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Netflix and the Weinstein Company said Monday night that the sequel to Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” will stream on Netflix the same day it debuts in theaters.

The deal marks the first time a streaming video service will get an even start with movie theaters when a major motion picture debuts.

The new martial arts drama will stream on Netflix next summer, August 28, at no additional charge to Netflix subscribers. It will show exclusively at Imax theaters around the world that day.

It’s one of several major movies Netflix is backing that will debut online the same day as the theater debut.

Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos said it’s time for Hollywood to realize that consumers want the option of viewing new movies at home or at a theater on release day. Sarandos said those two experiences are very different and should not compete. He compared it to the difference between watching a football game at home or going to watch the game in a stadium.

TV shows have, in recent years, become available online very shortly after airing on TV, but the movie industry has maintained the “windowing system” that gives a long head start to theater owners.

Netflix’s deal with the Weinstein Company may mark the beginning of the end of that windowing system.


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