Netflix to stream more first-run movies thanks to deal with FilmDistrict

Netflix announced a new deal Wednesday that will bring much needed additional first-run theatrical films to its streaming video service in 2011. Netflix has inked several deals over the past year that will help address the number one complaint surrounding its popular Watch Instantly service — there aren’t enough new movies — and now the company adds one more. Beginning next year, FilmDistrict will license movies to Netflix during the “pay TV window,” or the period of time when the films would have normally appeared on premium cable TV channels. The first two movies to hit Watch Instantly as a result of the new deal will be Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, and Lockout, starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace. Both films are set to be released early next year.

Netflix and FilmDistrict Announce Agreement to Stream First-Run Theatrical Films to Netflix Members

First Movies to be Included Under the Deal in 2011 are the Crime Drama ‘Drive’ and the Sci-Fi Adventure ‘Lockout’

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and FilmDistrict, a multi-faceted acquisition, distribution, production, and financing company, today announced 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.

Said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix:  “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,” said Mr. Alperovich.  “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.”

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

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