Studio Ghibli’s Earwig and the Witch Sets US Theatrical & HBO Max Debut
Following the world premiere of Earwig and the Witch in Japan last month, GKIDS has finally announced the official U.S. release date for Studio Ghibli’s newest animated and first-ever CG film. Featuring the voices of Richard E. Grant and Kacey Musgraves, Earwig and the Witch will arrive in select theaters on February 3, and will be having its streaming debut on February 5 on HBO Max.
“We are thrilled to be bringing Goro Miyazaki’s magical new film to North American audiences next month,” GKIDS president Dave Jesteadt said in a statement (via Vital Thrills). “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.”
Earwig and the Witch (or Aya and the Witch) will be based on the 2011 children’s novel of the same name which was written by the late British author Diana Wynne Jones, who has also written the source novel for Studio Ghibli’s popular fantasy film Howl’s Moving Castle. The novel follows the story of a smart orphan girl named Earwig as she gets adopted by a woman named Bella Yaga, who turns out to be a cruel witch that takes her to live in a haunted house.
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.
The English Dub voice cast features Oscar-nominated actor Richard E. Grant as the Mandrake, Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves as Earwig’s mother and Dan Stevens as Thomas along with Taylor Paige Henderson as Earwig, Pandora Colin as Matron, Alex Cartañá as Assistant Matron, JB Blanc as Mr. Jenkins, Logan Hannan as Custard, Summer Jenkins as Phyllis, Vivienne Rutherford as Sally, Tom Bromhead as Cook, Eva Kaminsky as Assistant Cook, and Vanessa Marshall as Bella Yaga.
Earwig and the Witch is directed by Goro Miyazaki, the son of Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki, who is also being credited with the planning of the film. It is a co-production by Studio Ghibli, NHK, and NEP.