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Netflix has reached a deal with the French cinema guilds that will see the streaming giant invest at least 40 million euros ($45 million) in at least 10 French and European films over the next three years, all of which will get theatrical releases in France.
The deal, unveiled Tuesday by French guilds ARP, BLIC and BLOC, which together represent the interests of French creatives, producers and cinema owners, marks the first agreement of its kind in France with a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service. Under the deal, Netflix agrees to invest at least 4 percent of its annual net revenue in France in French and European film productions, with at least 30 million euros ($34 million) earmarked for French-language features. All the films backed by Netflix under the deal will have a theatrical premiere in France and launch on Netflix 15 months later. Netflix will have an exclusive seven-month streaming window.
The agreement includes a provision requiring Netflix to invest at least 17 percent of the 40 million euros in low-budget films, defined as those with a budget of under 4 million euros ($4.54 million). Netflix has committed to pre-financing these films, meaning the investment will come before principal photography.
Tuesday’s deal follows Netflix pact with France’s broadcasting authorities, under which the streamer committed to invest 20 percent of its annual revenue in France on French content, both series and movies. Netflix has little choice in the matter, as the French government has ruled that the streamer, like all TV networks in France, must invest in French content as a requirement of operating in the country.
The country, however, has met Netflix halfway by shortening the window between when a film is released in cinemas in France and when it can be screened online. The previous 36-month window — the longest in Europe — has been shortened to 15 months, meaning a Netflix-backed film can hit the service just over a year after its theatrical release.
The shortened window, and the new deal with the French guilds, could mean Netflix will return to the Cannes Film Festival. Netflix had stopped submitting films to Cannes because the French festival requires all of its competition titles to have a theatrical release in France.
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