October 17, 2019 / 10:21 PM / a month ago

WarnerMedia's HBO Max to stream films of 'Spirited Away' producer

(Reuters) - HBO Max, the forthcoming streaming service from AT&T Inc’s (T.N) WarnerMedia, will screen films from Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation producer behind the Academy Award-winning movie “Spirited Away”.

This is the first time a streaming provider has obtained rights to Ghibli’s films, WarnerMedia said on Thursday.

Co-founded by master animator Hayao Miyazaki, the studio is known for its intricate, hand-drawn animation and imaginative coming-of-age story lines that made films like 1988’s “My Neighbor Totoro” into an international hit.

HBO Max will offer more than a dozen original shows and movies from stars including Reese Witherspoon and Anna Kendrick, as it prepares to go head-to-head with rival services from Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

Slated to launch in the spring of 2020, HBO Max will also have programs from AT&T-owned networks such as HBO and TBS and classics from the Warner Bros film and TV library.

Earlier this year, WarnerMedia said U.S. reruns of the popular television sitcom “Friends” will move in 2020 from Netflix to HBO Max.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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