Netflix Will Stream ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ — But Only in Canada

Star Wars The Force Awakens
Courtesy of Disney

Lucky to be Canadian: Netflix subscribers in the Great White North will be able to stream “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2016, the only territory where the company currently has secured streaming rights for the film.

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.

In the U.S., premium cable channel Starz has an exclusive output deal with Disney that runs through the end of 2015; Netflix’s pact with the Mouse House commences with 2016 titles. With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” slated for Dec. 18 theatrical debut, that means Starz will be the pay-TV home for the movie in the U.S.

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.

For Netflix, obtaining worldwide rights to acquired and original programming is a big priority, as it expects to launch service in some 200 countries by the end of 2016. The streamer recently cut worldwide rights deals for three TV shows: CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” CBS’s “Zoo” and USA’s upcoming dystopian drama “Colony.”

Meanwhile, although “The Force Awakens” won’t likely hit most Netflix queues anytime soon, older films in the mega-franchise could become available on SVOD.

On Netflix’s third-quarter 2015 earnings call last week, chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the company was in talks with Disney about the possibility of licensing past “Star Wars” movies.

“It’s up to Disney how they want to manage access to those assets before, during or after the release of ‘Star Wars VII.’ So it’s certainly an ongoing discussion,” Sarandos said.

Disney, which bought Lucasfilm in 2012, controls rights to five of the six previous “Star Wars” pictures, while 21st Century Fox owns rights to the original 1977 “Star Wars.”

Last month, Disney and Fox inked deals with China’s Tencent to stream the first six “Star Wars” movies in the world’s most-populous nation. No release date for “The Force Awakens” has been set for China as yet.

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  1. Colin says:

    When will the 7th Star Wars be on U’S. Netflix

  2. James Crow says:

    Once again the military industrial complex benefits everyone except Americans.. Boo Hiss

  3. netflix and chill says:

    We can just record netflix with a cracked version of fraps and put it up as a torrent.
    Is it really not profitable to just charge everyone internationally like 10 dollars to watch a freaking movie… it shouldnt be this complicated

  4. dougbadgoose says:

    hey! let’s plug the hole in this dam with some wire mesh.

  5. bvolke says:

    I’ll be buying the Blu Ray anyway.

  6. corban hirschi says:

    honey were moving to canad

  7. Ben says:

    I wonder if the deal with Disney will include the older Star Wars movies, i.e Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, etc.

  8. Canadian person says:

    Which territory will it be free in? we have 3 territories in canada and 10 provinces

  9. Alkomb says:

    I live in NY, I could just go go to a cheap Canadian motel. lmfao

  10. You can easily bypass this restriction with a VPN like vpnghost.net. Gives you access to American Netflix, Canadian netflix and much more.

    • Canadian says:

      Good for you :)

    • centralguy says:

      except for the fact that Netfix has either implemented a new policy or will be implementing a policy in their terms and conditions that says anyone found to be using a VPN could have their account suspended/terminated.

      • casper says:

        Yes! In recent news, netflix has banned VPN use, however they have absolutely no way to tell if you are using a vpn or not. If you do not have a DNS leak, they cannot ban you without legitimate proof you’re connected to a VPN service (not easy to find out).

  11. 2 hours after Netflix Canada has it up – DVD/Blu quality will be on every streaming/porn site on the web.

  12. OR you could actually purchase a copy when its released for sell thru. If you that anxious to see the film there are other ways to do this via sell thru.

  13. Wade says:

    About time! Canadian Netflix hardly has any choice compared to the US, now we’re even.

  14. always about money and of course fox would screw people over not sharing the rights of a new hope with netflix its stupid to only have 5 of the 7 movies on there in the us

    • Fox has nothing to do with this, did you read the story at all? This is to do with a conflicting deal between Disney and Starz, who had purchased the rights to offer all Disney content until 2015 in the US, however in Canada the deal started in 2015…we’ve already got a ton of Disney movies showing up on our Netflix but in the states you won’t get it showing up until 2016. Fox literally has zero to do with any of this.

    • Alkomb says:

      I agree. At least let us have the first 6, & maybe the 7th in awhile.

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