Netflix, Weinstein Co. partner for release of 'Crouching Tiger' sequel

Follow-up to 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' is set to debut Aug. 28, 2015, on Netflix and some Imax theaters

Netflix, already a player in original TV shows, is taking a stab at new theatrical movies.

The online video company has partnered with independent film studio Weinstein Co. for the release of a sequel to the 2000 martial arts movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

Weinstein Co., based in New York, is producing the film, titled "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend." The movie will premiere on Netflix's streaming service on the same day that it opens in certain Imax theaters next year.

The movie is set to debut Aug. 28, 2015.

Netflix, based in Los Gatos, Calif., said in a release that it is "backing" the movie, though financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.

The companies said the follow-up is the first of several movies backed by Netflix that will launch on the streaming site on the same day it hits select theaters. 

The "Crouching Tiger" sequel is Netflix's latest move to improve its content as it faces rising competition from rivals including Amazon. It has carved out success with original series such as "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black," and in 2013 it acquired the rights to the documentary "The Square."

Netflix has secured deals for Weinstein movies in the past, landing films including "The Artist" and "Sarah's Key" in 2012.

Last year, Netflix struck a deal with the Weinstein Co. for the exclusive U.S. pay-television rights to the studio's first-run movies, beginning in 2016.

“The moviegoing experience is evolving quickly and profoundly, and Netflix is unquestionably at the forefront of that movement,” Weinstein Co. Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein said in a statement.

The companies did not say how many theaters they expect to show the film, but they hope it will get plenty of play in China, where Netflix is not available.

"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 Entertainment Chief Executive Greg Foster said in a statement.

The original "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," directed by Ang Lee and released by Sony Pictures Classics, grossed $128 million in ticket sales from the U.S. and Canada and won four Oscars.

The sequel's director is Yuen Wo-Ping, known for the 1993 Jet Li movie "Tai-Chi Master."

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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