French sales firm Wild Bunch International (WBI) and studiocanal UK have been embroiled in a legal battle in the UK’s High Court over the rights to Studio Ghibli’s films in the territory.
Studiocanal UK may be at odds with Netflix for 2019, and a deal was brokered by the World Bank Institute to give the platform worldwide streaming rights to much of Studio Ghibli’s catalog.
In a lawsuit filed on November 3, the company said the deal affected its ability to operate 15 films from UK-based Studio Ghibli, included in a home entertainment deal signed in 2015 and renewed in 2017.
Netflix’s 2019 deal for the worldwide rights (excluding North America and Japan) to 21 Studio Ghibli titles was considered groundbreaking at the time.
Jusque-là, the films of Studio Ghibli weren’t available at all, puis via DVD, Blu-Ray or diffusion terrestre, by the cofondateurs Hayao Miyazaki and feu Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki on refusé de vendre les droits numériques sur une Area. On the basis of the region.
The World Bank Institute has managed the international rights to all Studio Ghibli films since 2002, when it was granted permission to sell Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning song. kidnapped.
Studiocanal UK, the Parisian subsidiary of European film production and distribution giant Studiocanal, is the historic distributor of UK Studio Ghibli titles for home entertainment.
This association with the Japanese animation studio and staff of Wild Bunch, spun off under the WBI banner in 2019, dates back to the days of Optimum Releasing, which was acquired by Studiocanal in 2006 and renamed Studiocanal UK in 2011.
During the initial tenure of co-founders Will Clarke and Danny Perkins, the company pioneered in the early 2000s bringing Studio Ghibli titles to UK audiences under the Optimum Asia label.
This setup continued until Perkins left as CEO of Studiocanal UK in 2018, to co-found the Elysian Film Group, which will continue to own the rights to Studio Ghibli’s latest production. Earwig and the Witch.
None of Optimum Releasing’s original contracts or Studiocanal UK’s renewed deals in 2015 and 2017, according to people familiar with the matter, included broadcast rights.
They add that none of the distributors in other territories, which hold home entertainment licenses to Studio Ghibli titles, have objected to the Netflix deal.
In response, the WBI launched a separate proceeding seeking payment of royalties owed to Studio Ghibli titles alleging that Studiocanal failed to pay under the terms of the 2015 agreement and its renewal.
Neither Studiocanal UK nor the World Bank Institute responded to requests for comment. Netflix and Studio Ghibli are not involved in the case.