In the 1950’s, grand movie theaters encountered a vast technological threat with the dawn of television programming and televisions replacing radios. Movie production sought 3D effects, wide-screens, and use of independent color techniques to compete with home television. By the 1960’s, television programmers began producing 90-minute movies of their own. Netflix, the king of PC to TV streaming will be releasing its first produced movie, a sequel to Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend will be Netflix first entry of an original film that was coproduced with the largely independent Weinstein Company. While most of the principle characters are returning, director Ang Lee will not be returning to film the sequel, currently shooting in New Zealand.
As a high-powered value on the stock exchange, Netflix boasts over 50 million paid subscribers, in more than 40 countries. The potential exposure in the first week could dwarf virtually any movie-theater produced film. Many major network television shows might reach less than 10 million viewers at a showing. This Netflix movie move will flex lots of muscle power with potentials of 5 times as many viewers.
Netflix sequel to the popular Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon may also be shown on Imax in movie theaters. Netflix garnered serious competitive power by winning Emmy Awards in 2013 for its self-produced TV shows. Netflix TV shows have accumulated over 30 Emmy nominations, though had a poor award return in 2014. Netflix association with the Weinstein Company may allow Netflix an opportunity to be entered in the Academy “Oscar” awards, a first for a streamed film.
Of course, sequels tend not to be as critically accepted or as hot-sellers as original film releases but Netflix is offering the movie to its paid subscribers. Only a small portion will likely need to buy tickets to movie theaters. Netflix must then overcome the hurdles of producing original theme movies.
As more television screens develop higher resolution capabilities, streaming companies like Netflix have an easier path toward streaming programming to optimize the new 4K and 8K TV standards. This is especially tantalizing for Samsung, Sony and other leading international home television screen manufacturers. It also opens berths as new OLED, thin and curved screen technologies begin expanding reach into homes.
While Netflix remains valuable to its stockholders, other Internet and streaming companies aren’t going to take this news idly. Netflix has suffered some setbacks in the US, and is engaged in a battle with internet service providers such as Verizon over who should pay for the increasing strain that streaming video puts on download speeds. If it is gong to be you, the user, there’s an expectation that subscription fees may rise over the years.
Internet standards, primarily as a result for greater streaming demands, seeking wider, economical bandwidths will further promote more fiber networks to deliver speeds and values. The lead of Verizon is being challenged by Google Gigabit, and Optimum Online services from Cablevision.
Depending on the popularity results of Netflix and Weinstein’s collaboration in producing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend for release on Netflix in August 2015, 2016 may be the beginning of new ways to release movies without requiring theaters.
The possibilities are endless as celebrity filled plays, musicals, operas, concerts, begin premiering on stream. Will it replace concert halls and theaters? I don’t think so. On New York’s Broadway, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, and Les Miserables continue to play to (almost) packed houses. Yet, for floundering classical music venues, getting high quality productions, co-sponsored by Netflix and Public Broadcasting, may open new channels of appreciation via technologically advanced production and viewing. While there may be no substitute for Live Performances, streamed performances are the next best thing.
The century old tradition of running to the theater to see a movie will encounter challenges. The newest theater craze is 4D movies where visual sensations are combined with physical sensations. The success of 4D and the higher ticket prices may keep movie theaters strong, as long as people can afford it.
Netflix may be the first streamer to produce its own movie. Cable TV channels have been doing very well. Even commercial TV does very good jobs. Media providers and broadcasters have been merging to develop creative opportunities and profits with some degrees of success. Adding streamers into the mix opens breadths of viewers and subscribers. Will Netflix continue to dominate? There are many opportunities not yet surfaced. Netflix is breaking new ground. It is a pioneer in this fledgling industry. Acceptance and praise of this new Netflix produce movie may reap some big rewards. If it flops, is it worth trying again? Yes, it is. At least it was exposed to 50-million viewers!
Audio and video streaming have almost destroyed the use of disc media. Your content now can be stored on large hard-drives or on clouds for access virtually anywhere. It’s an environmentally saner solution to plastic wraps and cardboard. There is, at least among older generations, a wistful loss of innocence. Eventually, children born today may never conceive that content was stored on discs. Technology creates relics through passing time.
It has been 75 years since television slashed the glory of movie theaters for the senior generations. Present and future generations have many mobile and home viewing opportunities through digital streaming. Netflix is making a bold move into the movie production business. It certainly opens new possibilities to expand and extend pseudo-reality to screens. Only the soldiers, the poor and the disconnected will have to deal with reality. Netflix is the dawn as it shapes new realities for streamed dreams.