Monday 8 July 2013

Big Hero 6 Not Released in the UK Until 2015? Or, Why Disney Still Hates Non-Americans

Yes, this is another international staggered release dates rant. If there's one thing that boils my bacon, when it comes to film studios, it's when films are released several months after their initial North American premieres over here in the UK. While writing a post about animated releases in 2014 (watch out for that in the next couple of days), I logged onto to check when Walt Disney Animation Studios' Marvel adaptation, Big Hero 6, was due over here in good ole Blighty. And I was very much not pleased with what I found: the film isn't even due here next year; much like the God-awful situation with Wreck-It Ralph last year, it's not arriving until 15th February, 2015!

Frankly, I don't know why I let myself expect any better. The fiasco with Ralph last year was beyond infuriating, and, yes, the film was worth the wait, but the wait shouldn't have bloody existed in the first place! Add onto that, we had to wait 6 months for Finding Nemo 3D - by the time the film eventually arrived here, I couldn't be bothered to see it anymore. And this is an issue that isn't just potent for me and my countrymen and women, this situation stretches across the rest of Europe and to other territories around the globe. I get the thinking behind it, kinda, studios release a film when they know it will play best, in the school holidays, etc... But that mindset is just not feasible in the modern market. I know, for a damn fact, that Disney lost money and customers by releasing Wreck-It Ralph 3 months late in the UK. Of course I, a die-hard animation fan, went to see it, but several friends - both tangible and online - who were planning on seeing it, professed having either lost interest in the film, or confessed to having just pirated it online. Yes, pirating is illegal, but more often than not there are no repercussions, it's reasonably victimless, and when companies dick around the fans, the fans feel a sight less than loyal to them. To think otherwise is astoundingly naïve.

US fans were crying out recently, after finding out that - despite campaigning to the contrary by star Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock series 3 still wouldn't air in the US until several months after its UK release. Us in Europe also got The Adventures of Tintin and Winnie the Pooh drastically before the states in 2011, and I do empathise with that, particularly for fellow animation fans. It's a sorry situation for fans of all country, creed and colour.

Look at some of the biggest films of 2012: The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, what do they have in common? They were both released almost simultaneously around the world, and both went on to rake in over a billion dollars. Admittedly, Skyfall opened a month earlier in Britain than the States, but that is at least a thoroughly Brit-blooded film. Is Big Hero 6, a Japanese-influenced comic adaptation, particularly American?

I penned an open letter to Disney late last year, obviously they haven't seen or acknowledged it, but the points made did generate a lot of support. Notice how no one spoke out in favour of the stupid release schedule. I guess all I'm really doing here is voicing my sheer frustration at a stupid and frankly broken system. But if anyone who works in or around Disney is reading this, pass it on? We need all the help we can get over here.


  1. Munir Abedrabbo9 July 2013 at 00:04

    Disney's release schedule is just as messed up as their home entertainment division (a rant about that coming soon). Is hilarious that after every Disney BD plays, an ad comes up that says "piracy is not a victimless crime", well it may not be but when studios have stupid release policies, piracy doesn't look that bad now does it? Is especially frustrating with Disney because is a family brand and they have a huge following around the world, especially for their animated films, so if they are asking international fans to wait three (or more) months to see a picture after its US debut, then they don't have no one but themselves to blame if their revenue is not as big as they've hoped. I don't encourage piracy but when studios do this kind of shitty stuff is hard not to see its allure.

  2. Well Tintin made sense as it wasn't well known in the states and good reception overseas could raise awareness. But surely by now the studios realise how much pirating takes place in international countries and that they're probably losing more money by delaying films to school holidays and the like. Maybe a solution would be to have a limited release that adult fans of animation could go to and then go to a full wide release on the holidays. That's obviously not perfect but it's better than waiting 3 months. Lucky for me here in Australia I only ever have to wait til Boxing Day for end of year release movies.

  3. William Jardine9 July 2013 at 01:00

    I get the reasoning with Tintin - same with Skyfall - I just meant that, certainly for what American Tintin fans there are, that was a nasty wait. It's not only non-Americans who get the short end of the stick sometimes. But yes, Disney has a real penchant for screwing around with the rest of the world.

  4. William Jardine9 July 2013 at 01:02

    Exactly! It is almost like they're saying non-American kids just aren't as important to them. It's a horribly short-sighted, one-dimensional, out-of-date strategy.

  5. This issue is not restricted to the UK as you know. It's the same with most of Europe. It's already been announced that BH6 will be released in France on February 11, 2015 and I'm sure other countries will follow suit.

    The reason for the delay in France (and I bet in the UK too) is to accommodate the theatrical release of Planes 2. In France, Planes 2 will now be released on November 26, 2014.


  7. Your'e right! I'm Dutch and i don't know why they should wait so long with everything, Cloudy 2 releases here in feburary 2014 and most Disney movies also release around a month later, i don't hope Big Hero 6 releases in 2015!

  8. William Jardine9 July 2013 at 20:33

    February 2014?! Jeez... That's horrible. You have my deepest sympathy!

  9. William Jardine9 July 2013 at 20:35

    Oh yes, Damien's made me aware of the fact that France many a time get a worse deal than we do! I hope that's not true, I couldn't care less about Planes 2, whereas I'm super hyped for BH6!

  10. A lot of the time the staggered releases also have to do with marketing. The actors will do interviews and press junkets in the buildup to a release and that's simply not feasible if a movie is opening in the States and Europe simultaneously. I do agree though that sometimes the delay is ridiculously long.

  11. I have to agree with this rant. I saw posts about Big Hero 6 online and thought it looked good, and seriously hoped that as a Disney animated film, it would NOT be Wreck-It-Ralph all over again (I haven't seen it, but it still annoyed me when I found out the gap between US and UK release dates). But then when I saw it was out in the US already, with NO INDICATION of when it would be out in the UK, I did a search and got angry that it WOULD be Wreck-It-Ralph all over again!! What's worse, now I can't read anything about it online in case I see SPOILERS!!!!! And worse still, I only saw a trailer for it TODAY. I would download it, but it would have been filmed in the cinema and not be good quality. All I can say is, it better be good enough to be worth the wait.

    Why, Disney, why? All your live action films come out fairly early, why must we wait longer for the highly-anticipated animated ones?