Netflix's tight relationship with The Weinstein Company has scored another win, and the streaming service's first big movie debut -- but definitely not its last. The two revealed tonight that next year when the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon arrives in theaters, it will also be available streaming on Netflix at the same time. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend also shares a writer, John Fusco, with another Weinstein/Netflix team-up, the Marco Polo series that's arriving next year. So far, studio efforts at sending movies home day-and-date with their theater release like this year's Snowpiercer have centered around VOD, but Netflix subscribers worldwide (the movie is being shot in English) are getting this flick at no extra cost. Back in 2011, Universal wanted to charge viewers $60 to watch Tower Heist at home instead of the theater, weeks after it debuted -- this seems like a slightly better value.
Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos tells the New York Times he hopes that the unique setup -- available to Netflix's 50 million+ worldwide subscribers and in select IMAX theaters on August 28th, 2015 -- will inspire other studios to look outside the traditional windowed release schedule. In 2000, Ang Lee's original movie grossed about $213 million, and it will be very interesting to see how the sequel holds up. According to the press release, it's based on the fifth book in the Crane-Iron series. Michelle Yeoh is returning for this one accompanied by Donnie Yen who will play Silent Wolf, and the sequel will be directed by Yuen Wo-Ping, who served as martial arts choreographer on The Matrix 1 & 2 and Kill Bill. Netflix's influence has changed a lot about how studios consider selling their TV shows -- and their eventual reruns -- and it's diving big into the movie business. The company says this is just the first of several flicks it will try the day-and-date release strategy with, "giving consumers and exhibitors around the world unparalleled flexibility in how, when and where they enjoy a major motion picture."