The anticipation for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is reaching a fever pitch after its emotional trailer, featuring Namor, premiered. The sequel might end up being one of 2022’s biggest movies, but there could be one country that will miss Panther-mania part two. It appears Black Panther 2 might not be getting a theatrical release in France.
The Direct reported that the Marvel sequel could forgo a theatrical release in the country and premiere on Disney+ instead. This alleged release shift could happen because of a French law regarding the window between theatrical releases and streaming release dates. The European country currently requires movies to wait 17 months before premiering on any streaming platform. It’s reportedly intended to allow network and cable television time to broadcast films before they go straight to streaming.
This has led to multiple 2022 movies (from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, etc.) not being available on Disney+ in France. This has been a sticking point for the House of Mouse, as the company has recently been sending its releases to the streamer four months after hitting the cinemas. The multimedia conglomerate addressed Black Panther 2 possibly going direct to streaming in France by saying:
While no concrete decision has been announced, one gets the feeling that Disney feels uneasy about this strict theatrical-to-streaming window. One must also consider that the studio has a promise to fulfill to premium subscribers who want to bypass theaters for streaming services. The company has been following the law so far, but you can help but think that Wakanda Forever may be the last straw. The multimedia conglomerate previously shifted the animated film Strange World from French theaters to Disney+ for similar reasons.
Though it makes sense why France has a law that gives viewers a chance to watch MCU films on TV instead of streamers months after the theatrical release. The country wants TV to have a fair chance to broadcast the films before Disney+ gets to stream them. The European country also might want to give their streamer-less viewers a chance to watch the movies before the multitude Disney+ subscribers. It's also worth mentioning that right now, French fans can't watch other recent Marvel movies, including Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange 2, from the comfort of their couch.
Additionally, the Black Panther sequel is expected to be a worldwide box office hit when it comes out on November 11. So, this is not only a loss for the House of Mouse but for French movie theaters as well.
It seems like streaming services and movie theaters are at an impasse as the world starts to reopen with new norms. Only time will tell what Disney’s final decision will be in the coming weeks. U.S. fans can currently watch recent Marvel releases, including Thor: Love and Thunder, with a Disney+ subscription. There are also multiple upcoming Marvel movies set to premiere over the next year, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and The Marvels. We'll see if things work out before the MCU Phase 5 and Phase 6 lineups so that French fans can see the latest MCU releases on the big screen.
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