Netflix has already changed how we view TV, and now it’s aiming for the silver screen.
The streaming video giant announced Tuesday that it’s teaming up with the Weinstein Company’s Harvey Weinstein to release its first major film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend. The movie will premiere on Netflix and show in IMAX theaters starting on Aug. 28, 2015.
The Netflix movie is a sequel of-sorts to the 2000 film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, directed by Ang Lee. Yuen Wo-Ping will direct the film, based on Silver Vase, Iron Knight—the fifth book in the Crane-Iron Pentalogy—by Wang Du Lu, with Michelle Yeoh reprising her role in the original film as Yu Shu-Lien. Donnie Yen will also star.
According to Deadline, The Green Legend probably isn’t the only film Netflix is working on right now, but it’s highly likely it will be the first one viewers will see.
Netflix hopes the release of feature-length films will help spread its worldwide appeal.
“Fans will have unprecedented choice in how they enjoy and amazing and memorable film that combines intense action and incredible beauty,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “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.”
Netflix, Weinstein, and IMAX are betting that The Green Legend will do well with Chinese audiences and believe giving audiences the ability to choose how they view their content, whether it be on a television screen or in a theater, will help the film’s appeal.
“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,” IMAX senior executive Greg Foster said.
Update 5:05pm CT, Sept. 30: A new Deadline report states that two of the leading names in American IMAX cinema—Regal and AMC—are protesting the simultaneous release. Europe’s Cineworld chimed in as well: “We bring our customers the IMAX experience as the complete opposite of home entertainment… We believe that the theatrical experience and IMAX, as one of its cornerstones, should be kept apart from home entertainment.” IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond counters that the last weekend of August is traditionally weak at box offices, and he’s encouraging critics to try something different.