Disney’s SVOD plans for French cinemas in Angers ‘Strange World’ – The Hollywood Reporter

Disney’s decision to scrap a French theatrical release for strange world and putting Don Hall’s animated action-adventure film directly on its Disney+ streaming platform in the territory has French exhibitors in turmoil.

The National Federation of French Cinema (FNCF) protested against this decision on Wednesday, calling it a “lost choice for everyone” which “would seriously damage the economy of cinemas and the sector as a whole”.

strange world was due to hit French cinemas on November 23, but Disney pulled the release, citing the country’s strict windowing regulations, which require a 17-month period between a film’s theatrical release and its platform debut. streaming in France.

The regulations, which Disney called “onerous” and “anti-consumer,” also limit that first VOD window to just five months. After that, the film transitions to an exclusive 14-month free-to-air TV window. Only then, 36 months after its theatrical debut, can the film return to Disney+. This compares to an average window of around 45 days between theatrical release and the SVOD arc in most territories around the world.

France changed its windowing laws in January, reducing the window for cinema to streaming from 36 months to “just” 15 months, provided distributors invest a portion of their revenue in French film content. Netflix accepted the French agreement. Not Disney.

In a statement, Disney said the new regulations ignore how consumer behavior “has changed over the past few years” and that the extended window puts the company “at increased risk of piracy.”

The FNCF accuses Disney of using strange worldas a bargaining chip to try to get better terms when the windowing rules are renegotiated on January 23.

But instead of “making spectators and cinemas the collateral victims of these disputes”, the group asked the CNC, the national body for French cinema, to organize mediation between the stakeholders, including cinemas, studios, streamers and French TV channels.

France’s windowing law isn’t the only regulatory headache for Disney+. Like all streamers operating in Europe, Disney+ must abide by the continent’s 30% quota laws, which require at least a third of all titles on a streaming service to be European.

A recent study by London-based research firm Ampere Analysis found that Netflix was already at or above the 30% quota in nearly all of its major European markets, and HBO Max was close, with over 25% of European content in its regional footprint. , but that Disney+ was far behind, averaging around 10%. Disney, however, is stepping up its European Originals to make up the difference.

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