Hiromasa Yonebayashi screened the film for his former colleagues at Studio Ghibli. Hayao Miyazaki gave Yonebayashi a congratulations but said he wouldn't see the film. Toshio Suzuki and Isao Takahata both gave the movie praise and congratulated Yonebayashi on his work.
The film made its American premiere through Fathom Events, who had a part in re-releasing several Studio Ghibli films the year leading up to the film's release.
In the early 1980s, Disney artist Mel Shaw pitched the idea of adapting Mary Stewart's book 'The Little Broomstick' as an animated movie, but the project never got beyond the planning stage and was shelved in favor of more ambitious projects. Over 30 years later, The Walt Disney Company became the American distributor for Studio Ponoc's animated adaptation of the same novel.
"Fly-by-night" is the name given to the mysterious witch's flower. The term "fly by night" has historically been used to signify that a woman was thought to be a witch.