The latest entertainment medium to feel the impact of Netflix’s thirst for exclusive content is the movie business.
Netflix has already moved heavily into original drama, documentary and scripted programming, but this is its first play in exclusive movies.
The launch of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend will bypass a theatrical release, apart from in selected IMAX cinemas, where it will launch simultaneously with Netflix. The film will debut on August 28, 2015.
“The movie-going experience is evolving quickly and profoundly, and Netflix is unquestionably at the forefront of that movement,” said Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, which is already producing miniseries Marco Polo with the on-demand platform.
Last week, Netflix also acquired exclusive US rights to British crime drama Peaky Blinders, which The Weinstein Company controls American SVOD rights for.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend will see the return of Michelle Yeoh as warrior Yu Shu-Lien. Chinese director Yuen Wo-Ping will replace Ang Lee as director, and filming has begun in New Zealand.
“Fans will have unprecedented choice in how they enjoy and amazing and memorable film that combines intense action and incredible beauty,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos (pictured above left).
“We are honoured to be working with Harvey Weinstein and a world-class team of creators to bring this epic story to people all over the world and to partner with IMAX, a brand that represents the highest quality of immersive entertainment, in the distribution of this film.”
Greg Foster, senior executive VP, IMAX Corp. and CEO of IMAX Entertainment said the co-launch mdoel with Netflix would “offer consumers the option of deciding how, when and where they want to view the film, and exhibitors the opportunity to participate in this alternative form of content in a new and innovative way”.
Netflix launched across Europe earlier this month, and is now thought to be planning debuts in Spain and Australia among other territories.