The Chief Content Officer of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, spoke this month with shareholders to tell them the news about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It would seem that while the movie would potentially be on the service in Canada as early as the end of this year, the film won’t be available to Netflix for streaming until Netflix gets streaming rights from Starz inside the year 2016. There’s a bit of missing information here when you read this story on other publications publishing before SlashGear.
What you’re missing here is the fact that Lucasfilm isn’t – by any means – going to allow Star Wars The Force Awakens to stream on any service inside this year. The film isn’t even released in theaters yet. If past releases of Star Wars films are any indication at all, we won’t see the film leave theaters for months into 2016.
You’ll see a brief mention of the “approximately eight months after the movie leaves theaters” clause in the mention by Netflix of their deal in Canada via Variety.
“It’s up to Disney how they want to manage access to those assets before, during or after the release of ‘Star Wars VII.’” said Sarandos, “so it’s certainly an ongoing discussion.”
So once the film does leave theaters, you can bet the first quarter – if not the first 1/3rd of the year – will be done. By that time, Netflix will have long-since attained the streaming rights for the Star Wars collection (minus A New Hope) from Starz.
Why minus A New Hope? Because Fox owns the distributions rights to the first Star Wars film, and it’s unlikely they’ll ever give them up.