When Disney announced that its Mulan remake would go straight to Disney+, one French cinema owner showed his disapproval by filming himself smashing a promotional display of the film with a baseball bat. Now that the House of Mouse has made the same call for Pixar’s Soul, the reaction from France has been less violent, but louder.
La Fédération Nationale des Cinémas Francais (FNCF), the trade body for French exhibitors, has published an angry response to Disney’s move (via Le film français). “The theaters wish to share their immense frustration with regards to this decision, which is destructive to the entire sector,” reads the statement. Pointing out that all 2,045 cinemas in France are open, it describes Disney’s refusal to release films theatrically in the country as “economically totally unjustified.” (Disney has said that Soul will be released in theaters only in territories where Disney+ doesn’t operate.)
The statement marks a change of tone from the FNCF, which to date has been relatively patient in the face of delays and cancellations of releases. The only U.S. tentpole to have come out in the country since its cinemas reopened is Warner Bros.’s Tenet, and the association is now castigating other studios for withholding their films. The statement continues: