Disney tells France it will cancel movie releases unless it changes local ‘window’ laws

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Good thing Mickey Mouse likes cheese, because Disney could be holding its blockbusters hostage in France.

The House of Mouse issued a threat to French regulators on Monday over the country’s laws that dictate when a movie released in theaters can move to streaming platforms. Disney warned France that if it doesn’t loosen the rules, it can put new movies directly on the Disney+ streaming service and skip the cinematheque total.

Aux Armes, Cinephiles

France’s “window” laws, also known as media chronology, set out how a film can be distributed in other media once it has finished its theatrical run. Normally, movies that have been released in theaters must wait 36 ​​months before they can be broadcast. The legitimacy of direct-to-broadcast films has been a cultural battleground in French cinema, with the Cannes Film Festival ruling in 2018 that it will only allow films with theatrical releases to compete. With Disney moving forward in the streaming wars (it overtook Netflix in subscriber numbers in August), it’s on the offensive and officially on guard

Disney’s threat comes after a standoff with France over black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which Disney has now confirmed will be released in French theaters on November 9. Due to window laws, the Black Panther The sequel won’t appear on the French version of Disney+ until April 2024. Disney maintains that the laws dictating this delay are outdated, anti-consumer, too French, and expose studios to piracy. It’s breaking ranks with other US streaming giants by taking such a combative approach:

  • Netflix signed a deal in January that cut the time between theatrical releases and streaming of its movies to 15 months. Streamer OG also announced in February that it would invest a minimum of €40 million over three years in French and European films.
  • US streamers, including Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, also signed an agreement with the French broadcasting authority in December 2021 to invest 20% of the revenue generated by their French content in that film industry. nation, which was projected to generate up to 300 million euros. It’s not like French content is a fun pet project either; Netflix saw huge international success with the French heist drama Lupinewhose debut was second only to the high fantasy series Henry Cavill The Wizard looking at the figures when it came out in January 2021.
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Cinema not so Paradiso: The French cinema scene has not been completely rejuvenated after the pandemic. The Center National du Cinéma said that ticket sales so far this year were 33% lower than in 2019, according to the financial times. US box offices also saw disappointing numbers this summer, due in part to the long tail of COVID-19 production delays that decimated the number of summer blockbusters by 47% compared to 2019. Then , if the studies can produce some more top gun sequels, theaters might have a chance.

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