Netflix pushes back Crouching Tiger original film release

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 13 July 2015

Netflix's original film initiative will officially kick off with the release of Beasts of No Nation, written and directed by Emmy Award-winner Cary Fukunaga (True Detective, Sin Nombre) and starring Idris Elba.

The film will debut on Friday 16 October worldwide on Netflix, and on the same day in select US theatres.

Beasts of No Nation has leapfrogged the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel, which was originally slated to debut in August. Now, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend will be released theatrically in China and on IMAX and on Netflix globally in Q1 2016.

In between will see the release of the Ridiculous Six, the first of four Adam Sandler films available only on Netflix. The film stars Sandler, Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson and Nick Nolte, and will premiere exclusively for Netflix members on Friday 11 December.

Pee-wee's Big Holiday, starring Pee-wee Herman, will meanwhile premiere on Netflix in March 2016.

The film initiative has producers casting a wary eye towards the streaming giant. When it comes to content distribution, Netflix has consistently pushed the boundaries of studio "windowing"— that is, the length of time between when a TV show or movie makes its debut, and when it's released to the home entertainment market. Obviously for Netflix, shorter is better. Now, however, Netflix is angling to become a major distribution conduit for blockbuster movies, on a same-day-as-theatres basis. That may work with indie flicks like Beasts of No Nation, but larger films, like Sandler's four, may run afoul of theatre distribution chains.

"What we're trying to do for TV, the model should extend pretty nicely to movies," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, speaking at an event last year hosted by Film Independent, the non-profit behind the indie film Spirit Awards.

"Meaning, why not premiere movies on Netflix, the same day they're opening in theatres? And not little movies ... Why not big movies? Why not follow the consumers' desire to watch things when they want?" he said.