'Crouching Tiger' Sequel to Hit Netflix and Imax Simultaneously in Groundbreaking Deal

Crouching Tiger Still - H 2014
Courtesy of Netflix

Crouching Tiger Still - H 2014

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos has long wanted to get into the first-run movie business

In a dramatic rebuke of the traditional theatrical release, Netflix and The Weinstein Co. have signed a deal to release the sequel to Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon simultaneously on Netflix and in select Imax theaters around the world.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend will make its debut Aug. 28, 2015.

“The moviegoing experience is evolving quickly and profoundly, and Netflix is unquestionably at the forefront of that movement,” said TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein in a statement. “We are tremendously excited to be continuing our great relationship with Netflix and bringing to fans all over the world the latest chapter in this amazing and intriguing story.”

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Netflix said Crouching Tiger 2 will be the first of several major films to be given a day-and-date release on Netflix and in some Imax theaters.

The company's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, has long wanted to release movies day-and-date on Netflix and in theaters, something most exhibitors are unlikely to ever allow, meaning Crouching Tiger 2 may not play in Imax locations controlled by some of the major chains in the U.S. Indeed, Imax is making a bold move by partnering with Netflix. 

“Fans will have unprecedented choice in how they enjoy an amazing and memorable film that combines intense action and incredible beauty,” Sarandos said in announcing the deal. “We are honored 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.”

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Produced by TWC, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 is directed by Yuen Wo-Ping, also a martial arts master. Michelle Yeoh reprises her role as Yu Shu-Lien. Donnie Yen also stars.

“Imax has a terrific opportunity, via this partnership with Netflix, to release Crouching Tiger — a high-quality, action-packed film that is right in our wheelhouse — at the end of the summer blockbuster season,” said Greg Foster, senior vp of Imax Corp. and CEO of Imax Entertainment. He added that he is particularly hopeful it will play in China, where Netflix isn't available.

"In territories where we simultaneously release with Netflix, we are excited to 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," Foster continued.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was released in 2000 and went on to be nominated for best picture and win the best foreign language Oscar at the Academy Awards. It earned more than $213 million worldwide, including $128 million in the U.S.