Netflix to Stream ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in 2016… But Only in Canada


Variety reports that Canadian Netflix users will be able to stream the new Star Wars film Star Wars: The Force Awakens eight months after the film is released in theaters due to a quirk of the pay-TV distribution rights timing issue, but in the U.S. the rights will go to Starz.

They explain:

Fortuitously for Netflix Canada subs, the company’s deal with Disney started with 2015 releases after the previous agreements for the pay-TV window with Corus Entertainment and Bell Canada expired. A Netflix rep confirmed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is slated to come to the service in the country; under the terms of the deal, that will occur approximately eight months after the movie leaves theaters.

The issue of digital rights arose earlier this week, when Disney revealed plans to launch DisneyLife, a subscription service with movies, TV shows, books and music, in the U.K. and across Europe. While movies from the Star Wars franchise and Marvel will not be included at launch, Disney might launch subscription services for each of those brands in the future, according to CEO Bob Iger.”

In the US, Starz has an exclusive output deal with Disney that runs through the end of 2015, with Netflix taking over in 2016. That means that the new film, released on December 18, will be on Starz first. Lucky Canadians will be streaming Star Wars while Americans like me are deciding if we want to spend $10 for access to one pay cable network whose name isn’t HBO. As an American and a cord cutter, I’ll just have to make sure to see it a few extra times in the theater to tide me over.

For non-Canadians, the good news is that Disney and Netflix are in talks to licence past films in the series (hopefully the original cuts, but as the target demographic I’ll take what I can get*). Almost everything finds its way through Netflix eventually.

However Canadians and non-Canadians can both enjoy this supercut of all three trailers in the meantime by Science Vs. Cinema co-creator James Darling while they wait for the film’s release.

*I take that back. You can keep the Holiday Special in the Lucas Vault with Jar Jar and 90 per cent of the Ewoks.

Follow Will Ross on Twitter @SawmillLoris.

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