France Unhappy With “Strange World” Release


Fairly recently, Disney decided to drop the French theatrical release for its animated action-adventure movie “Strange World”.

The film will now directly premiere on the Disney+ streaming platform in France rather than be released theatrically, and the move has understandably upset French exhibitors.

The reason for Disney pulling the release? France’s strict and overly long windowing regulations. Essentially had the film hit cinemas on November 23rd in France as expected, it could not come to Disney+ until 17 months later (late April 2024) at the earliest.

Even then it would only be available for five months before being pulled off to go to free-to-air channels for a 14-month exclusive period. It would finally be on Disney+ to stay from 36 months after its theatrical run – ie. November 2025.

That’s compared to almost everywhere else in the world which has seemingly settled on a post-pandemic average window of around 45 days between theatrical and SVOD releases in most territories worldwide.

Disney calls the regulation “cumbersome” and “anti-consumer” and they ignore how consumer behavior “has evolved over the last several years” and that the extended window puts the company “at increased risk for piracy”.

France’s National Cinema Federation (FNCF) has now issued a statement in protest, saying the decision was “a losing choice for everyone” that would “seriously undermine the economy of cinemas and the sector as a whole.”

The FNCF says exhibition was being “instrumentalized” in this and it’s “totally unacceptable and terribly unfair”. They have also called on France’s national film body, the CNC, to organize a mediation between stakeholders including theaters, studios, streamers and French TV broadcasters.

Part of the issue is also quota laws which require around one-third of titles on a streaming service to be European. Research film Ampere Analysis recently found that while Netflix and HBO Max were on or close to that mark, Disney+ was far behind with an average of around 10%.

Source: THR, Deadline

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