A hectic weekend for streaming platforms and their relationship to the cinema industry. Netflix was successful at the Venice Film Festival, while Disney is considering reinvesting in theaters to the (admittedly slight) detriment of Disney +.
On the one hand, a former DVD rental service converted into a pioneer in subscription streaming; on the other, a platform created by a juggernaut of the twentieth century film industry. These two fundamentally different stories certainly make the biggest difference between Netflix and Disney + and explain many of their choices, their successes, and their (semi) failures.
This weekend was further proof of that. At the Venice Film Festival, Netflix was crowned with more laurels than ever before in a film competition. The US service has won no less than four awards for films soon online. Jane Campion won the Silver Lion for Best Director for her film The Power of the Dog (released on December 1st), God’s hand (December 15) by the Italian Paolo Sorrentino leaves with the Grand Jury Prize and that of the best hope for the actor Filippo Scotti, while the actress Maggie Gyllenhaal received the statuette for the best screenplay for The Lost Daughter (December 31st).
A list that confirms the growing “respectability” of Netflix which, after having attracted very big names in recent years, is now starting to accumulate prizes in the most prestigious ceremonies. At the 2021 Oscars, his films also gleaned seven statuettes thanks in particular to Mank by David Fincher.
Disney wants to appease the industry
For its part, Disney + does not enjoy the same freedom as its Los Gatos counterpart. A film released on the platform with big ears does not indeed provide the same guarantees as if it had been released in theaters only. In France, a double release on both media is even impossible due to the chronology of the media. Disney’s relationship with cinema and its history puts more expectations on its shoulders.
Across the Atlantic, the industry did not appreciate the successive releases of Soul, Raya and the last dragon, Luca, Black Widow, Cruella or Jungle Cruise on Disney +, sometimes exclusively and sometimes at the same time as the theatrical release, at a time when the latter were sticking their tongue out after a year of health crisis. The actress Scarlett Johansson had even turned legal against Disney after the simultaneous release of Black Widow on the platform and in theaters, believing to have lost part of its percentage of the revenue collected on the physical release.
Fortunately for fans across the Atlantic, and especially for cinemas, Disney seems to have been reassured by the success of Shang-Chi and Free Guy. The company headed by Bob Chapek has just announced that its films scheduled for the rest of the year will first hit theaters before their release on Disney +. The animated film Charm will be released, for example, on November 24 on the big screen before a broadcast on the streaming platform a month later. Let us recall once again that this broadcasting window will not apply in France. For now, Disney + has to wait three years before it can pick up a movie released in theaters. With the upcoming reform, this period could be reduced to 12 to 14 months.
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