Will Netflix Change the Movie Business?

The news that The Weinstein Company will be releasing its sequel Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend on Netflix the same day it's released on limited IMAX screens has sent shockwaves through Hollywood. Netflix already beat brick-and-mortar video distribution companies like Blockbuster and it's started to give traditional television networks a run for their money with original series. Now the future of feature-length cinema distribution might be facing a new business model.

Variety reports that theater chains are feeling the pressure and have boycotted the film (which will once again star Michelle Yeoh). In addition to piracy, movie theaters are being threatened by audiences deciding to wait for films to appear on cable and satellite, as well as streaming services like Netflix.  The window between theatrical release and on-demand availability is shrinking, and now Netflix has dropped the gauntlet, delivering its own major cinematic release the same day that the production company makes it available.

The question for theatrical chains shouldn't be "How do we stop Netflix?" but rather "How do we stay relevant in the age of Netflix?"  Movie theaters survived television and the Internet. They need to think creatively.  This need not be the death knell for the movie-going experience, even if more people will be able to watch brand new films from the comfort of their own homes or anywhere that their mobile devices allow them to go.

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