It's no secret that Netflix has flirted with the idea of footing the bill for "big" movie releases in the past, but now we're finally seeing what that actually means. Next August, the sequel to 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be hitting Netflix and (select) IMAX theaters simultaneously. Other theaters be damned.
The movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, is Netflix's first major feature film release. While jumping off with a big name film certainly helps, neither of the original's two biggest stars—Ang Lee and Chow Yun-fat—will be coming back for round two.
The Weinstein Company, Netflix's partner in this relatively unprecedented endeavor, is certainly no stranger to unconventional premiers. Just a few months ago, the company released Snowpiercer on video-on-demand at the same time it was playing in theaters. But this isn't necessarily a Snowpiercer moment; with a different director and new actors, it's possible that Netflix's original release will be more akin to straight-to-video sequels American Psycho 2, Son of the Mask, and Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief.
Still, if this little foray into the world of major motion pictures goes well, we could be seeing a lot more movies hit streaming services just as soon as they hit the red carpet. Of course, this particular one probably won't be the breakthrough release Netflix wants. But judging by Netflix's record for original content, we have every reason be optimistic. [Re/code]