The Force will officially awaken on Starz in September.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will debut on the premium cable net on September 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
In a nod to the current stream-happy environment, Starz subscribers will also be able to stream the adventures of Rey and Finn through the Starz app or via the digital Starz subscription they’ve bolted on to Amazon Prime. “We want to make the movie as accessible as the fans’ appetites for what is truly one of the greatest franchises of all time,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement.
“The Force Awakens” is the last of the Disney output deal with Starz, the bookend of a lengthy relationship that actually ended in 2012, when Netflix snatched the U.S. rights to Disney movies premiering after December 31, 2015 for a reported $300 million a year.
Starting in September, Netflix will be the exclusive pay-TV home of Disney movies, including those from Pixar, Marvel, and, yes, Lucasfilm. That means films like “Zootopia,” “Finding Dory,” and the much-anticipated “Star Wars” standalone “Rogue One” will only be available to Netflix subscribers during the usual pay-TV window.
The thinnest of silver linings for Starz is that it can run the Disney movies it has the rights to through 2017, and the pent-up demand for “The Force Awakens” should be a boon to the network as the details of its merger with Lionsgate — which bought the channel for $4.4 billion at the end of June — are sorted out.