A New Streaming Deal Could CHANGE How Disney Releases Movies

The way movies have been released have changed over the past few years. Back in the day, movies came out only in theaters, then would be released on video or DVD after their theatrical run. That later shifted to movies also being released on demand or for rent online after they left theaters.

AMC Movie Theater at Disney Springs

But, in recent years, some movies have been coming out on streaming services at the same time as their theatrical releases, or not coming out in theaters at all and JUST being released online in places like Netflix or HBO Max. Disney has definitely taken part in this new practice, and it has caused some controversy. But soon, they might not have to choose between the two.

Due to the global pandemic, a lot of movies did not release in theaters due to them being closed. Disney released several movies solely on Disney+, like soul other Lucabut also released some of its features online on the same day they were released in theaters, like Black Widow. These kinds of movies usually cost an extra fee on top of your subscription in order to watch.

©Disney/Pixar

This created some controversy and even led to a lawsuit between Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson and Disney, with claims that the movie was supposed to get an exclusively theatrical release. Disney has been alternating releasing things only in theaters, only on streaming, or doing both in recent months, but things could change thanks to a new deal.

©Disney/Marvel

Apple just closed a potentially game-changing deal to acquire an untitled Formula One racing movie starring Brad Pitt, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The deal is that the movie will have an exclusive and global run in theaters for at least 30 days (and could go as high as 60 days) BEFORE heading to the Apple TV+ platform. So, you get the big movie release around the world, then about a month later, you can pay to watch it through Apple.

©Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP via Variety

Apple has released movies in theaters before, but they weren’t giant, potentially blockbuster-level movies. The Hollywood Reporter says the theatrical component of the deal is structured so that Apple and the filmmakers would split earnings from the theatrical release 50-50. The creative team of the movie basically gets paid in three ways: their upfront fees, their buyout fees, and what they make at the theater.

Do you like going to the movies or watching from home?

Before this deal, people making movies had to typically choose between taking a buyout for the film or pushing for a theatrical release. But, this deal does both. After this deal is fulfilled, it could possibly be a model for future deals involving streamers like Disney+. This deal is made with the thought that both theatrical releases and streaming services are here to stay.

©Disney

We have seen that people still want to go to the movies with big box office numbers from releases like Spider-Man: No Way Home, so the movie theaters are most certainly not dead. But, there are people who prefer to watch movies at home through streaming services, and this deal really aims to make everyone happy.

©Disney, Sony, Marvel

However, this deal might not be applicable everywhere around the world. Disney just revealed that they will not release its upcoming animated feature Strange World in movie theaters in France due to the country’s new windowing rules, according to Deadline.

©IMDb

France’s new windowing rules shortens the span between theatrical releases and their previous 36-month on-demand period, but Disney was not included in the agreement between TV channels, streamers, and the film industry. Right now, Disney’s movie releases in France are available to purchase 4 months after their debut. Then, they become available to Canal Plus after 6 months. At 17 months, films can go to Disney+ for 5 months. At the 22-month mark, they are removed from Disney+ and go to the free-to-air TV channels for an exclusive 14-month period before going back to Disney+ after 36 months (yeah, we know, it’s A LOT!).

Movie theater screen

A statement from Disney shared with Variety said: “’Strange World‘will be available to all Disney+ subscribers in France, forgoing 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 putting 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.”

So, the format of this new Apple deal might not work for Disney when it comes to France, but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have similar deals and still just exclude certain countries from the global theatrical release. The movie is scheduled to be released in the US on November 23rd.

©Disney

We’ll have to wait and see if Apple’s new deal will have any affect on other streaming services. Right now, Disney seems to be sticking to deciding how a movie is released on a case-by-case basis, depending on what the film is. But, if Apple’s deal is successful and other services start following suit, we could see Disney make it the standard.

Cruella©Disney

We’ll be sure to keep you up to date on everything Disney entertainment, so stay tuned to DFB for more!

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