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News of the World, the 2020 drama film directed and co-written by Paul Greengrass based on the novel by Paulette Giles, and starring Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel, was released in North American theatres on Friday, December 25, 2020. (It's a Western set in the 1870s, and has nothing to do with the defunct British newspaper.)
In Canada, like in the United States, News of the World is distributed by Universal Pictures and was initially only available in theatres in the few regions where they are permitted to be open. However, it received a release via premium video-on-demand (PVOD) digital rental which began Friday, January 15, 2021 for a suggested retail price of $24.99 (plus any applicable sales taxes). Most retailers are offering the film in both HD and 4K resolution for the same price.
The full list of retailers offering the movie in Canada has been posted on this Universal microsite, and includes:
- Apple TV / iTunes Store
- Cineplex Store
- Google Play Movies & TV
- Microsoft Movies & TV
- Cable / IPTV on-demand services including Bell, Cogeco, Rogers, Shaw, and Telus (only available via set-top box unless linked)
The timing of this PVOD release is due to agreements announced in the latter part of 2020 between Universal and some of the major North American cinema chains, including Cineplex in Canada. Under these agreements, Universal can release movies to PVOD after as few as 17 days of theatrical exclusivity (i.e., after three weekends for a typical Friday release), unless a release has more than US$50 million gross ticket sales at the "domestic" (North American) box office during its first weekend in which case the window must be at least 31 days.
With News of the World grossing US$2.4 million in its first weekend, a PVOD release could have begun as early as Monday, January 11, though Universal later clarified that it would instead be released that Friday instead.
Isn't "News of the World" being released on Netflix internationally?
Yes, Netflix released News of the World in most countries outside North America on February 10, 2021. Netflix acquired those rights from Universal late in 2020, but Universal decided to release the film as planned in North America as described above. As such, Netflix does not currently have rights to stream in Canada.
That said, the film will likely land on Netflix in Canada at a (much) later date – as we'll get into in the next section.
When will "News of the World" be available on a streaming service in Canada?
Assuming there are no special provisions related to North American streaming in Netflix's purchase of international distribution rights to News of the World, the film's availability on subscription streaming services will should follow the typical windowing (or release availability) pattern for Universal releases in Canada.
That would mean – assuming the contracts currently in effect stay in place, which at this stage is not guaranteed – News of the World will be available on Crave (with Movies + HBO), which holds the first pay/streaming window for Universal releases in Canada, likely starting in summer 2021. A little over a year later (by late 2022 or early 2023), the film would likely move to Netflix, which currently holds Universal's second pay window in Canada.
To give an example of how these windows currently work with Universal movies: the most recent animated film version of The Grinch was released theatrically by Universal in November 2018. It became available on Crave in June 2019 (about eight months after release), then moved to Netflix Canada in December 2020 (about 18 months after that). Again, contracts do change from time to time, but at this point we expect News of the World will most likely follow a similar pattern.
- February 14, 2021 – updating info on Netflix's international release
- January 17, 2021 – belatedly linking digital retailers where possible
- January 11, 2021 – noting confirmation of PVOD release on January 15