For a long time, several media analysts and experts were wondering about the state of the release of MCU’s upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in France.
Under the previous version of the rather archaic, stringent, and inflexible system of Media Chronology that was prevalent in the country, various streaming services, including Disney+, would only be able to show feature films on their platform after its theatrical release with a mind-blowing 36-months window in between to account for.
This particular system of windowing framework was updated earlier this year, in January. Instead of a painstakingly long period of three years, a release window of 15 to 17 months has been introduced for the streaming services.
Disney has affirmed, in a statement shared with Deadline, their decision surrounding Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s theatrical release in France, its subsequent release to the Disney Plus market, and their strict stance on France’s media chronology.
The French Cinematic Release For Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
In a recent report by Deadline, Disney’s statement focused on the French theatrical release of their upcoming Letitia Wright-starrer film. It began with the media conglomerate stating that the French authorities’ acknowledgment of the antiquated French Media Chronology requiring modernization has made the company move forward with a 9th November theatre release of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in France.
The statement, then, provided an update about the Disney+ release of the film to the subscribers in France. Following is what they had to say:
“Consequently, the film will not be available to Disney+ subscribers in France until Spring 2024, due to the current windowing framework.”
Therefore, for Disney+ users in France, the film will adhere to the guidelines of the framework put forth by the January-updated Media Chronology. While The Walt Disney Company will abide by the French release-window rules, it has, however, taken a moment to re-establish its stance on the matter altogether. From what it seems, the media conglomerate may not be too happy about this archaic statutory window.
Disney Believes That The System Puts Studios At Piracy Risk
The company is doing its best to ensure that the old-fashioned norm is completely revised. In the statement provided by Disney, they mentioned that their stance on France’s Media Chronology remains unchanged, even after the update that occurred this year. They affirmed that the system is “anti-consumer.” Additionally, they believe that it pushes all the studios into an increased danger of rampant piracy.
Therefore, they’re working with several stakeholders to find substantially feasible solutions to the matter.
Among the stakeholders involved, Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC) and the Ministry of Culture were the ones mentioned in the statement. Disney affirmed that it will keep attending upcoming meetings and try to come up with a solution that would allow for more flexibility and be agreeable to all the parties involved.
Regardless, the media conglomerate emphasized that it will “continue to make future release decisions on a film-by-film basis.”
How Disney Functions Under The Current System
One may wonder, what exactly is the need for such an intransigent release window to begin with? Well, under the system of Media Chronology, the French language’s preservation is emphasized and local TV and VOD services present in France are prioritized. Nevertheless, Disney remains firmly opposed to the existence of the norm.
However, they’re still required to operate under the stipulated framework. At present, they seem to have no other viable choice.
Four months after the initial premiere, Disney’s theatrical releases in France, under this particular system, are made available for purchase. After six months, as a result of a time-honored, well-established deal, the films become available to Canal+. For only a duration of about 5-months, the films make their way to Disney+ at 17 months (as per the January update).
In the 22-month point, they’re withdrawn from the streaming platform and end up in the hands of free-to-air channels. This stage lasts up to a 14-month exclusive period. Ultimately, after 36 months, the films return to Disney+ and enjoy their permeance there.
It’s definitely quite complicated.
Read also: “This is not just another cash grab”: Marvel Desperately Needed Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Fans Have High Hopes From Ryan Coogler After Taika Waititi and Sam Raimi’s Failed Experiments
While it does explain why media analysts have been wondering about the fate of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in France, it also justifies the frustration the notable and renowned media conglomerate may have been facing for a while now. For now, despite the confusing nature of the French post-theatrical release system, Disney has to adhere to the alleged “anti-consumer” framework.
Every cloud has a silver lining, though. French fans will be able to see the film two days before the rest of the world could get a chance to. Instead of waiting on the long-anticipated Disney+ release, it would indeed be beneficial for the MCU audience in France to watch the film in theatres.
For most parts of the world, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will see its release on November 11th, 2022.