Theater Chains Lash Back Against Netflix for ‘Crouching Tiger’

/ Sep 30, 2014

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With all the buzz surrounding the upcoming simultaneous Netflix/IMAX premiere of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2,” it’s not surprising that a couple traditional movie theater chains have voiced their disapproval. Both Regal and Cinemark have thumbed their noses at the movie’s release plan, saying they will not carry the film.

According to Regal spokesman, Russ Nunley, the theaters “will not participate in an experiment where you can see the same product on screens varying from three stories tall to three inches wide on a smart phone,” suggesting that this contradicts the magic of a full-length movie’s premiere. “We believe that the choice for truly enjoying a magnificent movie is clear,” Nunley continued.

Cinemark isn’t having any of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2”’s August 28, 2015 debut plan, either. “Cinemark does not play day-and-date movie releases on any of our screens, including the IMAX screens that we operate,” stated spokesman for the chain, James Meredith.

Regal operates numerous IMAX theaters throughout the US, while Cinemark has 14.

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2,” produced by The Weinstein Company, marks the first feature film backed by Netflix. It follows the 2000 release of Oscar-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” but is not a direct sequel. With this film setting the precedent for day-and-date movie releases on Netflix and IMAX, the companies plan to debut more movies this way in the future, clearly to the theater industry’s chagrin.

That said, it’s something the chains will have to get used to. While “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is higher profile than many indie films that have experimented with day-and-date distribution, it’s clearly a path the studios are interested in pursuing.

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