Netflix has gone full bore on creating original content and it’s really been paying off. House of Cards and Orange is the new Black are critical darlings, Lillyhammer is in its third season so there must be an audience, and now they’re making a foray into feature films by producing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
But their plans aren’t going as smoothly as they might like.
The plan Netflix announced is to release The Green Legend on Netflix and in IMAX theatres on the same day.
It’s an interesting goal and any other feelings that I have on the matter aside it would be interesting to see how each release does. How many people care to see it in theatres? How many would rather stay home?
The problem with this plan is the theatres because basically every theatre chain is refusing to screen it. This includes AMC, Cinemark, Carmike, Regal in the US, Cineplex here in Canada, and Cineworld in Europe.
Netflix’s streaming service has upended parts of the industry for years (when was the last time you went to Blockbuster?) but this step may not work. Theatres aren’t receptive to the idea of showing a film that is being released elsewhere because they want and need the draw that comes from “you can’t see this any other way right now”.
Still, there are plenty of VOD releases on or near the same day as theatrical release for foreign and indie films in North America right now so maybe The Green Legend is a good choice to see how this works. It has some brand recognition, it doesn’t have a huge budget, and it’s scheduled for release on a traditionally slow, end of summer weekend (28th August 2015).
I still don’t know how I feel about this to be honest. I much prefer seeing movies in cinemas but I know I’m not necessarily in the majority anymore. I also see way more movies than most people I know so maybe I’m not the best person to ask, but if it doesn’t work maybe a better idea for Netflix would be to do a short theatrical release and then in lieu of a DVD/Blu-ray release just put the film online.
What do you guys think? Is simultaneous release a good idea? Would you go out of your way to see a Crouching Tiger sequel in theatres or would you be content to stream it to your TV?