NETFLIX ANNOUNCES FIRST ORIGINAL MOVIE
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: THE GREEN LEGEND TO PREMIERE SIMULTANEOUSLY ON NETFLIX AND IN SELECT GLOBAL IMAX® THEATERS
Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen star under the direction of Yuen Wo-Ping in the Sequel to the Academy Award®-winning 2000 film
Beverly Hills, Ca. and New York, September 29, 2014–Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, the stunning next chapter in the saga started by the critically and popularly acclaimed Ang Lee martial arts epic, will premiere exclusively on Netflix and in selected global IMAX® theaters on August 28, 2015.
Produced by The Weinstein Company, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend echoes the themes of the original movie, but tells its own story — one of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption, set against breathtaking action in an epic martial arts battle between good and evil that will decide the fate of the Martial World.
Directed by the renowned martial arts choreographer (The Matrix Trilogy and Kill Bill 1&2) and director (Tai Chi Master) Yuen Wo-Ping, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend stars Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Lady) reprising her role as Yu Shu-Lien and Donnie Yen (Ip Man 1&2, Monkey King 3D) as Silent Wolf.
The film is to be the first of several major films backed by Netflix to premiere on the same day on the world’s leading Internet TV network and in select IMAX theaters globally, giving consumers and exhibitors around the world unparalleled flexibility in how, when and where they enjoy a major motion picture.
“Fans will have unprecedented choice in how they enjoy an amazing and memorable film that combines intense action and incredible beauty,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “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.”
“The moviegoing experience is evolving quickly and profoundly, and Netflix is unquestionably at the forefront of that movement,” said TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein. “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.”
“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 Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp. and CEO of IMAX Entertainment. “We are particularly hopeful it will play in our highly successful China market. 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.”
Based on the acclaimed novel, Iron Knight, Silver Vase, by Wang Dulu (book 5 in the Crane-Iron Pentalogy) and written by John Fusco (Marco Polo) the new film is produced by Harvey Weinstein (Academy Award winner – The King’s Speech, The Artist) and Peter Berg (Emmy Award winner – Friday Night Lights; Lone Survivor, Hancock) and Sarah Aubrey (Friday Night Lights; Lone Survivor, Hancock) and executive produced by Morten Tyldum (Headhunters, The Imitation Game), Ralph Winter (X-Men franchise), Anthony Wong, and Bey Logan (The Medallion).
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend also stars Harry Shum Jr (Glee, Revenge of the Green Dragons), Jason Scott Lee (Seventh Son, Hawaii Five-O), Roger Yuan (Bulletproof Monk), Eugenia Yuan (Revenge of the Green Dragons) and newcomer Natasha Liu Bordizzo.
Principal photography is now underway in New Zealand. The film’s director of photography is Tom Sigel (Drive, X-Men: Days of Future Past) and design is led by the Academy Award®-winning Lord of the Rings team of costume designer Ngila Dickson, production designer Grant Major and visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson.
The long delayed sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon comes out next August on IMAX screens and Netflix at the same time.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend is the long-delayed follow-up to the 2000 Academy Award winning original. Where the first film adapted the fourth book the Crane Iron Pentalogy, the sequel will be based off of the fifth and final book. Michelle Yeoh will reprise her role as Yu Shu-Lien, and be joined by Donnie Yen as Silent Wolf.
Netflix is helping to finance Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend and that will allow it to stream the film on its service the same day it debuts on IMAX screens. This tactic of day-and-date streaming, however, is not going over well with theater chains. This news was announced late on Monday night, and throughout the day on Tuesday various companies vocalized their displeasure with this plan. A spokesperson for Regal Cinemas told The Hollywood Reporter, “While a home video release may be simultaneously performing in certain IMAX locations, at Regal we will not participate in an experiment where you can see the same product on screens varying from three stories tall to 3-inches wide on a smart phone. We believe the choice for truly enjoying a magnificent movie is clear.”
Later in the day on Tuesday a second chain joined the protest with Cineplex spokeswoman Pat Marshall saying, “Playing movies day and date with the release to home entertainment is not part of our strategy. As such, we will not play any movie day and date in our theaters with any other windows. This would include our IMAX auditoriums.”
IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond later said in the day, “I knew it wouldn’t work for some people.” He went on to add, “We’ve been an innovator for 20 years and frequently when you come up with a new idea, not everybody is going to like it. I understand that people are reluctant to change, but if you look at our track record, everything that we’ve done has ultimately benefited the box office. If we sat on our hands, there would be no IMAX.”
Currently there are around 400 IMAX screens across the U.S. and Canada; Regal accounts for 86 of those screens, and Cinemark for another 14. While AMC is the second biggest chain overall, it actually has the most IMAX theaters and has so far remained quiet on the situation.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend is not the only film that will fall under this model. Netflix already has a deal in place to fund other future productions and release them to its subscribers the same day as they hit theaters. Considering the backlash this first trial has enjoyed, it will be interesting to see if this is a business model that lasts.1