MOVIE THEATER – The Nightmare Before Christmas, Moana, Frozen… We no longer count the traditional christmas disney which delighted young and old alike. Except that this year, the new family animated film from the American studio won’t be released in the cinema but directly on the streaming platform Disney+ in France. A decision deemed “terribly unfair” which is not without consequence.
Disney’s choice, announced in the columns of Echoes this Wednesday, June 8, to skip the big screen is “the consequence of the chronology of the media as practiced in France which we consider unfair, restrictive and unsuitable for the expectations of our audiences”, assures the president of the entertainment giant in France.
The media timeline governs the dates on which films can be broadcast, in streaming and on television in particular, in the months following their release in cinemas. According to the new agreement concluded at the end of January, the platforms which have not signed this text, including Disney +, must wait 17 months before being able to broadcast their films after their release in the cinema.
In other countries, films can generally be released on platforms a month and a half after their theatrical release. Last year, the Christmas Disney Encanto and her bespectacled heroine Mirabel was thus released in November in theaters, then on December 24 on Disney+ worldwide…. Except in France. But in 2022, Disney refuses that its little new Strange World (Where Avalonia, the strange journey in VF) undergoes the same constraint.
“Big losses” for cinemas
If this choice has created a wave of panic in France, it is because it is not without consequences for the entire cinema ecosystem. While movie theaters are still showing a declining attendance compared to the pre-Covid period, having to do without a family film for the holiday season is obviously not good news.
Asked by variety, the general manager of Comscore France, which measures audiences, predicts “great losses” estimated at “15 to 20 million fewer admissions” in theaters if, in addition to Disney, other studios such as Paramount or Warner Bros. (which are preparing to launch their streaming platforms in France) came to follow this model for a handful of films per year.
But that’s not all. Producer Marc Missionnier also points out the fact that television channels will also suffer from this 100% streaming release of Strange World. The media chronology provides that 22 months after the theatrical release of a film, the “SVOD window” – which will have lasted 5 months – will close “to make way for free-to-air channels” which can in turn broadcast a movie.
This allows TF1 or M6 to pass Snow Queen on TV less than two years after its theatrical release. Except that by avoiding a theatrical release, Disney deprives the channels of this right.
“Withdrawing a film from theaters therefore puts pressure on the channels, which will not be able to automatically have access to this film, on the theaters which lose potential admissions, and on the public authorities which must manage the situation”, summarizes the producer. by Moana Films.
In a press release sent to AFP, the general delegate of the National Federation of French Cinemas, Marc-Olivier Sebbag, denounced a “totally unacceptable decision”, “terribly unfair” and asked Disney to reconsider this choice. But he also calls on the public authorities to allow “a rapid resolution of this major problem for (the) sector”.
For now, alone Strange World is concerned, specified the president of Disney France to the Echoes, which ensures “evaluate the situation film by film and country by country”. The output of Buzz Lightning, Disney animated feature film and version of the saga Toy Story, is slated for theaters on June 22. On the other hand, nothing has been decided at this stage for Black Panther or the new Avatartwo big productions on which theaters rely to improve attendance figures at half mast.
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