While unveiling its slate of new French originals and acquisitions on Monday, Prime Video announced that it would skip a French theatrical release for “Challengers,” Luca Guadagnino’s anticipated tennis drama. The film, which stars Zendaya, Josh O’Connor and “West Side Story” star Mike Faist, will still be released in theaters in all other territories.
During a posh press event hosted at the Pavillon Royal on the outskirts of Paris, Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, Prime Video’s country managing director for France, said the strategic move by the Amazon streamer resulted from France’s notoriously strict windowing rules, which demands streamers to wait 15 to 17 months after a theatrical roll out before making a new film available on their services. The rule has led other studios to opt to skip French cinemas for new releases before, such as Disney’s decision to debut on streaming.
We’re a strong partner for French cinema and well-established talent. We contribute to the National Film Board’s subsidy scheme, but streaming services have been incited to no opt for theatrical releases fo our original films,” Ricou-Bellan told journalists. Subscription-based services have been placed at a strong disadvantage compared due to this windowing system.
During the event, Prime Video announced nine new French originals, including Melanie Laurent’s heist romance Sulak in which she will star opposite Emily in Paris actor Lucas Bravo. Headed by Thomas Dubois, Prime Video’s roster of originals also includes Sentinelle a burlesque comedy starring Jonathan Cohen as a high profile cop-turned-crooner living on the island of La Reunion. and Le Stupefiant Noel des Silstone a parodic Christmas movie co-created and directed by Arthur Sanigou who’s worked on LOL Qui rit qui sort the local version of Amazon’s hit format LOL The movie is produced by Philippe Lacheau, the actor-filmmaker behind Alibi.com 2 the year’s second highest grossing French film.