Netflix and FilmDistrict ink deal to stream first-run theatrical films

MUMBAI: Netflix, Inc and FilmDistrict have inked a multi-year agreement through which first-run, theatrically-released films distributed by FilmDistrict will be licensed to Netflix for streaming over the Internet in the "pay TV window" a few months after their release on DVD.

Under the deal, major motion pictures that traditionally would have been licensed to premium cable channels will flow instead from FilmDistrict to Netflix for streaming to its members, beginning in 2011.

Among the first films to be covered under the deal are Drive, director Nicolas Winding Refn’s adaptation of the James Sallis’ crime tale starring the Academy Award-nominated duo Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, and the sci-fi action adventure film Lockout, starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace, produced and co-written by Luc Besson, and co-directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger.

Broadening the variety and timeliness of content available for Netflix members to watch instantly is among the company’s highest priorities as it rapidly transforms itself into a service focused on streaming movies and TV shows over the Internet.

FilmDistrict was created earlier this year by Oscar-winning producer Graham King and his business partners Tim Headington and Peter Schlessel, who became FilmDistrict’s CEO. Recently, film industry veterans Bob Berney and Adrian Alperovich joined FilmDistrict as president of film distribution and president of acquisitions and operations, respectively.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said, "Netflix has a long and successful history working with Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney, and I have long admired Graham King’s amazing production success with movies like The Departed and Blood Diamond, which are among the most watched and highly rated movies of all time by Netflix members. We are thrilled to be in business with these proven tastemakers and entertainment business leaders."

"We are very excited about this new relationship with Netflix. The innovative and flexible entrepreneurial spirit they have demonstrated makes them a perfect partner for us as we build FilmDistrict into a strong independent distributor," said Alperovich.

"Netflix has strategically developed a bold business model and they love movies. They have cultivated a loyal audience that gives FilmDistrict great opportunities for growth," added Berney.