can rent original Japanese-language or English-dubbed versions.
Other titles now available to rent are “Castle in the Sky,” “Ponyo,” “When Marnie Was There,” “Princess Mononoke,” “The Cat Returns,” “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya,” “Earwig and the Witch,” “From Up on Poppy Hill,” “My Neighbors the Yamadas,” “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind,” “Ocean Waves,” “Only Yesterday,” “Pom Poko,” “Porco Rosso,” “The Secret World of Arrietty,” “Tales from Earthsea,” “Whisper of the Heart” and “The Wind Rises.”
For years, the Japanese animation studio didn't make their films available digitally, and viewers couldn't download the titles legally. In 2017, GKIDS, a U.S. film distribution company, acquired North American theatrical distribution rights for Studio Ghibli. As of 2019, Studio Ghibli’s films have been available for download-to-own in the United States and Canada on Apple TV, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play and Microsoft.
GKIDS also struck a U.S. streaming deal with HBO Max, bringing 21 Studio Ghibli films to the platform in 2020.
Now that customers can rent the movies, they no longer have to pay for a $9.99 or $14.99 subscription to HBO Max. They also don't have to purchase Studio Ghibli films on digital platforms for roughly $12 to $17. Viewers can enjoy the enchanting and adorable anime movies that many of us love for a significantly lower price.