Netflix, the online video streaming service, is giving Hollywood a dose of its own medicine.
It recently struck a deal with the Weinstein Co. to premiere the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, challenging Hollywood’s carefully crafted system of release “windows”.
The film will be released at the end of August next year to Netflix’s 50 million subscribers in more than 40 countries and to big-screen Imax cinemas simultaneously, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.
The deal puts Netflix on a collision course with theater chains and exhibitors which have fiercely resisted the simultaneous release of movies in cinemas and in digital channels.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, angered the National Association of Theatre Owners in the US when he announced the plan. He was accused of trying to “kill the cinema”.
Sarandos later told the Financial Times said the simultaneous release of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend was a natural evolution of what the streaming service had already done with television programming.
Netflix has produced its own TV shows, including political drama House of Cards, and made the entire series available to be watched by subscribers from a single date.
Sarandos said Netflix is likely to encounter a pushback from exhibitors and cinema chains over its Crouching Tiger release but added there would be demand for more films to be launched on Netflix in conjunction with a simultaneous theatrical release.
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