Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 by Russ Fischer
The Weinstein Company is helping Netflix compete with pay cable channels. Today the two companies announced a deal that “will make foreign language, documentary and certain other movies from The Weinstein Company exclusively available for Netflix members in the U.S. to watch instantly.”
In other words, when films like Oscar frontrunner The Artist, Ralph Fiennes‘ Coriolanus and Madonna‘s W.E. make their TV debut, it won’t be on HBO or similar channel, but on the Netflix Watch Instantly service. This deal doesn’t cover the full Netflix slate, and could well have taken place because TWC’s own research shows that a movie like The Artist is likely to do better with the Netflix subscriber base than it is on cable. Still, the end result is that this is a blow to cable company deals. Will other similar contracts between studios and Netflix follow?
Read the press release below.
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Netflix Inc. and The Weinstein Company (TWC) today announced a new multi-year licensing agreement that will make foreign language, documentary and certain other movies from The Weinstein Company exclusively available for Netflix members in the U.S. to watch instantly.
“The Artist,” the most honored film of the year with 17 awards for Best Picture and ten Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture, will make its pay TV debut exclusively on Netflix rather than on traditional premium cable.
Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius and starring Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, “The Artist” brings to life the dawn of talking pictures in an original and deeply entertaining way. The film’s many honors include the Golden Globe for Best Picture/ Comedy or Musical and Best Picture Awards from the Producers Guild of America, British Academy of Film and Television, the London Critics Circle and NY Film Critics Circle. It has garnered numerous prestigious awards for Hazanavicius, Dujardin, Bejo, and composer Ludovic Bource.
Also making its pay TV premiere on Netflix is “Undefeated,” nominated for a 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Directed by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, “Undefeated” follows players on a Memphis, TN inner-city high school football team as it attempts to win its first playoff game in the school’s history.
A diverse slate of TWC specialty films will appear exclusively on Netflix within one year of their theatrical release, including the gripping French-language World War II drama “Sarah’s Key,” starring Academy Award-nominated actress Kristin Scott Thomas; the recent French box office record-breaker “The Intouchables;” the romantic drama “W.E.,” directed by Madonna and winner of the Golden Globe for Best Original Song/Motion Picture; the taut Shakespearean adaptation “Coriolanus,” directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes; and “Bully,” a timely documentary about bullying in America’s schools.
Terms of the deal, the first between TWC and the world’s leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV shows, weren’t disclosed.
“We couldn’t be happier to be working again with Harvey and Bob, who have an unmatched track record of creating critically acclaimed and commercially successful movies,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “‘The Artist’ is a symbol of the Weinsteins’ triumphant return to the top of the film business. Through deep passion, great taste and phenomenal vision, Harvey and Bob continue to surprise audiences and make history.”
“It is a fantastic coup for Netflix to acquire ‘The Artist’ and the package of additional titles,” said TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein, “With this deal, a company that loves movies, Netflix, joins forces with a company that is built on that same love. It’s exciting that we can offer consumers a supremely convenient way to see the kinds of movies that made us want to be in this business in the first place.”