The battle between cinemas, television networks and streaming networks like Disney+ continue to cause problems in France, as according to a recent report by Variety,  Disney is mulling over not releasing films theatrically anymore and releasing them directly onto Disney+, to get around some of the conditions of releasing films in France.  Currently, films can only go to a streaming service a year after their release, but the studios want to reduce that to four months.

The National Film Board (CNC) had given French film, TV networks and streaming services, until July 1st to reach an agreement on new regulations, but they’ve hit a snag because TV networks want to have exclusive access to films when they broadcast.  So if a movie is airing on French TV, it would have to be removed from Disney+ for a whole month.  Manuel Alduy, head of cinema and international development at French public broadcaster France Televisions said:

“Free-to-air channels in France are demanding a window of exclusivity for the biggest American films and if we don’t ask for it, broadcasters will permanently lose access to these movies.  We’re in the third wagon, two years after the theatrical release, behind pay TV channels and streamers, and we’re asking for a small window”

As you would expect, Disney isn’t happy with this rule as several sources are saying that the studio is mulling skipping the theatrical release altogether in France and releasing straight on streaming platform Disney+ in order to avoid being subjected to the local windowing release schedule.  Ardavan Safaee, CEO of Pathé said:

“It’s a worrying situation.  If some big U.S. movies skip the theatrical release in France it will impact everyone, including the independent French film sector, which benefits from admissions sold for these American blockbusters.”

Much like in the rest of the world, film studios, cinema chains and television networks are adjusting to a changing life, which has seen theatrical exclusive windows reduced as more people turn to streaming.

Cinema chains are reliant on film studios like Disney to bring their movies to their theatres, with a source telling Variety:

“In the U.S. the maximum window between theaters and SVOD services is 45 days, and other countries around the world are following the same path because American movies represent 70% to 80% of box office in most countries; so how can France isolate itself from the rest of the world? France is still an exception because U.S. movies represent less than 50% of theatrical admissions, but we can’t afford to lose Disney’s movies — it would be a loss of 50 million admissions per year”.

Recently, Disney backed away from its day and date hybrid release system for its new movies, releasing them for a shorter period exclusively in theatres, resulting in Jocelyn Bouyssy, managing director of CGR Cinema, saying.

“We’ve seen just recently that Disney is back-tracking on its hybrid strategy; not only have they realized they need theatrical to drive revenues, they also saw it hasn’t been great for their image and relationships with talent such as Scarlett Johansson”.

The situation with Disney+ Premier Access continues to be used by cinema chains as a way of saying their business is the best way to move forward, but for Disney+ subscribers, losing access to films they are paying for, to keep television networks happy, is once again proving that there are still many more battles for streaming services like Disney+ to come.   Ultimately, Disney, along with other streaming companies, want to do business in these countries, but there is a limit to which they will be willing to bend.   Especially if they are making more money per month with Disney+ than with theatrical releases.  There is also the issue that with Disney releasing so many films a year, especially since all Disney’s films from 20th Century Studios and Searchlight also go to Disney+.   The only thing most parties agree on, is they want to come to an agreement before the French government intervene.


What do you think of movies being removed from Disney+ so they can air for free on network tv?



Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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