Posted February 22, 2021 • Last updated February 22, 2021

This Week in WCIW #10

Recapping the news about "Nomadland", plus the launch of BBC Select in Canada.

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Welcome to the February 22 edition of This Week in WCIW, the weekly newsletter from Where Can I Watch – covering the latest news on where TV shows and movies will be available in Canada. You can find previous editions here.

There wasn't any big overriding story this week to expand on, and no developments on either Framing Britney Spears or Discovery+ reaching Canada as of this writing, but there are a few other items of note.

Programming news

  • As we noted on Twitter on Thursday, Disney subsidiary Searchlight Pictures has announced that 2020 TIFF People's Choice Award winner Nomadland will finally be released in theatres in Canada on March 18 – but in the Toronto area only to start (and it's not clear yet how many theatres will be open in Toronto by then). On April 9, it will have a "wide" release across Canada (with the same caveats), plus a streaming release on Disney+ (under the Star tile) on the same date. Of course, the U.S. release (in theatres and on Hulu) was this past weekend, and the delay will likely bother the many Canadians that have been waiting to see this film.

    It's not yet clear what the simultaneous release on Disney+ means vis-à-vis the Canadian first-run pay/streaming rights to other recent 20th Century / Searchlight releases, which have been exclusive to TMN / Crave since 2018. The most recent film from either studio to be released on Crave was Wendy, which was released in theatres last February, and arrived on Crave on November 20. We expect the next one to hit the pay-1 cycle in Canada would be either The Personal History of David Copperfield or The New Mutants, both of which came out in August.

    The release on Hulu came despite 20th's deal with HBO, which runs through 2022, so it's possible Nomadland is being carved out from Crave's rights similarly. But Bell has never announced when Crave's agreement with 20th ends, having merely described it (and similar agreements that have already expired, like those with Sony and eOne) as "multi-year" in 2018. Regardless, once the deal ends, we expect that Disney+ / Star will be picking up these rights for future 20th films.
  • Meanwhile, streaming services are starting to announce their lineups for March. Crave's new releases include Derek DelGaudio's In and Of Itself (March 1, already available to rent in Canada via Mongrel Media but having been released on Hulu in January); First Cow (March 5 – via MK2 Mile End); The Broken Hearts Gallery (March 12 – via Elevation Pictures, whose films usually now go to Amazon, but Crave was a funding partner of this film); and Lucky Grandma (March 31 – via LevelFilm). There are also a few Lionsgate films that previously aired on Starz Canada (as was the case with Bombshell), direct-to-home releases like Universal's latest American Pie Presents film, and some classic DC films in connection with the Justice League director's cut release (but not, as we speculated last week, an early streaming release of WW84).

    Most other programming is in line with Crave's usual offerings, or previous announcements by Crave, HBO / Max, Showtime or Starz. HBO documentary The Day Sports Stood Still is listed as debuting on March 24, which is also reflected on HBO's website though we don't believe this had been officially announced yet. There's also a reference to a documentary titled The Last Cruise airing on March 30, again not yet officially confirmed by HBO but mentioned on HBO's schedule webpage (if you scroll to that date), and mentioned here as being about the coronavirus outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Other notes

  • BBC Select, a new documentary and factual programming streaming service from the BBC's for-profit arm, launched this past week in North America. According to the Beeb, the service's programming is intended to be highbrow, and not duplicative of what's already available in Canada on the more mainstream BritBox (a joint venture of the BBC and ITV) or the nature-focused BBC Earth (operated in Canada by Blue Ant). It also seems to be a different kind of service from the recently-closed BBC Canada channel which was operated by Corus.
    BBC Select does not have its own streaming website or apps. Its programming is instead available for $6.99 per month through either Amazon Prime Video Channels (with a 30-day free trial, but you also have to be subscribed to Prime) and Apple TV Channels (with a seven-day trial, no other subscription required).

Recent updates on WCIW

  • We've updated our post about Nomadland as described above.
  • We've also added a post about Sesame Street, since there seems to be a lot of ongoing interest in finding the program in Canada (short answer: it's on Treehouse, and sometimes also on PBS).

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