When the last Star Wars movie came out, Netflix was still mailing out DVDs. Who could have foreseen just a decade ago, when Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released, that the proliferation of streaming video sites would have been so total? Especially considering that just six years before that, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox were still putting out VHS versions of the movies. But with DVDs and video stores on the brink of extinction, streaming is the way to go, which is why it’s been announced that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is coming to Netflix! Addendum, make that Canada’s Netflix.
Would it surprise you to learn every country with Netflix has a different assortment of films and TV shows depending on who owns the rights to distribute them? It’s true. So why will Canadian Netflix subscribers get to stream The Force Awakens before Americans or anyone else?
“The reason Netflix will be able to offer the much-anticipated movie in Canada next year — and not in the U.S. or anywhere else — has to do with the timing of when Disney‘s pay-TV distribution deals were up for grabs,” Variety explained.
“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. 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 theatres.”
Meanwhile, Disney’s contract with Netflix doesn’t go into effect until 2016, when Disney’s deal with Starz expires. Starz has the exclusive streaming rights for all Disney movies released until the end of 2015, which leaves The Force Awakens just two short weeks short of crossing that finish line. It’s uncertain when The Force Awakens will appear on Starz, but one imagines it will be a similar timeline to the Netflix debut of the film in Canada. Anyway, for Netflix fans around the globe, it looks like Canada wins the bragging rights on this one.
And don’t forget, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will first be in theaters everywhere on December 18.