Netflix Secures International Streaming Rights for 21 Animated Movies from Studio Ghibli

Fans in Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America will be able to enjoy films from the Academy Award®-winning Japanese art house behind Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro

Netflix announced that beginning on February 1st, twenty-one feature length animated films from Studio Ghibli, the Academy Award®-winning Japanese art house, will be made available on the service globally through distribution partner Wild Bunch International, as part of the company’s continued efforts to grow its best-in-class library of animated films. The three primary countries that will not be included in this streaming deal includes the United States, Canada, and Japan.

“In this day and age, there are various great ways a film can reach audiences,” Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki said. “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”.

For the first time ever, this expansive catalogue of Studio Ghibli films will be subtitled in 28 languages, and dubbed in up to 20 languages. This partnership will enable fans in Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America to enjoy beloved classics, such as Academy Award®-winner Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Arrietty, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, and The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, among others, each one preserved in their native languages for the subtitled versions.

“In finding the best digital partner for Studio Ghibli, our most valuable and faithful collaborators for 20 years, the Netflix team convinced us with their consistent love and energy for finding the best ways to promote the incredible and unique catalogue worldwide with respect to the Studio Ghibli philosophy” Vincent Maraval, Chief Executive Officer at Wild Bunch International had mentioned.

Below is the release schedule for Studio Ghibli films on Netflix:

February 1, 2020

  • 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)

March 1, 2020

  • 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)

April 1, 2020

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

“This is a dream come true for Netflix and millions of our members. Studio Ghibli’s animated films are legendary and have enthralled fans around the world for over 35 years.” said Aram Yacoubian, Director of Original Animation at Netflix. “We’re excited to make them available in more languages across Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia, so that more people can enjoy this whimsical and wonderful world of animation.”

Streaming rights for the Studio Ghibli movies within the United States was awarded to WarnerMedia last fall for their newly designed HBO Max service when it will be officially launched this spring.

Founder and General Manager of Funimation Entertainment Changes His Role to Board Chairman

For twenty-five years Gen Fukunaga has served as the president and general manager of Funimation Entertainment, the popular anime video streaming service he founded in 1994. It was announced on Friday, February 1st he will resign from the leadership role and will move over to serve in the new position as chairman of the company’s board of directors. In a publicly released statement, he wrote the following memo to the company’s employees:

Funimation Team,

As I announced at our All Hands today, I will be stepping into the position of Chairman of the Board at Funimation and transitioning my GM role within the next six months. We’ve initiated the search for a new GM, and once we have selected the new leader, I’ll work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition.
In the Chairman role, I will continue to have oversight of the business and will focus on managing relationships with our content partners – making sure we continue to have the right partnerships in place. I will also provide advisory services to the team, as needed.

This change has been on the horizon since Sony took a majority interest in the company in 2017. And now is the right time to begin the transition, when Funimation is truly hitting its stride. We’ve grown into a $130M+ business with a robust offering available in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, with plans to expand to more territories. FunimationNow is adding revenue streams and deepening our fan base, as well as exploring opportunities in original production. And, we’re seeing a major win with the exceptional box office performance of our feature film Dragon Ball Super: Broly. That said, we’re in great shape to continue building on our solid foundation and momentum.

As we work through this transition, I want to thank you for maintaining your focus in bringing extraordinary entertainment to our anime fans everywhere. I started Funimation with a vision to make anime as accessible as possible to fans across the world. Because of your passion, dedication and hard work, I believe the company is better equipped than ever to deliver on that vision, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built together. I am grateful to all of you and look forward to our next chapter together.

— Gen [Fukunaga]

Late in 2018 the company had signed a business deal with Hulu to be the only other video streaming service within the United States to have priority access to stream newly released anime programming created, produced, and streamed by Funimation. The signed agreement goes into affect at the start of the new year.

Sony Pictures Television acquired a 95% share of Funimation in the summer of 2017, leaving Fukunaga with the remaining 5% ownership share. The transaction was agreed upon for $143 million, which proceeded with the termination of a partnership between Funimation and Crunchyroll, which is their most prominent competition in the United States for video streaming subscription services exclusively for anime content.

The company headquarters is located in Flower Mound, a city located between the Dallas and Fort Worth metro regions in north Texas.

Source: Variety (Feb. 1st, 2019 and July 31, 2017), Funimation Blog


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