Canadian Netflix subscribers will be able to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens, sometime in 2016 or 2017, a feat that’s making our neighbours south of the border envious. That’s because Canada is the only country where Netflix has secured the rights to stream the movie.
And it’s all thanks to a bit of fortuitous timing.
According to Variety, in the U.S. the TV rights to Star Wars are currently owned by Starz, a premium cable company based out of Meridian, Colorado. Starz’s rights to the series are set to transfer to Netflix at the end of this year. However, because The Force Awakens is set to release on December 18, the only way for Americans to watch the movie without buying the Blu-Ray or downloading it through a service like iTunes, is to subscribe to Starz.
That’s not the case in Canada, where the rights transferred from Bell and Corus Entertainment to Netflix at the start of this year.
Variety goes on to say the movie will appear on the streaming service some eight months after it concludes its theatrical run. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has also said his company is in talks with Disney to acquire the rights to the older entries in the series, as well.
With the ease and popularity of VPN switching, it’s unlikely this restriction will be an actual hinderance to anyone who wants to stream the movie. Still, it’s humorous to think that, for perhaps the first time in the service’s history, the number of American Netflix subscribers attempting to gain access to the company’s Canadian website will outnumber the already significant number of Canadians who DNS switch to movies and television shows on the American site.