Netflix and Leonardo DiCaprio Teaming for Documentary 'Virunga'

Leonardo DiCaprio U.N. Summit - H 2014
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Leonardo DiCaprio U.N. Summit - H 2014

The film centers on park rangers and the gorillas they protect

Netflix is teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio to release the documentary Virunga.

The film from director Orlando von Einsiedel centers on the conflict between park rangers striving to protect endangered gorillas from poachers and industry encroaching on their habitats in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The doc will be release simultaneously on Netflix and in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Nov. 7.

“Leo intuitively understands that there is nothing like the power of film to reach people’s hearts and minds,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “With Virunga, we’ll work with Leo to introduce viewers around the world to an incredible, gripping story that will have audiences guessing right up until the final act.”

DiCaprio serves as executive producer, with his production company Appian Way also on board.

"Films like Virunga are powerful stories that are a window into the incredible cultural and natural diversity of our world, the forces that are threatening to destroy it, and the people who are fighting to protect it," DiCaprio said. "Partnering with Netflix on this film is an exciting opportunity to inform and inspire individuals to engage on this topic."

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The deal raises the stakes even more in the battle between theater owners and Netflix. Exhibitors have already expressed their displeasure over Netflix's plans to partner with The Weinstein Co. to release the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on the streaming service and in select Imax theaters on Aug. 28, 2015.

Netflix also recently announced a deal to exclusively release four features from Adam Sandler.