Netflix, pushing theatrical windows worldwide, has inked a pact with The Weinstein Co. to stream comedy “St. Vincent” starring Bill Murray in France on Oct. 24 — the same day the film hits wide theatrical release in the U.S.
In addition, under the TWC deal, Netflix France subscribers will have exclusive access to film trilogy “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, on Nov. 1, following its premiere in the States.
“The French are true film lovers,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “We are thrilled to bring French viewers these great films shortly after their theatrical release in the U.S.”
Netflix and TWC last month announced a landmark deal to debut the sequel to martial-arts classic “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” in IMAX theaters worldwide in August 2015 the same day it’s available on the SVOD service. The move to crash the theatrical window prompted major U.S. theater chains to avow that they’ll refuse to show the film.
“We’re thrilled to be building on our great relationship with Netflix in releasing ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘St. Vincent’ with them in France,” Weinstein Co. chief operating officer David Glasser said. “It’s exciting to be a part of bringing this new form of moviegoing to the French audience alongside Reed Hastings, Ted Sarandos and their entire team.”
Netflix launched in France on Sept. 15, along with five other new European territories, including Germany. It’s not clear why the deal with Weinstein Co. covers only France.
Worldwide, Netflix had 53.06 million customers in nearly 50 countries as of the end of September; it doesn’t break out subscriber numbers for countries outside of the U.S.
Netflix last year reached an output deal with Weinstein Co. that makes the Internet-streaming provider the exclusive U.S. subscription TV service for first-run films from TWC beginning in 2016, replacing Showtime. Netflix has other deals with the studio including for original series “Marco Polo.”
“St. Vincent,” written by Theodore Melfi, stars Murray (pictured, above left) as Vincent, an alcoholic gambling vet who gets recruited by his single-parent neighbor Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) to watch over her 12-year-old son. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was runner-up for Best Film People’s Choice Award. In France, “St. Vincent” will be available only on Netflix in France on Oct. 24, the same day it is widely released in U.S. theaters.
“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” is a collection of three films written and directed by Ned Benson. The films tell the story of a young married New York couple, Connor Ludlow (McAvoy) and Eleanor Rigby (Chastain), who encounter a life-changing experience. The “Him” film looks at the relationship from Connor’s angle while “Her” follows Eleanor’s version of events; the third installment, “Them” has the blended perspective. The “Him” and “Her” movies premiered at TIFF, while “Them” screened at Cannes.