As part of the constant quest to find innovative movie release strategies, Netflix has announced that they’ll be releasing their first feature film, a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, to hit Netflix and IMAX theaters simultaneously. A lot of movies the size of this one (ie, sub-mainstream) have been doing VOD releases, but this is the first that will be free with a Netflix subscription.
Netflix contracted with The Weinstein Company’s Harvey Weinstein to release its first major feature film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend. Sort of a sequel to the Ang Lee-directed 2000 martial arts epic that won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, the film will premiere exclusively on Netflix, and it will simultaneously have a berth in IMAX theaters. The release is August 28, 2015. Yuen Wo-Ping is directing a script by John Fusco, and Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen star. Lee is not involved in this, and the connective tissue is the source material based on the Crane-Iron Pentalogy by Wang Du Lu. [Deadline]
It’s an interesting experiment, but of course one thing theater chains are never thrilled about is people experimenting with their business model, dying though it may be. Regal, Carmike, and Cinemark, three of the four largest theater chains, have all vowed not to play the film in their theaters.
“While a home video release may be simultaneously performing in certain IMAX locations, at Regal we will not participate in an experiment where you can see the same product on screens varying from three stories tall to 3-inch wide on a smart phone,” said Russ Nunley. “We believe the choice for truly enjoying a magnificent movie is clear.”
Now there’s your dumb quote of the day. If the choice is clear, why wouldn’t you offer the choice you think is the obvious one? Because you dislike money? For the principle? If the choice is clear, why are you acting like you’re terrified that it’s not?
Up until now, theaters have been able to maintain a unified enough cabal to stop these smaller theatrical windows for bigger movies (squashing the planned $60 VOD release of Tower Heist three weeks after it opened in theaters, for instance). If there’s money to be made, that’s not going to last forever. As someone who still enjoys the theater-going experience for certain films, these theaters better start implementing some of Christopher Nolan’s suggestions to move forward, because holding onto the past isn’t going to get them anywhere.