Netflix and Relativity Media today announced a long term agreement through which major theatrically released films owned by Relativity will be licensed directly and exclusively to Netflix for streaming to its subscribers during the "pay TV window."
Traditionally, these films have flowed through Relativity's studio releasing partners to output deals with premium TV channels.
The deal marks a continued shift in the distribution of major motion pictures in the U.S. Under the agreement popular movies previously encumbered by pay TV agreements with premium channels such as HBO, Showtime and Starz will become available to be streamed from Netflix months ? and not years ? after their release on DVD. It will be the first time that studio quality theatrical feature films will be streamed via subscription by Netflix instead of being broadcast by the traditional pay providers, and it opens up a new revenue stream for such movies.
Among the first wave of films covered under the Netflix-Relativity deal are "The Fighter," starring Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams and distributed by Paramount Pictures, and "Skyline," co-directed by the Brothers Strause and released by Rogue Pictures and Universal Studios. Both films are scheduled for theatrical release later this year and to be available at Netflix in early 2011.
Relativity has financed, co-financed or produced more than 200 features, generating more than $13 billion in worldwide box office revenue.