The rag burns between Disney and the CNC. A few months after the revision of the media chronology, Mickey decides to zap the cine box.
This is a first in the history of the firm with big ears. After months of arm wrestling with the CNC over the chronology of the media, Disney decides to apply a heavy sentence in France. The next Disney baptized Strange World will indeed have to be satisfied with an exit on the platform in France, without going through the cinema box. An unprecedented sanction, a few months after a health crisis which had already weakened dark rooms around the world.
It was during an interview with The echoes that the president of Disney France explains this decision. “It is the consequence of the Media Chronology as practiced in France that we consider unfair, restrictive and unsuited to the expectations of our audiences.”
As a reminder, these regulations determine the release windows for a film offered in cinemas. Until its recent revision, the text provided that films released in theaters would only be added to SVOD platforms after the 36th month. While there are more and more players in the sector, the Ministry of Culture had initiated an update to better adapt to this constantly changing environment.
If Netflix had welcomed the agreement concluded last January, it is another music on the side of Disney +. It must be said that the platform must wait a little longer than its competitor, 17 months against 15 for the N red. However, SVOD offers are ahead of free-to-air television, which retains its 22-month release window. On the other hand, they must remove the films when they are broadcast on free-to-air channels.
The device, at the heart of the French cultural organization, aims to protect cinemas which still benefit from priority in the model. It is also an opportunity for the CNC to finance the creation, by determining the place of the different actors according to their contribution to the French exception. If Netflix decided to align the zeros to obtain a more favorable position, Disney + and the other players in the sector had refused to sign the agreement last January.
Discontent among operators
The reaction of the French exhibitors was not long in coming. It is via a press release sent to AFP that the National Federation of French Cinemas condemns the decision of the giant of the film industry. “Totally unacceptable” for President Marc-Olivier Sebbag, Disney’s policy does not pass. It thus invites the company to find “a rapid resolution of this major problem for the sector.”
As reminded The echoes, the American group represented a quarter of ticket sales before the health crisis. The end of the year being a pivotal period for French exhibitors, this announcement has the effect of a cold shower.
Other films concerned?
For now, alone Strange World is affected by this new strategy. The output ofEncanta, first Disney animated film offered in cinemas since the start of the pandemic, had brought in much less than expected for the studios. The recovery was more difficult than expected, Disney only harvested $255.7 million at the box office for his traditional end-of-year film. To compare, Frozen 2 had reported $1.45 billion in 2019.
For the moment, the other Disney films are not affected by this unprecedented measure. At the end of this year 2022, we should find some big licenses on our screens, which cannot do without a cinema release. At Marvel, it is hard to imagine the firm finally revealing Black Panther 2 on its platform.
Same story for Avatar 2, whose success is closely linked to the indoor experience. Especially since the budgets allocated to the production of live-action films are much larger, and the revenue from Disney+ will not be enough to amortize these investments. It remains to be seen now who from the CNC or Disney + will flinch first.