Disney Balks At “Anti-Consumer” French Windows: Will Bypass Theatrical On ‘Strange World’ In Market, Evaluate Future Films On Rolling Basis

Disney is taking a stance versus the recently revised French windowing system, opting to bypass theatrical on animated action adventure Strange World in the market and sending it directly to Disney Plus.

In a strongly-worded statement provided to Deadline, a studio spokesperson said: “Strange World will be available to all Disney+ subscribers in France, foregoing a French cinematic release. While we support French cinema — and have for decades — the new, cumbersome media chronology is anti-consumer, ignoring how behavior has evolved over the last several years and puts us at increased risk for piracy. We will continue to make decisions on a film-by-film basis and according to each market’s unique conditions.” 

France updated its arcane windows back in January this year, shortening the span between theatrical and the market’s long-held 36-month SVOD waiting period, but Disney was not among the signatories of an agreement between TV channels, streamers and the film industry.

As it stands, Disney’s theatrical releases in France are made available for purchase four months after their debut. Under a long-standing output deal, they then move to Canal Plus after six months. At 17 months, films head to Disney Plus for five months. At the 22-month mark, they come off the service and go to free-to-air channels for a 14-month exclusive period before reverting to Disney Plus after 36 months.

Believe it or not, this is the updated version of the rules which took effect in February. At the time, Disney issued the following reaction: “We believe that the media chronology is not consumer friendly, nor does it establish a balanced or proportionate framework between the various players in the French audiovisual ecosystem. This is especially frustrating as we have been increasing our investment in the creation of original French content while also supporting French cinema through our theatrical releases.”

What Disney will do on Strange World will be to bypass the system entirely, going straight to Disney Plus. We understand this will be in lockstep with the film hitting the service in other markets.

Strange World, whose trailer dropped on Monday (but not in France) is a theatrical release elsewhere, launching at Thanksgiving domestically.

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