After its success in releasing Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer” on VOD just two weeks after theaters, The Weinstein Co. continues to experiment with distribution strategies that challenge the traditional theatrical model — and to deeply annoy theater owners.
Yesterday, The Weinstein Co. said it would partner with Netflix to produce the sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” for exclusive day-and-date release on Netflix and in IMAX theaters internationally.
And over the summer, The Weinstein Co. and Yahoo announced that the film “One Chance” would premiere exclusively on Yahoo Screen in advance of its theatrical release. That starts today, with Yahoo Screen streaming “One Chance,” the true story of “Britain’s Got Talent” winner Paul Potts, for free, a full 10 days before its theatrical release October 10.
When announcing the release, David Glasser, COO and president of the Weinstein Co. said, “In today’s digital era, technology has developed and changed the landscape of how many people watch movies and TV. Our partnership with Yahoo has allowed us to adapt and expand our reach to limitless audiences.”
Theater owners, who have tried to protect the window between when a film opens and when it’s available on home entertainment platforms, are considerably less enthusiastic.
Spokesmen for Cinemark, Carmike and Regal told Variety that if the “Crouching Tiger” sequel goes to Netflix, it won’t go to their IMAX screens. “We will not participate in an experiment where you can see the same product on screens varying from three stories tall to 3-inch wide on a smart phone,” said Regal’s Russ Nunley.
How long will theater owners be able to batten down the theatrical windows?