Starting with a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon called The Green Legend, Netflix has struck a deal with The Weinstein Co. to premiere a slew of major films simultaneously with their theatrical release.
The pact could have a huge effect on already dwindling box office numbers, with the option to watch a film straight away on Netflix negating the need to head to a cinema (unless you're determined to get the full, immersive experience).
Following a string of successful TV shows, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend is Netflix's first foray into original film production and is slated for a 28 August, 2015 release date.
The original martial arts flick was widely revered, starring Michelle Yeoh, Yun-Fat Chow and Ziyi Zhang and centring on the search for a stolen magical sword.
Yeoh will return for the sequel, with Yuen Wo-Ping directing (he choreographed fight scenes for The Matrix and Kill Bill) and principal photography underway now in New Zealand.
"Fans will have unprecedented choice in how they enjoy an amazing and memorable film that combines intense action and incredible beauty,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. "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."
32 films to check out on Netflix
32 films to check out on Netflix
1/32 Shutter Island
Of all Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio's collaborations this is one of the most enjoyable, Leo playing a U.S Marshall investigating a disappearance at a psychiatric facility on a remote island. There is a brilliant twist which will leave you questioning your own sanity, or ability to perceive it.
2/32 Into the Wild
The ultimate 'holy sh*t, I should just quit my job and live off wild fauna in the mountains' movie, this true story of a young man from privilege who drops out of college, burns his money and travels across America is a breath of pine fresh air, even if protagonist Christopher is maddeningly reckless in his free-spiritedness.
3/32 The Game
A lesser known David Fincher movie about a bored Wall Street trader who is given a gift certificate for a mysterious game for which there are no rules. When strange people and events start invading his life, Nicholas (Michael Douglas) is forced to question his place in the world.
Intriguing drama about a couple who keep their children completely separate from society on a country estate, so that their forays into the world go down much like an alien's would.
5/32 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
'Love is a socially acceptable form of insanity' Spike Jonze's Her claimed this year, and this movie is a case study in it. Joel (Jim Carrey) is appalled to find his ex-girlfriend has had her memories of him removed. He sets about tracking down her doctor to do the same, only to find his feelings of love for her returning.
6/32 A Dangerous Method
Freud and Jung debating the nature of sexual desire over pipes. Neither psychoanalyst comes over very well in this Cronenberg drama, but it is great watching logic battle with desire.
7/32 The Skin I Live In
Revenge is a dish served at absolute zero in this dark drama from Pedro Almodóvar, that leaves you feeling as claustrophobic as Antonio Banderas' cosmetic surgery 'patients'.
8/32 The Secretary
A more subtle look at S&M than we usually see in cinema, Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader play a wonderfully weird boss and secretary whose working relationship goes over the line and then some. This is no 50 Shades of Grey tripe though, the narrative unfolds in an artful, poignant non-titilating way.
9/32 The Wall
A woman staying in a hunting lodge finds herself cut off from society by an invisible wall. A mysterious German drama and a surprisingly profound one.
10/32 The Aviator
Howard Hughes' life story was so relentlessly cinematic that you'll find yourself constantly checking Wikipedia to check this is all true. Scorsese was the right man to tell it, and DiCaprio gives a wonderfully unhinged performance in the lead, even if we have seen him play irrational billionaires a few too many times.
11/32 Broken Flowers
A superbly still performance from Billy Murray as an aging Don Juan who tries to track down old lovers after learning he has a son.
In times of weakness/hangover everyone needs something light and frothy. Also Kirsten Wiig gives a stunning impression of a penis.
13/32 A Prophet
Critically-acclaimed French film about a young Arab man sent to a French prison where he rises to become a mafia kingpin.
Lovers of a good cry look no further, Joseph Gordon-Levitt will put your house at flood risk in this drama about a man diagnosed with cancer struggling to find meaning in the world during what might be his final days. It's based on a true story so don't expect any fairytale twists, this is a bleak movie but a charming one that finds humour among the horror.
15/32 Hunger Games
Dystopian murder tournament! What's not to love? The film is perfectly paced, with just enough pre-games training and socio-political context stuff without it dragging, while the contest itself is gripping and with a pleasing gender role reversal in terms of the hunter and the damsel in distress. Also Stanley Tucci's Caesar Flickerman is incredible.
16/32 Fish Tank
Coming of age story set on an abrasive estate in east London. Yes another grimy British kitchen sink drama, but a good one.
17/32 Seven Psychopaths
A struggling screenwriter gets drawn into a criminal underworld as he searches for psychopathic characters for his next script. Flawed, and not as controlled as McDonagh's In Bruges which also starred Colin Farrell, but an interesting satire on modern cinema.
18/32 Funny Games
The 2008 English-speaking version of this disturbing drama isn't on Netflix, but it was a shot-for-shot remake of the 1997 Austrian version anyway. As two young men terrorise an affluent family on holiday, Michael Haneke sets up the film like a classic horror before spinning the lense on the viewer and challenging how we consume film violence.
19/32 Lost In Translation
Sophia Coppola's best film by a long shot, Lost In Translation tells the story of a bored actor (Bill Murray) and the bored wife of a successful photographer (Scarlett Johansson) who meet in a Tokyo hotel bar and struggle through their listless time in the city together. Beautiful, poignant, touching without being saccharine and with a fantastic soundtrack. Watch at first possibly opportunity.
20/32 Good Will Hunting
Chances you've already seen this but if not DO SO IMMEDIATELY. The perfect marriage of wit, romance and humour, Gus Van Sant's classic movie has a disarming humanity about it, telling the story of a rough young Boston labourer with latent genius played by Matt Damon.
21/32 Holy Motors
Mind-bending French film about a man who travels around in a limousine stopping off at different appointments in different guises, including a gangster, motion capture artist, ageing millionaire, troubled parent and anarchic tramp. Mad as a box Komodo dragons spitting rainbows and just as watchable.
A bold, purposeful movie about Harvey Milk, the first gay man to be voted into major public office in America.
An opportunistic waiter in a 5-star hotel pretends to be a wealthy guest to ensnare a beautiful gold digger. Silly but sumptuous romcom - Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh have great chemistry.
24/32 Office Space
A cult classic that spears how awfully mundane the workplace can be. You'll laugh and wince in equal measure.
One of Wes Anderson's best movies, coming before he made a few too many Wes Anderson movies.
An elderly couple's love is tested as their health fades. Michael Haneke could hardly have found more difficult material to take on, but the results are masterful, unflinching and unforgettable.
27/32 Safety Not Guaranteed
A trio of reporters weary, disillusioned and inexperienced by turn, follow up on a newspaper ad placed by a man seeking a partner to accompany him in his time machine bound for the future. Refreshingly different and challenges your preconceptions about people.
28/32 Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie
The undisputed masters of the weird take over a shopping centre. Like all surreal humour it doesn't always land, but when it does you'll be rolling around on the floor for days.
Before Steve McQueen turned his eye to slavery he delivered this less Oscar-friendly film about sex addiction. Hollowness is everywhere here, from the characters to the apartments to the city itself. Stunning cinematography.
30/32 The House I Live In
Consulting everyone from drug dealers to judges to the creator of The Wire, this documentary is a damning account of the US's war on drugs. Don't let the sombre subject matter put you off, this is a fascinating doc that leaves you suitably entertained and outraged.
31/32 There Will Be Blood
Do it. Put yourself through it. You've been putting it off for ages. A cold, hard, unrelenting movie from Paul Thomas Anderson about an oil baron consumed by greed. Next level performances from both Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano.
All Charlie Kauffman's scripts should come with a 'your brain will be goo' warning, but there's something very enjoyable about letting him scramble you. Nicolas Cage is in rare serious film-mode here as a screenwriter struggling to adapt a script. Very meta, very impressive.
Alluding to film's move from the silver screen to the tablet, Weinstein added: "The moviegoing experience is evolving quickly and profoundly, and Netflix is unquestionably at the forefront of that movement.
"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."
According to Variety, IMAX has high hopes for the film in China, which currently doesn't have Netflix, while in territories where there is both "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," said Greg Foster, CEO of IMAX Entertainment.Reuse content