Many anime and movie fans across the United States have been left bereft of movie theater access as the still-rampant pandemic has necessitated the closure of all indoor recreational venues. This has left anime fans wanting to see special theatrical anime screenings, like the recent Fate/stay night film and GKids’ On-gaku, in a sad bind. One film I know a lot of folks have been really looking forward to seeing is the new Studio Ghibli film, Earwig & the Witch, the studio’s first 3DCG feature about a punk-rock little witch. Fans have waited four years for this feature, and it’d have been a shame if access remained limited, or if the only option to see was in a theater during these unsafe conditions. Thankfully, GKids is working with both Fathom Events and HBO Max on a welcome compromise: premiering the film both subbed and dubbed in theaters on February 3rd, and then making it available to stream on HBO Max starting on February 5th! This gives movie fans across the country the option to see the film in a theater if they’re able to and so choose, and people who don’t have access or feel uncomfortable going to theaters a safe way to watch it at home. It’s a solid approach that should hopefully ensure as many people who want to see the film get a chance too.

You can learn more about the film and GKids’ release strategy in their official press release below!

GKIDS ANNOUNCES THE NORTH AMERICAN THEATRICAL AND
US STREAMING RELEASE DATES FOR STUDIO GHIBLI’S
 “EARWIG AND THE WITCH”
THE GORO MIYAZAKI FILM WAS AN OFFICIAL SELECTION AT CANNES AND IS THE FIRST NEW STUDIO GHIBLI PRODUCTION IN FOUR YEARS
 ****
FILM OPENS IN SELECT THEATERS NATIONWIDE STARTING FEBRUARY 3, 2021
 STREAMING DEBUT ON HBO MAX STARTING FEBRUARY 5, 2021
ENGLISH LANGUAGE VERSION FEATURES THE VOICES OF RICHARD E. GRANT, KACEY MUSGRAVES, AND DAN STEVENS, WITH THEME SONG PERFORMED BY KACEY MUSGRAVES
NEW YORK (January 7, 2021) – GKIDS, the acclaimed distributor of multiple Academy Award®-nominated animated features, will release Studio Ghibli’s highly-anticipated new feature EARWIG AND THE WITCH in both theaters and on streaming in early February, followed by a home entertainment release in the spring. The film will open theatrically on February 3, 2021, in both Japanese subtitled and English dub versions. The film will appear in select theaters nationwide with longtime partner, Fathom Events, as well as independent theater circuits. Starting February 5, Earwig and the Witch will also be available to stream in the US on HBO Max. HBO Max is the exclusive US streaming home of the Studio Ghibli catalog and Fathom Events has been a longtime partner in GKIDS’ annual Ghibli Fest events. EARWIG AND THE WITCH will also qualify for awards consideration.

The latest film from Japan’s legendary Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and more) is directed by Goro Miyazaki (From Up on Poppy Hill, Tales from Earthsea) and produced by studio co-founder Toshio Suzuki, with planning from Academy Award®-winner Hayao Miyazaki. An official selection for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, the film aired on NHK in Japan December 30, 2020. Based on the children’s novel by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle), the film marks Studio Ghibli’s first CGI animated feature and first feature film production in four years.

The recently announced English language cast features the voices of Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Gosford Park), Kacey Musgraves (“Golden Hour” “Same Trailer Different Park”) and Dan Stevens (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, FX’s Legion), as well as Taylor Paige Henderson as “Earwig”. In addition to her debut voice acting role as “Earwig’s Mother,” six-time Grammy Award winner Kacey Musgraves sings the English language version of the film’s theme song, “Don’t Disturb Me.”

“We are thrilled to be bringing Goro Miyazaki’s magical new film to North American audiences next month,” said GKIDS president Dave Jesteadt. “Earwig and the Witch is the first new Studio Ghibli release in four years, and is the studio’s first foray into computer animation. Working together with HBO Max, Fathom Events, and other theatrical partners will enable GKIDS to bring this wonderful film to the widest possible audience.”

“Once again Studio Ghibli has created a visual and storytelling masterpiece, said Fathom CEO Ray Nutt. “Fathom is excited to continue our partnership with GKIDS, and bring the premiere of Earwig to theaters and fans nationwide.”

SYNOPSIS

Growing up in an orphanage in the British countryside, Earwig has no idea that her mother had magical powers. Her life changes dramatically when a strange couple takes her in, and she is forced to live with a selfish witch. As the headstrong young girl sets out to uncover the secrets of her new guardians, she discovers a world of spells and potions, and a mysterious song that may be the key to finding the family she has always wanted.

About GKIDS

GKIDS is the New York-based producer and distributor of award-winning feature animation for both adult and family audiences. Since 2009, the company has scored a phenomenal eleven Best Animated Feature Oscar® nominations. Current releases include Wolfwalkers (Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart), On Gaku: Our Sound (Kenji Iwaisawa), Lupin III: The First (Takashi Yamazaki), Ride Your Wave (Masaaki Yuasa) and Earwig and the Witch (Goro Miyazaki). GKIDS also handles North American distribution for the famed Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and more. GKIDS also produces the annual LA-based film festival, ANIMATION IS FILM, which embraces the highest aspirations of animation as a cinematic art form and is a vocal advocate for filmmakers who push the boundaries of their work to the fullest range of expression of which medium is capable. www.gkids.com

About Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli is one of the most acclaimed and influential animation studios in the world, inspiring filmmakers and audiences alike over the last 30 years with beloved stories and breathtaking visuals. Under the brilliance of visionary animation directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, and producer Toshio Suzuki, the studio’s films are known for timeless classics such as My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Ponyo; and have won countless international awards including an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature for Spirited Away, as well as four additional Oscar® nominations for Howl’s Moving Castle, The Wind Rises, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There. Director and studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki was separately given an Honorary Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards in 2014, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will pay tribute to his artwork with a special exhibit when the Museum opens in 2021.

 

About The Author Siddharth Gupta

Siddharth Gupta is an animation student at the School of Visual Arts. Currently residing in NYC, the icy cold, snow-covered neighborhoods of Minnesota will always be his home. An avid animation and comics fan since childhood, he has turned his passion towards being both a creator and a critic. He credits his love for both mediums to Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, which has also defined his artistic and comedic sensibilities. A frequent visitor to his local comic book shop, he is an avid reader and collector, and is particularly fond of manga. His favorite comics include Urusei Yatsura by Rumiko Takahashi, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, The Adventures of Tintin by Herge, Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed, and pretty much anything and everything Deadpool.