The fallout has begun from yesterday’s announcement that the high-profile “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2” will have a simultaneous debut on both Netflix’s home streaming service and in IMAX theaters.
According to Variety, three of the United States’ four largest theater chains – Cinemark, Carmike and Regal – are reportedly refusing to screen any so-called day-and-date releases in their IMAX theaters.
AMC Entertainment, Canada’s largest chain Cineplex, and Europe’s second largest theatre network Cineworld are also refusing to show the second film if it premieres on Netflix at the same time it hits multiplexes.
Regal spokesman Russ Nunley says: “While a homevideo release may be simultaneously performing in certain IMAX locations, at Regal 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. We believe the choice for truly enjoying a magnificent movie is clear.”
Imax CEO Rich Gelfond says the company isn’t trying to endanger traditional theatrical release windows and deliberately picked a late August weekend that is traditionally one of the slowest for ticket sales: “As the world changes we have a duty to experiment with different things. We knew that not everybody would support it. However, we felt that the ability to provide alternative content at a time of year when there is not a lot of great product coming in from the studios helps both our exhibition partners and consumers.”